Saturday, October 09, 2004

Slashdot | GMail Drive Shell Extension

It's on Slashdot, so I'll assume you've all seen the GMail Drive Shell Extension. But damn, that is so cool that I just had to link to it.

Are we going back to the mainframes? The concept of people having network PCs, while very 1999 Larry Ellison-ish, I think has some merit. Not from the standpoint of PC's necessarily, but it helps us to open up the networked appliance arena better (cell phones, watches, toaster ovens, etc.)

As security and maintenance becomes more of a concern and bandwidth increases people will use computers for more and more, but they will push more and more of the storage and processing needs up the pipeline to the server. I don't see any reason why people wouldn't pay for a mammoth hard drive somewhere to store all their data, accessible via WiFi from anywhere, and start pushing computing price and size way down as PCs become more thin client-like.

The only people who seem to buy top of the line systems anymore are gamers, and they could just migrate to a game console or be a specialty market. Developers, by and large, don't require fancy equipment, just the compilers and dev tools, and those can easily be made available over the network.

I'm looking at my own usage patterns as an example. Around 1996-1999, I ran my own Linux servers, hardened them up and managed accounts for a few close friends. I put together my own websites, and managed all the servers running on these things. Security was an issue, but it seemed like there was less to keep track of. Now, all my websites run off of hosted servers, and I moved this site to Blogger solely for the allocated drive space and the fact that I didn't have to worry about management and it was free. I just don't have the time and it's not worth the hassle to be my own sysadmin anymore. Hosted services are just as flexible and better from a management stand-point.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but I'm not picking up any flaws in my thought process here What's to prevent people pushing their information and applications on to hosted networks? Really, it's already being done if you think about it. Blogger, GMail, Yahoo Mail, MSN, AOL, wikis, are all hosted network apps. Anyone care to set me straight? I think this Google virtual filesystem is another step in this "network is the computer" trend. Even if they shut it down something else will come along. via [slashdot]


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