Friday, April 21, 2006

It Aint the Computer Any More...

Something interesting has happened for me. Mostly because of my work with Linux, thin-client, and our WebStations, it doesn't matter what computer I work at any more.

I think the computer world is moving in two somewhat parallel directions: portability and independence. Laptop computers have clearly become the business PC of choice, and portable devices are going to allow more and more to be done no matter where you are. Independence, on the other hand, means that no matter what computer (or web browser) I am using, I can accomplish most everything I need to do. While portability comes with a price tag, independence actually costs less because I can use many older computers just as well as a newer one.

I use Gmail for my email. Blogger for blogging. Google Calendar for calendaring. (There is a trend here with Google, but just for the moment.) ZohoWriter for word-processing (web-based, no less!). SugarCRM for customer-relationship work. Gizmo for VOIP calling. And Real VNC for remote work that must take place on a specific machine. While I still carry my laptop around, it's no longer because it has all my important data on it--it's just to have a device that will access the web.

(I've got to get on a soap-box about Gizmo a little: No monthly fee. 1 cent/minute calls in the US, and 2 - 3 cent/minute calls overseas. Very livable-quality calls. I remember when I used to have to negotiate to pay 25 cents per minute for US long-distance. Now I can't even imagine signing up for a VOIP service with a $20 monthly charge .)

My in-laws finally got a high-speed connection to the Internet after years of using dial-up. We spent the day at their house last week, and working from their computer for a few hours was indistinguishable from working from my own. At least for now, I've chosen independence over portability, and I like it.

Of course, without a decent Internet connection, I'm dead...
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