Don't you believe it...

Just a reminder from an aging guy...

The cloud is all well and good, but be mindful of investing in it.  It has that distinct .COM collapse stink coming off it.



Catching up with predictions.

Some time back in my blog, I predicted elements I expected to see in the fusion between mobile/tablet technology and the cloud.  The things that would power the change as it were.

So I'm back to follow up on 2 predictions and point my few and myriad readers in the right direction with their next round of upgrades.

I discussed how the number of WIFI radios would come to have more value than processing cores in the flag arena as things drifted back "server side" in the form of cloud applications.  Since additional radios increases bandwidth (if available), each one you add is like a processing core for your cloud applications.  Faster throughput, faster refresh.  So I predicated that in the future mobile devices would have multiple radios.

As an example of this concept emerging now we have the Microsoft Surface tablet.  It comes equipped with 2 radios (dual 2.6 GHz wifi).  And to be honest - if you're an avid Microsoft Office fan and started using Office365 cloud based office; then the Surface may be the device for you.  Better throughput to internet (thus the cloud), an integrated kickstand and an attachable full size keyboard that meshes with the higher integrated design to give you a wafer thin package with very high end office capability - and mobile.

You watch.  I'll wager that Google will counter this in the near future with dual 5.2 GHz radios and make them compatible with its growing Google hotspot.

Another prediction I made is that its possible to build a distributed super computer from mobile devices.  That it would require adhoc networking to self assemble a super computer from nearby devices.  A kind of "borg collective" approach to processing power.

Now you have the new Nexus 7 tablet with its NFC/Android Beam technology.  This provides a vector for hot spot independent (assembling network of nearby devices) networking.  That's right, even in the absence of a hot spot or wi fi hub, the devices can assemble into an intranet.  Now couple this with the quad core processors in the new devices and you have the perfect storm for my prediction.  Someone will now come along and write a distributed computing front end and put it on Android Play and that will be that!

Now - as a guy who likes to be in the right place at the right time.  I'll be honest with you.  What I would really like to have is an NFC/Android beam dongle for a surface tablet, with a port of Android's Jelly Beam running on it.  That's the whole enchilada folks...  2 radios, quad core processor with the kind of ad hoc front end for distributed wireless super computing.

Imagine if you lived in a 4 person household and each of you had a device like this - in a distributed computing model...  this would 16 cores of processing power + 4 GPUs.  Things like 3D modeling/rendering would be improved by the touch interface, and render times in an environment like that would be awesome.  (Go out and price out a render farm and see what they would charge you for 16 cores).

The point is - the revolution is coming much faster than I imagined.  This flip over point in software delivery (from installed local software, to remotely accessible apps) and ad hoc super computing of mobile devices is close at hand.  We'll probably see the first blundering steps next year.

I anticipate a showdown between Google and Microsoft as Apple tries to cope with its power vacuum.  Power vacuums can really harm an organizations ability to dynamically correct course; and Steve Jobs was nothing if not dynamic.

The irony is - neither will be the winner of the show down, they need each others technologies to go forward.  So if I were them - I'd skip the financially staggering intellectual property boondoggle and gun straight for collaboration.  After all, you know Apple will want no part of such a collaboration.  And even though they were first to market with quad core tech, its locked away over there...  behind the Apple wall.   I get that though - Microsoft and Google give you the jungle of the internet; Apple gives you a tended orchard.  There's nothing new about this approach, think back on America Online back in the day.  They gave you moderated and tended internet.  In 2012 there's even a word for this...  data curation.  And there are jobs out there for data curators.  (Ultimately data curation will probably wind up being a new branch of library science if you want to approach that type of work through an educational path).

So yeah - here's to the future.  May it be fast and rocking.  :)


Somedays I could swear...

There are some days I could swear that somehow certain businesses are reading my blog.  I know, I know... that seems silly.  I mean what do we have here but my thoughts and insights about things.

Here's the kicker though - after I wrote my bits about the "future web" and suggested that processing power would eventually move server side and I ran with that idea, discussing the illusion of power from underpowered devices via remote processing.  Low and behold, the Kindle Fire was released and the thing that sets it apart...  the Silk Browser, which utilizes remote processing power (via Amazon's EC2 cloud service) to provide better performance than the device alone can provide.

I also wrote a bit about the future of the web involving "operating systems as a service," again utilizing remote processing power to deliver a true desktop environment to an underpowered platform.  Of course some of the big dogs of virtualization (like Wyse) jumped on this bandwagon before I even mentioned it...  however you have to either set up your own server or pay for an account which really flies in the face of the modern cloud.  Then along comes OnLive! Desktop providing the very thing in every particular that I imagined.  Sure to have a really robust "desktop" experience you have to pay...  but for basic functionality at least, you're good to go for free.  And that's more "cloudy" to me...  the fact that there is at least some basic "for free" version, with a more powerful version at cost.  Funny thing about that - if you provide a cloud based service, then delivery of the software is synymous with using the service...  so if users can't try it, they really have no way to tell if they want to.  The "pay wall" is problematic to cloud adoption - if you lock your service away, how will anyone ever be aware of it or decide to use it over some competing service?

And in my very last article from the 17th of this month, I suggested that Microsoft had lost its way and should return to its programming roots... and in particular that I would like to see cloud based development tools and server side compiling (ie., programming and compiling "in the cloud."). And what did I read today?  MS just announced they'll be releasing visual studio 11 as a cloud based service that will (eventually) handle compiling on the server side.

I feel like these guys should be chipping in and buying me beer .  Now you watch - the new linux tablet due out later this year will eventually use my "borg transceiver" idea of ad hoc networking/distributed processing.  Mark my words.  (My money is on that platform since so much development has already been done there to build parallel super computers.  Its got the "shortest path to destination" going for it.  The quickest means to get from here to there (by rifting off open source software, vs. starting from scratch).


It's been a while...

So when I first started this blog, I was focused in on exploring "cloud" applications, and more particularly how to cut stand alone software out of your life in favor of cloud based resources.  This ideally is the cornerstone of "going mobile."  You need external storage, and the application needs to be able to float between devices regardless of basic operating system.

Initially I had set up specialized Google search that used some common keywords - and in the time since I started the blog until now...  the sheer volume of throughput increased to the point where I could no longer address it all (I would need a team), while at the same time...  the word "cloud" became less clearly defined and broke into public and private clouds.

You see, conceptually, a cloud based resource was a COMBINATION of function and storage.  So, for example, you have Google Documents which provides you with a word processor, spread sheet, and presentation apps and it also stores your work remotely.  And since it's "cloud based" you can move from machine to machine, from browser to browser and there's your software and all of your work.  This was good.

Then of course they started referring to everything as "cloud."  And so you wind up with basically network drives (like dropbox) that don't actually provide any type of application per say - and is nothing but external storage space.  But this, too, became a "cloud" resource.

Then when the big dogs jumped in and the clamoring began - with Amazon's EC2 service, and Apple's iCloud and all of the other assorted but increasingly hardware specific resources - I'm watching the whole concept of the cloud be undermined.  You want the biggest bang from your cloud experience with Amazon - there's Kindle Fire's Silk Browser.  You want the biggest bang for your cloud experience with Apple - there's iCloud.  But you see - linking product to hardware is a FAILED business model.  This is why Microsoft was so successful before they lost sight of their purposes...  they understood that it was more valuable to offer software to every possible platform, than it was to specialize and limit their product to any single device.  This was the fundamental difference between MacOS and Windows...  Mac controlled the hardware and the software, while Windows attempted a more general model and focused specifically on hardware.

[Personally - if I were Microsoft, I'd be working on porting the .NET framework and Silverlight to Android and iOS and forget about the hardware business.  Microsoft has no business in hardware - has nothing to do with their business model - this is why Windows Mobile never caught on; and rebranding it WM7 isn't going to change that.  So the deal with Nokia and the Microsoft phones...  a big costly mistake.  Meanwhile if they ported .NET framework they could get back to their programming roots (and supporting software development) and of course Silverlight would provide the necessary security layer to mobile browsers (well, Android anyway) they're currently lacking).  And here's the kicker - they've pretty much abandoned both .NET and Silverlight - when those were their potential breadwinners in the cloud arena.  In fact - they should deliver the programming tools like they do Office 365... and allow you to develop for your devices ON THE DEVICE ITSELF  through a cloud interface.  Then...  all they need is a market and they're back in the game.  But trying to play catch up to a boat that's already sailed at cost...  that's madness.  I fear they've been Balmerized and Gates might agree with me on this one.]

Anyway - what's going on in the world is actually a recurring evolutionary pattern.  Once upon a time it was cost prohibitive to own your own computer - so they were a central resource you used through "dumb terminals."  Then the microcomputer era began and they came home and became a dedicated resource.  But now that the world has gone mobile - the desktop is a big, bulky deskbound thing that consumes monsterous amounts of power.  While the emerging tablets are turning into the opposite of a dumb terminal (lets call them smart terminals) and application and processing power is migrating again to being a centralized resource.  And what's more - the remote hardware is moving away from any dedicated operating system and turning into a virtualization layer that provides an operating system as a service (Onlive! Desktop is a perfect example of this... a Windows 7 "session" that you can use on Android of iOS,  And they're actually late comers to the party since other companies (VMWare for example) beat the to the punch...  however Onlive! Desktop happens to provide a free service.  So I use it as an example since you, dear reader, can go try it out.  While with VMWare - if you don't have a remote server to connect to, the sofware doesn't amount to much.  You can install - but have nothing to log into.  Which kind of makes it useless.  VMWare better watch their ass...  Onlive! is coming for them).

And this is me catching up a bit on the blogging - but I really need to make a decision about what to focus on here.  The whole cloud things has gone crazy and sideways.  So I'm leaving it open for suggestion - comment if you like.  Of course, I doubt I have any readers at all. So it ultimately doesn't much matter. ;)