What do you would like to have? Browser/URL or a decent application?

Friday, 13 July 2007 12:27 by salim

 

See this article that claims that Microsoft's strategy on Software/service is bad

First, watch Independence Day to see how bad it is to centralize all computation to a central server (mothership). The aliens can infect the whole system with a virus :-)

Seriously though, the so called "future" of pulling every computational complexity to already crowded Servers and keep the desktops (which match or exceed computational capabilities of servers) away from participating in any of these efforts is a very old paradigm. It is almost always promoted as a solution to the IT management issue. The pain of deploying clients, pains of providing updates, lack of good cross-platform client solutions etc. etc.

We are still infatuated with browser and legacy protocols like http and trying to cramp in capabilities that http never intended to handle.

lets be honest. It is nice to go around and talk about web 2.0 and all other stuff, but a lot of the so called 2.0 applications either run as installed client (Second life, Messenger), or uses downloaded applets that uses client capabilities. The computational complexity is happening in the client.

When I have a handheld with a Core duo 1.1 Ghz, I would rather run applications in my handheld instead of getting tied to a browser.

As I have written earlier, I hate a browser to be my primary workspace. I like reading wikipedia in the browser, but will never want to run my chat client from a browser window. Browser's primary aim is to curtail users' and developers' power and options. This results in a poor user experience, not (as the author of the above article claims) less complex ones...

It is ok to go out of the browser. Internet is where my data is, not where my applications are.

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We need to slow down

Wednesday, 11 July 2007 00:28 by salim

I was going through the hundreds of very interesting comments on the Grand Challenges For Engineering global brainstorming project. While reading them, I was wondering what I think the challenges that we face.

Unlike a lot of people I am not worried about the future of earth. Earth has survived much more than what we humans can do to it, including a whole planet ploughing through it. So, earth, whatever we humans do, has a very long and bright future.

On the other hand, I am not so sure about humans though. We have seen unprecedented growth in technology in the last century. Unfortunately, we also have unprecedented inequality, animosity and violence. We are facing series of crisis even greater than the last ice age. We will face acute shortage of energy sources in this century. We have a very real climate crisis in offing. We are facing a major crisis of religious conflict parallel to the ones in the dark ages. Urban centers are proving to be very expensive in every way.

There is a very real chance that this could be the beginning of the end of humanity as a species. May not be in 100 years but a few hundred. The interesting thing is that, this wont be from a global catastrophic event like a thermo-nuclear war, but a gradual decay of humanity. Cities withering away, communities broken up, intense localized violent squabbles wasting the last of our resources, uncontrolled diseases eliminating whole races...

We are still very young to face such a slow painful extinction. We need to slow down. For a moment, consider downsizing our lives and societies while improving the living of all humanity. Change our priorities from terra-forming Mars to inhabiting the deserts and seas. Lets forget the mad rush to centralize everything, and move towards decentralized, equitable and sustainable development.

I think the grandest challenge of technologists is to perceive this need and change our world view. For once, lets not try to drive everything faster, higher and more bizarre, but make things simple, more efficient. Lets slow things down a bit, take a breath.

We humans have a long way to go, a lot of incredible things to achieve. Lets preserve ourselves.

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NASA postpones Dawn... Again!!!

Monday, 9 July 2007 09:34 by salim

NASA today decided to postpone the Dawn Asteroid mission again. Read the story here.

The mission is very interesting in the sense that it is the first time we are visiting an asteroid closely. Remember, in most space sci-fi thrillers, mining colonies in asteroid belt is a common story line. It looks like instead of rare, exotic materials like Naquida or something like it, but for water.

My interest in the mission is not colonizing the asteroid belt, but the use of several new technologies that NASA has been putting in the back burner for so long, the ion propulsion drive being the first of them.

I still haven't figured out why NASA takes at least 100 times more money, time and other resources to do something that you can do otherwise. But hey, it is NASA

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