The Offline Wars about to heat up?

Ryan Stewart (who works at Adobe) wonders if Microsoft is bringing an offline version of Silverlight out this week at Mix.

I’m hearing that Google is about to ship something major offline too.

So, for the next month we might hear “go offline” from all three camps (Adobe already shot their big guns in this war at last week’s “Engage” event).

Microsoft should have the best offline technology, because it’s king of applications on your desktop, but I think that answers the wrong question.

I’m trying to get everything I do online because I want freedom from my computer.

What do I mean about that?

Well, what if my computer gets stolen? I don’t want any data on it.

What happens if Linux comes out with a Macintosh killer? Or if I decide to get a Windows computer again (I’m currently using a Dell Tablet PC because they sent me one to try out) I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.

The thing about Microsoft is that they’ll do some killer offline technology but it won’t work on the Symbian cell phone or iPhones that I’m currently using. It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market. It won’t work on Linux (which is getting a LOT better on the desktop, so I might try that again this year). And it won’t work well on Firefox or Opera or other new, non-IE browsers. (Channel 9 doesn’t work well with Silverlight on my new Dell when I use Firefox 3.0beta3, while Flash and AIR work just fine).

So, I guess the question is: can Microsoft keep the world as it is (IE, one that mostly runs on Windows and Office) or will the world follow bleeding-edge users like me into a more online world?

Comments

  1. The correct question for any new user-oriented technology is: what can it do for your mother (father, etc), not what does it do for me, the always on-line bleeding edge geek.

  2. The correct question for any new user-oriented technology is: what can it do for your mother (father, etc), not what does it do for me, the always on-line bleeding edge geek.

  3. While I share some of your thinking on this, there are several places where I’d definitely like today’s online apps to work offline. Reading webmail offline, composing a blog post offline, doing some quick tabulations in a spreadsheet offline, all examples where having the tool itself, not necessarily all of my data, offline would be really nice.

  4. While I share some of your thinking on this, there are several places where I’d definitely like today’s online apps to work offline. Reading webmail offline, composing a blog post offline, doing some quick tabulations in a spreadsheet offline, all examples where having the tool itself, not necessarily all of my data, offline would be really nice.

  5. thunk: absolutely wrong question.

    I can’t disagree with you more.

    In 1977 Apple IIs were for geeks, not for mom and dad. But personal computers went on to change the world.

    All great revolutions (even cars) started for early adopters, not late ones. Aiming at late adopters first will force you to do really lame and stupid shit.

  6. thunk: absolutely wrong question.

    I can’t disagree with you more.

    In 1977 Apple IIs were for geeks, not for mom and dad. But personal computers went on to change the world.

    All great revolutions (even cars) started for early adopters, not late ones. Aiming at late adopters first will force you to do really lame and stupid shit.

  7. Asa: I agree with you there. I think over the next couple of months we’ll see a lot of those kinds of things go offline thanks to technologies like Google’s Gears, Adobe’s AIR, and Microsoft’s Silverlight.

  8. Asa: I agree with you there. I think over the next couple of months we’ll see a lot of those kinds of things go offline thanks to technologies like Google’s Gears, Adobe’s AIR, and Microsoft’s Silverlight.

  9. Robert -

    you forget that the best off-line application let’s you choose all three major platforms already … Lotus Notes. With Notes 8.0.1 on Windows and Linux, and the current Notes 8.5 beta for Mac, you get everything you need … on-line and off-line anywhere you want. Lotus Symphony gives you the productivity tools. And it is one of the most secure apps on the planet. You can get most your data on a cell phone or pda or from a web browser as well.

    I love how you guys fawn over everyone trying to get on-line to go off-line … when someone did this 20+ years ago.

  10. Robert -

    you forget that the best off-line application let’s you choose all three major platforms already … Lotus Notes. With Notes 8.0.1 on Windows and Linux, and the current Notes 8.5 beta for Mac, you get everything you need … on-line and off-line anywhere you want. Lotus Symphony gives you the productivity tools. And it is one of the most secure apps on the planet. You can get most your data on a cell phone or pda or from a web browser as well.

    I love how you guys fawn over everyone trying to get on-line to go off-line … when someone did this 20+ years ago.

  11. “I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.”

    Amen Bro.

    I don’t think the need for things like Excel and Word will ever go away completely, but the grandmotherly lady I help from time to time needs to read a word document about once a year. So I installed Open Office for that. Another user I switched from IE to Firefox and now they almost never have “computer problems” any more.

    When I’m visiting these people I feel fairly safe checking my own e-mail or creating a document (using Google Docs) from their machine, meaning I don’t have to carry a laptop all the time.

    I used to be that the PC had to pretend to be a typewriter, fax machine, copier and so on. Those days have mostly ended. Internet technologies aren’t replacing local technologies JUST because they are better (and obviously in some ways they are not) but since the primary reason people are using the PC these days is for Internet access and so those other uses (printing out a letter to mail) don’t even enter into many people’s thinking any more.

    Wordpad, or some simple equivalent is all most people should need to compose a simple document on those rare occasions when they feel creative but have no Internet access. But since no-access is such a rare event these days, I think most will just use it as a good opportunity to do something else. That’s what I do anyway.

  12. “I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.”

    Amen Bro.

    I don’t think the need for things like Excel and Word will ever go away completely, but the grandmotherly lady I help from time to time needs to read a word document about once a year. So I installed Open Office for that. Another user I switched from IE to Firefox and now they almost never have “computer problems” any more.

    When I’m visiting these people I feel fairly safe checking my own e-mail or creating a document (using Google Docs) from their machine, meaning I don’t have to carry a laptop all the time.

    I used to be that the PC had to pretend to be a typewriter, fax machine, copier and so on. Those days have mostly ended. Internet technologies aren’t replacing local technologies JUST because they are better (and obviously in some ways they are not) but since the primary reason people are using the PC these days is for Internet access and so those other uses (printing out a letter to mail) don’t even enter into many people’s thinking any more.

    Wordpad, or some simple equivalent is all most people should need to compose a simple document on those rare occasions when they feel creative but have no Internet access. But since no-access is such a rare event these days, I think most will just use it as a good opportunity to do something else. That’s what I do anyway.

  13. If Silverlight 2.0 doesn’t have an offline mode within 6 months of its official release, I’ll eat both my shoes.

    But the more interesting aspect of having an offline framework is that, now, you can have a sometimes-online application. If you don’t have internet connection, you can still work on your app, and then synch your data once you’re online again.

    Personally, AIR & Silverlight 2.0 is more valuable to me because it lets me of the Browser / HTML / Javascript / AJAX mess. I see great value in having my customers install an 8 MB runtime, and never have to worry which browser I’m targeting again.

  14. If Silverlight 2.0 doesn’t have an offline mode within 6 months of its official release, I’ll eat both my shoes.

    But the more interesting aspect of having an offline framework is that, now, you can have a sometimes-online application. If you don’t have internet connection, you can still work on your app, and then synch your data once you’re online again.

    Personally, AIR & Silverlight 2.0 is more valuable to me because it lets me of the Browser / HTML / Javascript / AJAX mess. I see great value in having my customers install an 8 MB runtime, and never have to worry which browser I’m targeting again.

  15. John: first of all, Lotus Notes is an enterprise app that I doubt I’d be tempted to try, but my friends who’ve worked in Lotus shops say that it’s a particularly badly designed app that isn’t fun to use. Either way, I’ll stick with Gmail and Google Calendar, thanks. That way I can use computers that don’t have the client installed like what Mac Beach just said.

  16. John: first of all, Lotus Notes is an enterprise app that I doubt I’d be tempted to try, but my friends who’ve worked in Lotus shops say that it’s a particularly badly designed app that isn’t fun to use. Either way, I’ll stick with Gmail and Google Calendar, thanks. That way I can use computers that don’t have the client installed like what Mac Beach just said.

  17. Mikael Bergkvist: I didn’t realize that old Microsoft Word had collaboration features that I need built in. Thanks for playing this game. Someday you’ll find out there’s a whole world out there that you’re missing out on.

  18. Mikael Bergkvist: I didn’t realize that old Microsoft Word had collaboration features that I need built in. Thanks for playing this game. Someday you’ll find out there’s a whole world out there that you’re missing out on.

  19. Well…first let’s not forget that there already IS an off line version of Silverlight and it’s called the Windows Presentation Framework (Silverlight was conceived of as an online version of WPF). For Microsoft to embrace offline technology in Silverlight they’d have to be willing to deal a deathblow to WPF and I don’t think they are ready to do that.

    In fact, up until now Microsoft has resisted cross-platform technology which is AIR’s biggest benefit Note there is no MS based .net framework for any platform other than Windows (*cough*innovators dilemma*cough*).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that Adobe Air is a game changer and Microsoft still doesn’t appear ready to change the game. Until Microsoft can bring themselves to endanger the Windows Platform I doubt they’ll go anywhere near technology like AIR.

  20. Well…first let’s not forget that there already IS an off line version of Silverlight and it’s called the Windows Presentation Framework (Silverlight was conceived of as an online version of WPF). For Microsoft to embrace offline technology in Silverlight they’d have to be willing to deal a deathblow to WPF and I don’t think they are ready to do that.

    In fact, up until now Microsoft has resisted cross-platform technology which is AIR’s biggest benefit Note there is no MS based .net framework for any platform other than Windows (*cough*innovators dilemma*cough*).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that Adobe Air is a game changer and Microsoft still doesn’t appear ready to change the game. Until Microsoft can bring themselves to endanger the Windows Platform I doubt they’ll go anywhere near technology like AIR.

  21. @robert

    Agree with you, except for the part about this stuff being a great revolution (not that I disagree, I just don’t know). It solves a problem you and some others are having, but to get beyond the “gee hires color graphics” phase and move to the “I can now do speadsheets on a computer” phase, it must have a general utility, appealing to a wider audience. It can’t be revolutionary without causing a revolution.

  22. @robert

    Agree with you, except for the part about this stuff being a great revolution (not that I disagree, I just don’t know). It solves a problem you and some others are having, but to get beyond the “gee hires color graphics” phase and move to the “I can now do speadsheets on a computer” phase, it must have a general utility, appealing to a wider audience. It can’t be revolutionary without causing a revolution.

  23. thunk: the thing is, the personal computer didn’t dumb down all that much. It got more apps, yes, but we changed our behavior to match the new innovation.

    The chair was already designed.

    Yes, as it got the splinters shaved off, it got more popular. But the chair wasn’t designed to serve the late adopters. The late adopters were dragged to the “chair” by the early adopters.

  24. The key here is my data. I can keep it online, via Google Apps, Calendar, webmail etc. That allows me to access it, to some extent, at home, in the office or on the move via my phone – but take a flight or go through a tunnel (or have network problems at my desk), I’m offline and my data’s the wrong end of the pipe from me.

    Or I can keep it on my laptop. Then, I can get to it in the office, at home – but not from my phone, or indeed anywhere my laptop isn’t available.

    Now, e-mail is the exception: thanks to IMAP, I can open up my e-mail anywhere with Internet access, *and* sync it easily to my laptop. Throw in encryption and there goes Scoble’s objection to the data being stolen with it – what I really want is an offline copy of my apps and data. Why can’t I put some photos into Flickr and write a blog post offline, then have it uploaded automatically next time I connect, for example?

    Google’s Gears stuff might be a step in this direction, at least. What I want is technically achievable, indeed not even particularly difficult once you start thinking about it – so why can’t I do it now?

  25. The key here is my data. I can keep it online, via Google Apps, Calendar, webmail etc. That allows me to access it, to some extent, at home, in the office or on the move via my phone – but take a flight or go through a tunnel (or have network problems at my desk), I’m offline and my data’s the wrong end of the pipe from me.

    Or I can keep it on my laptop. Then, I can get to it in the office, at home – but not from my phone, or indeed anywhere my laptop isn’t available.

    Now, e-mail is the exception: thanks to IMAP, I can open up my e-mail anywhere with Internet access, *and* sync it easily to my laptop. Throw in encryption and there goes Scoble’s objection to the data being stolen with it – what I really want is an offline copy of my apps and data. Why can’t I put some photos into Flickr and write a blog post offline, then have it uploaded automatically next time I connect, for example?

    Google’s Gears stuff might be a step in this direction, at least. What I want is technically achievable, indeed not even particularly difficult once you start thinking about it – so why can’t I do it now?

  26. thunk: the thing is, the personal computer didn’t dumb down all that much. It got more apps, yes, but we changed our behavior to match the new innovation.

    The chair was already designed.

    Yes, as it got the splinters shaved off, it got more popular. But the chair wasn’t designed to serve the late adopters. The late adopters were dragged to the “chair” by the early adopters.

  27. Ha, what a comical topic.

    Over and over we hear people saying how everything is moving to the internet and desktop apps are dead, blah blah and yet I read this article which is saying that it’s going to be important to make offline apps. What? Seriously?

    Are offline/desktop apps dead or not?
    Obviously not.

    Will MS release an offline version of Silverlight?
    The way I see it from Scott Guthries latest blog post about Silverlight 2.0, this ability is kind of built into silverlight.

    Check out this part of his 8 part tutorial:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/pages/silverlight-tutorial-part-8-creating-a-digg-desktop-application-using-wpf.aspx

    He changes like 5 lines of code in his silverlight app and makes it into a desktop app.

    That is pretty sweet if you are a developer, plus it uses your standard .NET programming that devs are used to.

    The one issue of course is that it’s not very cross platform as a desktop app, but I’m sure there could be a work around for that in the future.

    “Mikael Bergkvist: I didn’t realize that old Microsoft Word had collaboration features that I need built in. Thanks for playing this game. Someday you’ll find out there’s a whole world out there that you’re missing out on.”

    Scoble, are you saying to Mikael then that Desktop apps can’t or don’t have collaboration features built in? Is it really impossible to build a desktop app that doesn’t allow the ability for collaboration?

    Are you basically calling him ignorant of the internet world?

    There are tons of desktop apps that allow you to work in collaboration, granted many require you to be on the same network, but I’m sure much of that is for security reasons more than anything. Which is why web based apps for collaboration makes a lot of sense.

    But to say you can’t do it with desktop apps is ridiculous.

  28. Ha, what a comical topic.

    Over and over we hear people saying how everything is moving to the internet and desktop apps are dead, blah blah and yet I read this article which is saying that it’s going to be important to make offline apps. What? Seriously?

    Are offline/desktop apps dead or not?
    Obviously not.

    Will MS release an offline version of Silverlight?
    The way I see it from Scott Guthries latest blog post about Silverlight 2.0, this ability is kind of built into silverlight.

    Check out this part of his 8 part tutorial:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/pages/silverlight-tutorial-part-8-creating-a-digg-desktop-application-using-wpf.aspx

    He changes like 5 lines of code in his silverlight app and makes it into a desktop app.

    That is pretty sweet if you are a developer, plus it uses your standard .NET programming that devs are used to.

    The one issue of course is that it’s not very cross platform as a desktop app, but I’m sure there could be a work around for that in the future.

    “Mikael Bergkvist: I didn’t realize that old Microsoft Word had collaboration features that I need built in. Thanks for playing this game. Someday you’ll find out there’s a whole world out there that you’re missing out on.”

    Scoble, are you saying to Mikael then that Desktop apps can’t or don’t have collaboration features built in? Is it really impossible to build a desktop app that doesn’t allow the ability for collaboration?

    Are you basically calling him ignorant of the internet world?

    There are tons of desktop apps that allow you to work in collaboration, granted many require you to be on the same network, but I’m sure much of that is for security reasons more than anything. Which is why web based apps for collaboration makes a lot of sense.

    But to say you can’t do it with desktop apps is ridiculous.

  29. Micah: you notice “Word of old” is what I said. That didn’t have collaboration built in. Even today it’s bolted on on the outside.

    He just sounded like someone who thought that all you need are old-style Windows apps (most of which, even today, don’t use the Internet for anything other than to update themselves).

    What I was talking about were modern apps. I love the trend here, which is to make it pretty seamless to go from Web-based apps to offline apps. Why? Again, look at my post.

  30. Micah: you notice “Word of old” is what I said. That didn’t have collaboration built in. Even today it’s bolted on on the outside.

    He just sounded like someone who thought that all you need are old-style Windows apps (most of which, even today, don’t use the Internet for anything other than to update themselves).

    What I was talking about were modern apps. I love the trend here, which is to make it pretty seamless to go from Web-based apps to offline apps. Why? Again, look at my post.

  31. Do you prefer sports cars or sedans?
    Cats or dogs?
    Muffins or bagels?

    Which is a round-about way of saying – some people will follow you into the ‘everything online and portable’ world, and some never will.

    I’m of the latter perspective… but that’s because of my own preferences. No, I don’t want everything online – because that means I need to rely on someone else for my security. I need to believe that having my intellectual property reside on someone else’s servers is a good thing.

    As long as there are reasons to have ‘segregated data’ (like law firms, for instance – there are some things that are not supposed to reside on networked computers) there will be a need for ‘offline’ apps.

    It’s a matter of preference and usage. It’s good that the developers are remembering that not everyone has the same needs or wants.

  32. Do you prefer sports cars or sedans?
    Cats or dogs?
    Muffins or bagels?

    Which is a round-about way of saying – some people will follow you into the ‘everything online and portable’ world, and some never will.

    I’m of the latter perspective… but that’s because of my own preferences. No, I don’t want everything online – because that means I need to rely on someone else for my security. I need to believe that having my intellectual property reside on someone else’s servers is a good thing.

    As long as there are reasons to have ‘segregated data’ (like law firms, for instance – there are some things that are not supposed to reside on networked computers) there will be a need for ‘offline’ apps.

    It’s a matter of preference and usage. It’s good that the developers are remembering that not everyone has the same needs or wants.

  33. My old car didn’t have AC, but my new car does.

    Why are you discussing “Old” apps in the first place? Old Google didn’t have apps at all they got tacked on as a server later. etc etc.

    So Old Word not having collaboration is obvious, old Word was around before the internet was as powerful as it is now, old word was around before google existed.

    What’s wrong with something being bolted in on the side anyway? Isn’t that what all new features are anyway?

    He never once said anything about old windows apps as working, offline apps called PC Software. What does that have to do with Old apps?

    Just because most offline apps don’t use the internet for much other than updating doesn’t mean they couldn’t be made to do so.

    From what I can gather, it’s not that you want to necessarily go from desktop apps to web apps, but you want your apps to work from any platform, device, online, offline so that you always have your data.

    So the issue is far more than online apps or offline apps, it’s cross platform, cross connectivity, cross device etc.

    That makes more sense, who doesn’t want to be able to do that, that has been the complaint and request since there have been more than one platform :)

  34. My old car didn’t have AC, but my new car does.

    Why are you discussing “Old” apps in the first place? Old Google didn’t have apps at all they got tacked on as a server later. etc etc.

    So Old Word not having collaboration is obvious, old Word was around before the internet was as powerful as it is now, old word was around before google existed.

    What’s wrong with something being bolted in on the side anyway? Isn’t that what all new features are anyway?

    He never once said anything about old windows apps as working, offline apps called PC Software. What does that have to do with Old apps?

    Just because most offline apps don’t use the internet for much other than updating doesn’t mean they couldn’t be made to do so.

    From what I can gather, it’s not that you want to necessarily go from desktop apps to web apps, but you want your apps to work from any platform, device, online, offline so that you always have your data.

    So the issue is far more than online apps or offline apps, it’s cross platform, cross connectivity, cross device etc.

    That makes more sense, who doesn’t want to be able to do that, that has been the complaint and request since there have been more than one platform :)

  35. Robert – I’ll comment on a few things you said in your post. I’m sure you know better yourself but you do get excited sometimes.

    1. What if your computer gets stolen? If you’re going to stop using PC or Mac’s or other smart devices because you’re worried about someone seeing your data you’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There are ways around that problem (BitLocker being just one). I don’t want to give up on the superior experience of native applications because of this kind of fear.

    1. What happens if Linux comes out with a Macintosh killer? Or if I decide to get a Windows computer again (I’m currently using a Dell Tablet PC because they sent me one to try out) I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.

    That’s an amazing statement. So you’re honestly spending hundreds of dollars on a dell laptop and thousands on a Mac to use as a dumb terminal? Remember, that’s all the browser is – a glorified terminal connecting to a mainframe (the web). if you’re spending that kind of change on a Web browser then I have a bridge I want to sell you.

    3. The thing about Microsoft is that they’ll do some killer offline technology but it won’t work on the Symbian cell phone or iPhones that I’m currently using. It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market. It won’t work on Linux (which is getting a LOT better on the desktop, so I might try that again this year). And it won’t work well on Firefox or Opera or other new, non-IE browsers. (Channel 9 doesn’t work well with Silverlight on my new Dell when I use Firefox 3.0beta3, while Flash and AIR work just fine).

    Well, this is really the crux isn’t it. I think what you’re saying in a sort of inarticulate way is that you want to be able to access your data from anywhere including your devices when they’re offline. Well, that’s a problem worth solving. Then you can have the proverbial best of both worlds: smart PC/Mac, smart phone with data synchronization between devices and up to the Web. That’s what I want. If I’m working on a file on my Mac and save it, it should be synchronized with my iPhone or other smart phone (based on rules I set up) and up to the Web. That way I get to use my more powerful end-node devices when I can and only have to rely on least common denominator Web apps when I have to. This is something that can be done and I think you’re probably underestimating the changes in Microsoft (especially Ray Ozzie) if you think they will pretent the world is Windows only. They’re sometimes slow but they’re not dumb. It’s gonna happen.

    It always cracks me up with I hear people wax poetic about the power of the Web. They’re all half right. The Web IS amazing…at storing information and making it accessible to people and, increasingly, applications. But the Web browser…even with the improvements we see today with AJAX, offline capabilities etc…is still lame. It’s a glorified CRT connecting up to an IBM mainframe (aka the Web). I had to work that way long ago. Then I got a Mac and I never want to go back. We’re seeing a natural ebb and flow. Right now the hassles of managing Macs and PC’s, installing apps on them, updating them, only being able to access those apps from one machine…makes the Web look pretty good. But does that mean we should settle for a lesser experience forever? Gosh, I’m a lot more optimistic than that. I think somebody will find a way to solve the problems of maintaining Macs and PC’s and updating apps and making my data available anywhere and then I can use the Web for what it’s good at: providing access to data and moving data between applications and devices.

    Sorry for the rant and poor spelling/grammer. Gotta get started on an update to Leopard which is a total pain in the butt. ;)

  36. Robert – I’ll comment on a few things you said in your post. I’m sure you know better yourself but you do get excited sometimes.

    1. What if your computer gets stolen? If you’re going to stop using PC or Mac’s or other smart devices because you’re worried about someone seeing your data you’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There are ways around that problem (BitLocker being just one). I don’t want to give up on the superior experience of native applications because of this kind of fear.

    1. What happens if Linux comes out with a Macintosh killer? Or if I decide to get a Windows computer again (I’m currently using a Dell Tablet PC because they sent me one to try out) I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.

    That’s an amazing statement. So you’re honestly spending hundreds of dollars on a dell laptop and thousands on a Mac to use as a dumb terminal? Remember, that’s all the browser is – a glorified terminal connecting to a mainframe (the web). if you’re spending that kind of change on a Web browser then I have a bridge I want to sell you.

    3. The thing about Microsoft is that they’ll do some killer offline technology but it won’t work on the Symbian cell phone or iPhones that I’m currently using. It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market. It won’t work on Linux (which is getting a LOT better on the desktop, so I might try that again this year). And it won’t work well on Firefox or Opera or other new, non-IE browsers. (Channel 9 doesn’t work well with Silverlight on my new Dell when I use Firefox 3.0beta3, while Flash and AIR work just fine).

    Well, this is really the crux isn’t it. I think what you’re saying in a sort of inarticulate way is that you want to be able to access your data from anywhere including your devices when they’re offline. Well, that’s a problem worth solving. Then you can have the proverbial best of both worlds: smart PC/Mac, smart phone with data synchronization between devices and up to the Web. That’s what I want. If I’m working on a file on my Mac and save it, it should be synchronized with my iPhone or other smart phone (based on rules I set up) and up to the Web. That way I get to use my more powerful end-node devices when I can and only have to rely on least common denominator Web apps when I have to. This is something that can be done and I think you’re probably underestimating the changes in Microsoft (especially Ray Ozzie) if you think they will pretent the world is Windows only. They’re sometimes slow but they’re not dumb. It’s gonna happen.

    It always cracks me up with I hear people wax poetic about the power of the Web. They’re all half right. The Web IS amazing…at storing information and making it accessible to people and, increasingly, applications. But the Web browser…even with the improvements we see today with AJAX, offline capabilities etc…is still lame. It’s a glorified CRT connecting up to an IBM mainframe (aka the Web). I had to work that way long ago. Then I got a Mac and I never want to go back. We’re seeing a natural ebb and flow. Right now the hassles of managing Macs and PC’s, installing apps on them, updating them, only being able to access those apps from one machine…makes the Web look pretty good. But does that mean we should settle for a lesser experience forever? Gosh, I’m a lot more optimistic than that. I think somebody will find a way to solve the problems of maintaining Macs and PC’s and updating apps and making my data available anywhere and then I can use the Web for what it’s good at: providing access to data and moving data between applications and devices.

    Sorry for the rant and poor spelling/grammer. Gotta get started on an update to Leopard which is a total pain in the butt. ;)

  37. The one thing MS has going for them in all of this is Foldershare. It has allowed me to move between 5 different machines and never worry about having the latest version of any file, nor about moving an update file back to the rest of the machines. I just…work. Now this is for my business work. For my personal life I have migrated (not really intentionally, but just by behavior) everything to the cloud with the exception of my personal finances (still use Quicken…but looking hard at Mint). For the way that most business users think and work today, MS has a goldmine on their hands with Foldershare…wonder why they don’t promote it more?

  38. The one thing MS has going for them in all of this is Foldershare. It has allowed me to move between 5 different machines and never worry about having the latest version of any file, nor about moving an update file back to the rest of the machines. I just…work. Now this is for my business work. For my personal life I have migrated (not really intentionally, but just by behavior) everything to the cloud with the exception of my personal finances (still use Quicken…but looking hard at Mint). For the way that most business users think and work today, MS has a goldmine on their hands with Foldershare…wonder why they don’t promote it more?

  39. “I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work”

    Well, this post is all about Gears, Air and Silverlight, but just a comment about the way you work, Scoble – Probably only a few will ever be able to do that, just work from the browser.

    I could not possible allow the data I work with flow over to some Google or Microsoft cloud, not in a million years. Why? Because I work for a major company and not as a blogger or some other free flowing freelancer.

    If one is to send the company’s data over to G or MSFT, then not only will it pass through their hands, it will also be much more exposed to all kinds of other threats (though maybe some strong encryption could solve this somehow, but still probably not enough to for NSA, MI5, China..)

    Though if there is a case for web2.0 functionality and software to first be downloaded and then continously kept “offline” (isolated but within a intranet), then that could be something… something else.

  40. “I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work”

    Well, this post is all about Gears, Air and Silverlight, but just a comment about the way you work, Scoble – Probably only a few will ever be able to do that, just work from the browser.

    I could not possible allow the data I work with flow over to some Google or Microsoft cloud, not in a million years. Why? Because I work for a major company and not as a blogger or some other free flowing freelancer.

    If one is to send the company’s data over to G or MSFT, then not only will it pass through their hands, it will also be much more exposed to all kinds of other threats (though maybe some strong encryption could solve this somehow, but still probably not enough to for NSA, MI5, China..)

    Though if there is a case for web2.0 functionality and software to first be downloaded and then continously kept “offline” (isolated but within a intranet), then that could be something… something else.

  41. I’m trying to get everything I do online because I want freedom from my computer

    Exactly – it’s about computing/writing/reading, not about computers.

    I’m confused why at CES Microsoft was hyping how important it is to have “home servers”. It seemed silly there, and hypocritical now.

  42. I’m trying to get everything I do online because I want freedom from my computer

    Exactly – it’s about computing/writing/reading, not about computers.

    I’m confused why at CES Microsoft was hyping how important it is to have “home servers”. It seemed silly there, and hypocritical now.

  43. Interesting read. I completely dumped Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office in favor of Google Apps for Domains.

    I found I don’t need most of the Microsoft firepower and the ability to work anywhere there’s a web browser and without regard to unlocking software keyed to a specific hardware configuration — is rather enjoyable.

    Some of my friends tell me that Salesforce is really all about a “pricing model”.

    I disagree with that. I think Salesforce wins because it takes the messy synchronization and application maintenance out of the equation.

    Oh, and since I tossed out Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office — I’ve also switched to a MacBook Pro and iMac as my main machines.

    Is there still Windows in my world? Sure. There has to be – it’s just too damn pervasive.

    But Windows will occupy less and less of my world each year.

    And I think that’s what terrifies Microsoft.

    PS – Until and unless Microsoft gets off the “sell the stack” mentality – they are going to continue to lose market share. The only question is not “if” but “how fast”.

  44. Interesting read. I completely dumped Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office in favor of Google Apps for Domains.

    I found I don’t need most of the Microsoft firepower and the ability to work anywhere there’s a web browser and without regard to unlocking software keyed to a specific hardware configuration — is rather enjoyable.

    Some of my friends tell me that Salesforce is really all about a “pricing model”.

    I disagree with that. I think Salesforce wins because it takes the messy synchronization and application maintenance out of the equation.

    Oh, and since I tossed out Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office — I’ve also switched to a MacBook Pro and iMac as my main machines.

    Is there still Windows in my world? Sure. There has to be – it’s just too damn pervasive.

    But Windows will occupy less and less of my world each year.

    And I think that’s what terrifies Microsoft.

    PS – Until and unless Microsoft gets off the “sell the stack” mentality – they are going to continue to lose market share. The only question is not “if” but “how fast”.

  45. “It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market.”

    How do you know this Robert? There is already a runtime for Silverlight on Linux (Moonlight)thanks to the fine folks that brought us Mono (Android is Linux + a sweet java layer to make it easy to code against). Also, Android’s browser is built upon webkit, which is the same thing Safari is built on. Silverlight runs on Safari already, so it isn’t a stretch to think it could run on Android.

  46. “It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market.”

    How do you know this Robert? There is already a runtime for Silverlight on Linux (Moonlight)thanks to the fine folks that brought us Mono (Android is Linux + a sweet java layer to make it easy to code against). Also, Android’s browser is built upon webkit, which is the same thing Safari is built on. Silverlight runs on Safari already, so it isn’t a stretch to think it could run on Android.

  47. As usual, Robert live in a world that most of us don’t and immediately assumes that Microsoft is behind the ball because they didn’t release something for ahas browser that just been released in beta and most of the world won’t adopt for quite some time.

    Robert you do what you do well, but try to take a more objective approach to your reporting, you have to much of a fan boy approach to everything you say about Google and Apple.

    I really think that Linux has come a long way and can be an alternative to a Windows or Mac desktop if that’s your thing, but please stop with the Mac OS is the be all and end all to what you can use because it’s just not true.

    I like Honda and some people like Toyota, it’s a matter of opinion and taste, it doesn’t make one better than the other.

  48. As usual, Robert live in a world that most of us don’t and immediately assumes that Microsoft is behind the ball because they didn’t release something for ahas browser that just been released in beta and most of the world won’t adopt for quite some time.

    Robert you do what you do well, but try to take a more objective approach to your reporting, you have to much of a fan boy approach to everything you say about Google and Apple.

    I really think that Linux has come a long way and can be an alternative to a Windows or Mac desktop if that’s your thing, but please stop with the Mac OS is the be all and end all to what you can use because it’s just not true.

    I like Honda and some people like Toyota, it’s a matter of opinion and taste, it doesn’t make one better than the other.

  49. One company many schools in the UK use for their pupil info database recently tried to impose a change onto users that would force them to use an on-line version of the software instead of a local network version.

    The result was a mass exodus from the company and near bankruptcy. We are shifting to a different system, and a good thing too – in my two years as IT tech here we’ve had two serious internet outages and several more short term ones. In other words, some people can’t afford to loose their apps because their internet connection goes down.

    We can’t move our school to the nearest Starbucks to use their wireless if our own connection breaks!

  50. One company many schools in the UK use for their pupil info database recently tried to impose a change onto users that would force them to use an on-line version of the software instead of a local network version.

    The result was a mass exodus from the company and near bankruptcy. We are shifting to a different system, and a good thing too – in my two years as IT tech here we’ve had two serious internet outages and several more short term ones. In other words, some people can’t afford to loose their apps because their internet connection goes down.

    We can’t move our school to the nearest Starbucks to use their wireless if our own connection breaks!

  51. As with most things (life!) there is and needs to be a balance. Between online and offline. Work and play. If the internet connection goes down you can’t connect with some of your data. If your power connection goes down you can’t connect with some of your data. If you lose your sight… the same. Pencil and paper are still appropriate in some situations.

    Personally I know that my home computers, held together with string and a few prayers are a second best for data security after Google. Oh! there goes another hard disk. Never mind. I still have that old 386 that will run linux and load a browser…

  52. As with most things (life!) there is and needs to be a balance. Between online and offline. Work and play. If the internet connection goes down you can’t connect with some of your data. If your power connection goes down you can’t connect with some of your data. If you lose your sight… the same. Pencil and paper are still appropriate in some situations.

    Personally I know that my home computers, held together with string and a few prayers are a second best for data security after Google. Oh! there goes another hard disk. Never mind. I still have that old 386 that will run linux and load a browser…