Rushkoff: "Google's War On The PC"

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51 Responses to “Rushkoff: "Google's War On The PC"”

  1. sirdook says:

    Why does Rushkoff want to makes us dependent upon “someone else’s expensive computer,” instead of controlling our own machines?

    As for expense – has he looked at TigerDirect lately? Compare the computing power you can get for $300 to what you would get for 5 to 10 times that much (not even counting for inflation) two decades ago when my family got our first home computer.

    Yes, there are problems with Windows, but the solution is for users to have MORE control of their computing experience, not less.

    Seriously, I don’t know why the BoingBoingers pay so much attention to this guy.

  2. Trevel says:

    I recall reading somewhere that the Google OS is designed for netbooks — I.e., for places where you DON’T have (or want!) the epic uber power of a desktop machine.

    And I can agree with them there. If I’m buying a computer that can barely access the internet, why do I need the full bloated ‘power’ of Windows Vista? Why not an OS optimized for the things that I’m actually trying to do?

  3. snej says:

    “The computers themselves were to be just dummies—terminals from which to run software and access files that were stored on someone else’s expensive computer.”

    WTF? This statement is completely backwards. That is actually the pre-existing mindset (mainframes, time-sharing, IBM 3270 terminals…) which PARC’s systems were reacting AGAINST.

    Both Smalltalk and Star were fully personal computers that did their processing and data storage locally. That’s what was revolutionary about them. They were networked via Ethernet, and could access file servers and services like email, but they were personal computers just like today’s PCs.

    What fourth-hand source did Rushkoff get this from?

  4. Itsumishi says:

    Dude, even my 60 year old parents edit video. Have fun doing that on the web (yes you can, but no you shouldn’t).

    Yet.

    The default thinking should be offline storage, with online storage as an option. And Geekman makes a most excellent point.

    Why?

    The location is irrelevant. It’s the ability to retrieve the data that is important.

    This whole cloud computing thing is a solution searching for a problem. Modern computer hardware just isn’t that expensive. I really can’t think of any real-time application that I couldn’t run on 500 dollars worth of hardware these days. I guess if you need to do some DNA sequencing or brute force cryptanalysis at home you’ve got me though..

    I think if you’re looking at the expense you’re completely missing the point of cloud computing. Sure if cloud computing is cheaper then that’s a bonus but the point of cloud computing is the same point of everything on the internet. The ability to retrieve data from virtually anywhere.

    If you want to work with lots of layers, high-red bitmaps, and CPU-intensive effects. A web solution is not going to work for you.

    Yet.

    It seems to me that pretty much everyone arguing against cloud computing is thinking entirely of current technology.

    Hasn’t anyone noticed the phone in their pocket is a more powerful computer than they were using 15 years ago?

    Googles OS isn’t going to be running Photoshop or Ableton or any other high-end high-resource applications via the cloud when it’s first released in 2010, but neither can Windows 95.

  5. Gilbert Wham says:

    I have to say, having used Chrome the Browser, I’m not looking forward to Chrome the OS at all. Just don’t like it.

  6. merreborn says:

    We buy a big powerful machine and do everything on it ourselves. This suits software and hardware companies just fine: they create new, bloated programs that require more disk space and processing power. We buy bigger, faster computers, which then require more complex operating systems, and so on. (It’s as if the car companies and asphalt industry worked together, building roads that required new kinds of cars, and then cars that required new kinds of roads.)

    Bloated software is not part of a conspiracy to force you to buy better hardware. That’s evidenced by the fact that open source developers also produce “bloated” software, by and large.

    Instead, software is bloated for two reasons:
    1) It’s cheaper and faster to produce bloated software than it is to produce efficient software. And consumers have repeatedly voted with their dollars to indicate that they generally prefer cheap, bloated, feature-laden software to efficient software. Or, put simply: “Cheap, fast, good: choose two”.

    2) The hardware’s there, why not use it? Sure, you could ship everything with blocky, 16 color art, but storage and bandwidth are such that the added cost of 32 bit, high-res art just isn’t that much more expensive to include in software written for modern computers.

    To use a bad car analogy, you might as well claim that car and tire manufacturers are in cahoots — after all, Model T era tires don’t work on today’s cars.

    The greatest irony of all, however, is that web apps running in a browser are exactly an example of this kind of bloat. It probably takes on the order of 100x the processing power to do something in the browser, that it would take to do the same thing in a optimized, native app. For example, google documents wouldn’t be terribly pleasant to use on a computer from 1995, but Word 95 will run fine.

  7. AnoniMouse says:

    Everyone seems to be arguing for owning powerful computers to edit media, create new programming, ect. Well, oh masterful Boing Boing readers, you all are certainly enlightened computer nerds. Incidentally, I place myself in this category also. But lest we forget that many users are *not* in this category.

    I recently spent 1,200.00 on my mom a new Mac so she could shop online and check her email. It had to be Mac b/c she can’t deal with virus software. It couldn’t be a netbook b/c she can’t see the tiny screen. But guess what? The price tag was so high b/c I had to get preloaded iTunes, blah, blah, blah. I promise she will never, ever, in a million billion years click more than 2 icons on that machine. She might, one day, use the word processor. Why isn’t there an option for her?

    Why else are the Acer netbooks so popular? I have the Linpus version and LOVE IT. It’s super fast, super slim (in all ways) and ultra portable.

    If Google can offer my mom an easy to use, well priced, simple machine- I will tattoo that chrome icon on my freakin’ ass.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This whole cloud computing thing is a solution searching for a problem. Modern computer hardware just isn’t that expensive. I really can’t think of any real-time application that I couldn’t run on 500 dollars worth of hardware these days. I guess if you need to do some DNA sequencing or brute force cryptanalysis at home you’ve got me though..

  9. Enochrewt says:

    Bleh, give me ownership instead of the cloud any day, like Church said.

    Also, you don’t have to buy a better computer because better software comes out, and repeat that endless cycle. I do IT work on the side for a small law firm that is incredibly happy with Quickbooks 2002, Wordperfect 2000 and a bunch of other 10 year old apps. These programs offer features that give more functionality than their office will ever need. Sometimes you have to just stop yourself and say “Do I really need this for the price it costs?” It’s an intrinsic problem with American society today in my opinion. (Hello housing market!)

    It’s also necessary for this law firm to NOT be in the cloud due to confidentiality concerns. I like Google, I do trust them to a point, but how many times have you seen some “trustworthy” company or government lose a laptop with 10,000+ people’s personal information on it? This will only be compounded with cloud computing.

  10. Gaudeamus says:

    While I do love the Google for its amazing powers, I’m afraid that I can’t trust someone to protect my data AND provide the software it runs on. I’m not a huge fan of the whole data-munching scene and while I realize this may be the way of the future I prefer to be a Luddite in this case.

    I love my Tablet PC. I love my external HD’s and I love my desktops. They’re mine. If I need some data I can grab it remotely, or off a USB stick, or from one of my bazillion SD cards which live in every device and are routinely full of every which kind of data. What’s important to me is control over that data and if I have to have a pile of danggone physical storage devices and plan out my organization I will because I’m all into that ownership thing. I think netbooks are pretty fly and they’re good for what they’re for, but I don’t think this Google Chrome OS will be the godsend some people think it might be.

    If anything, I’d like to see MS and maybe some of these Linuces picking up some ideas from Google (the Wave is a pretty cool looking way to revolutionize data sharing WHEN YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR DATA) but I’m not convinced that the thin client/cloud computing re-revolution is going to be as good as people think it is. It’s good to look toward the future, when a guy at the airport can open his Eee and work on a high-res image or do some kind of mathematical model. However for the here and now I’d say this Google Chrome OS is similar to a cure for cancer: sounds good, it’s a nice start, but a whole lot of cute little mouses are gonna get sacrificed on the altar of progress. They’ll get you, and your little data too!

  11. Halloween Jack says:

    There Rushkoff goes again. I didn’t even get past the first page where he’s talking about the $4000 laptop. Mine cost me a grand and it’s still serving me just fine nearly a decade later. And, as noted above, he’s absolutely wrong about PARC.

  12. GeekMan says:

    @Davigoli:

    I should have guessed you were going to drag those out. I’m talking about REAL photoshop users. Not ones who might as well be using MS Paint.

    If you want to work with lots of layers, high-red bitmaps, and CPU-intensive effects. A web solution is not going to work for you.

    Get real.

  13. Church says:

    @30 Davigoli “In short: if you think the web isn’t ready to take on the desktop, you haven’t been paying attention.”

    “Can” and “should” are two different things.

  14. rationalist says:

    In the context of Google Wave, this new operating system could be, not merely another alternative desktop OS, but rather a reinvention of fundamental way we interact with computers, taking into account the current world of human networks, collaborative work and search-centric universe.

    Windows and OS X and various flavors of Unix expect us, and require us, to map everything – our data, our communications, and our relationships. Mapping also tends to be an asymmetric activity.

    Google has taught us that it doesn’t really matter *where* something is located, what matters is the ability to retrieve it – and, that retrieval is not tied to human’s ability to map things.

    In other words, Google lets computers do what they are good at, and frees up humans to do what *they* are good at.

    (And, it learns from what humans are good at, and incorporates that in its algorithms, further improving the results it presents us as well).

    I don’t sort my email any more, or my files – I just search for what I need.

    I also don’t sort my business cards any more – I just scan them in, OCR them and search for what I need, when I need it.

    I’ve stopped mapping, and replaced that with search.

    At most, I may tag things – but nonexclusive, dynamically generated tags are a quite different mindset than preset, exclusive folders.

    Few are better at that than Google.

    It strikes me that this is a more organic or natural way to access information and communication. I don’t know where the hell in my human brain x bit of data is located, and I don’t care, any more than I care if a memory I have is strictly categorized as “audio”, “video”, “text”, “image” or, more commonly, an indescribable mix of several of the above.

    What I care about is a) the ability to access the memory, and b) the ability to communicate it.

    Any operating system that uses technology to help me do those things – as opposed to forcing me to restrict my thinking to previously mapped and exclusively categorized data – would be tremendously valuable.

    Sure, OS X has spotlight – but that’s built on top of an old-fashioned taxonomy. Google’s entire orientation is focused around search, not categorization.

    Add in Google Wave, which cares less about the modality of a particular conversation than about the ability to pull in any media that serves a conversation, and which doesn’t require a human to know, or care, where a particular bit of conversation lives, nor how many different places parts of a conversation are pulled from, AND which manages to do it all in near real-time – and you have the makings of a truly revolutionary OS.

  15. spazzm says:

    It’s the return of the thin client, by the looks of it. This idea seems to re-surface every once in a while.
    Interesting, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Sure, bandwidth has expanded to the point that more apps can be comfortably used over the network, but at the same time hardware prices have dropped so much that there’s no economic reason to do so.

    The eternal treadmill of demanding software/powerful hardware has at least one benefit: Through competition and economics of scale hardware prices keep falling. What is today considered an underpowered netbook would have been a supercomputer in its own right 15 years ago and an immensely powerful desktop 10 years ago.

  16. Saint Fnordius says:

    After reading this and some of Mr. Rushikoff’s other articles, I get the sinking sensation that he has become John Dvorak’s successor. He may be a smart guy, but his columns seem to value stirring up controversy über alles.

  17. Frank W says:

    I find myself agreeing with Douglas Rushkoff more often than not, but not today. I don’t have blind faith in Google, which is after all just another corporation, and I don’t think I should have.

    Do you and I know for sure that Google is not selling Everybody’s Local Disk Search to spooks right now?

    Last time I tried to update Google Earth, I found out that I’d have to have a daemon installed as a condition of the EULA. I’ll stick to the older version, thanks but no thanks.

  18. mokey says:

    Am I gonna be the first one to ask why not just use one of the many low resource linux distros instead? OK, this one’s got the Google name. That seems to be the only difference.

  19. melded says:

    Rushkoff is just plain wrong. until superfast networking is faster and cheaper i’ll prefer to have all this stuff on my local machine rather than in the cloud. i have the cheapest broadband that can be called broadband and even watching youtube videos is a pain. plus our power sometimes goes out, thus the cablemodem is out. my netbook with local video, audio, and picture files etc. can still access all my stuff for its 5 hours of battery life. also, gates got to check out parc too.

    i’m all for streamlined OS choices, but i have a great yen for independence. i license my photography with creative commons and believe in the openness and sharing of the net, but i like to have copies of my media myself, not rely on systems that come and go. for example if flickr were to go out of business or change their terms of use, what happens to all my stuff there. how many social networking sites have you used and then abandoned, losing those created identities. having local copies and the ability to process things off the network has tremendous value. hell, i’m often in places with no network access because i can’t afford 3g/wi-max etc. i can take my netbook into a cave and still get work done if i want to where no internet can find me. plus you can get what i would call a kick-ass machine for under $300.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ever tried opening an Indesign file where all your links are located on a remote server? I’ll stick with my local hard drive thank you :D

  21. Fang Xianfu says:

    #25: Agreed. If you want a lightweight OS for netbooks, they already exist. If you don’t (any many people don’t) then this is going to be useless anyway. What’s the big deal?

    The article itself is pretty gushy. There’re definite problems with cloud-computing and it glosses them over very swiftly with the word “false”. I don’t dispute that cloud-computing has wonderful and varied applications, but to assume that it’s the best without a proper examination of the downsides is foolishness.

    You could see, for example, Valve’s Steam service as a sort of primitive Cloud computing, because it allows to pull down any apps you own to whereever you might happen to be at that moment. And that model has some very real concerns to go with it, which are only exacerbated when you start applying a similar model to people’s personal records, documents and creative output.

  22. Blaven says:

    Good luck to Google. They’re going to need it to avoid the same fate as IBM’s OS/2.

    What are they really bringing to the table? Sounds like it will be lighter and simpler, which will be nice, but if it lacks functionality it will be a no-show.

    Personally I’d just like to see operating systems that aren’t loaded with a bunch of unnecessary snazzy graphics that require more processing power. That and stop redesigning things that already work well. It seems most OS redesigns are based on fashion rather than functionality.

  23. mdh says:

    Will I then have to pay my ISP (and be in a location with an ISP) to access my leased programs?

  24. mccrum says:

    I have to say that most of the people on here is why the Google browser will fail in certain circles, most notably those who like control over their stuff.

    I have a Facebook account, but I don’t upload any images to it that are good enough for anything but onscreen resolution. I don’t use Google Docs for anything. I keep all my information on hard drives that are backed up and kept by me. My information is mine, I know where it is and who has access to it.

    Cloud computing takes all my stuff and keeps it for me in places that are promised to be safe for as long as nice people are in control of it. Google is, at this time, undoubtedly following their main tenet of “do no harm”. However, as a publicly owned company, they are beholden to the shareholders. What happens in ten, twenty, thirty years when the good folks retire and someone who wants to make a quick buck doing “some harm at times” controls things?

    This is not to say that Google OS will fail, I can see uses for it. But those that do not wish to see their images or their documents on Super Bowl commercials will continue to keep things off the cloud.

  25. Clay says:

    @18 Agger

    Your link hits the nail on the head. This is why Chris Anderson is wrong, and why Google’s business model will only ever work for expendable services and not critical ones.

    The problem with Free, with slowly building your life around services that are offered for free, is that, as a non-transactor, you have no leverage with the provider. Sure, the various data harvesting and ad-viewing you do is taking the place of paying for a service, but society has no protections for those who pay in this currency. If you get shortchanged — you’re out of luck.

    I’ll gladly use cloud services for the optional things in my life. But for the important stuff, I’ll buy, lease, subscribe to, or build what I need.

  26. bill streeter says:

    Eh I think he sort of misses the point of the Mac and the lesson was taken very seriously from Parc. The idea they were working with on the Alta at Parc was to do away with the mainframe and have the network be the computer. That was the plan all along at Apple(though not fully implemented–but that was the goal) as Macs were networkable by default very early on. And Jobs was making noise how the NC (the Networked Computer) was the future as late as 1996, as I recall. What we end up with now, especially if Google Chrome OS is successful, is actually a step back from the NC concept (where resources are shared over a network) to the Mainframe or server concept.

  27. wazianblog says:

    Dell has been selling netbooks with a lite version of Linux for a while. This is not something new. Google is just taking whats out there sticking a name on it and adding there own flavor. The only thing thats is nice is that google might have the money and resources behind it to make this work.

  28. cooljames says:

    The argument posed for ‘dumb terminals’ has been one side of a ping-pong table for 3 decades. OEM’s, software companies, and peripheral manufacturers make the case for huge server-class machines under every desk, while router manufacturers and enterprise-only software companies like Sun and Oracle tout the thin-client office space.

    State universities are a great place to see all the various generations of both sides of the argument at play. Windows 95 replaced a ‘thin client’ model with the Packard Bell future, and, before gaming and Mac hardware became the rage, the ‘OS in a browser’ movement had some hope.

    I like where Google is heading. Windows is too heavy because of the hardware support requirements and Mac is trying to build a monopoly around their hardware/software tightness.

  29. Church says:

    “Instead, our operating systems have moved away from sharing and towards ownership.”

    Because if you don’t have it, you don’t own it.

  30. davigoli says:

    Funny, seems like most of the commenters haven’t been following the pieces of web technology that have been falling in place recently – mostly at Google’s initiative – that turn your preconceptions about this on its head.

    First off, you’ve got modern browsers – F3.5, Safari4, and Google Chrome, all of which are now running JavaScript interpreters that rival the JVM. You’ve got HTML5, with its native support for things like offline storage, you have Google Gears, which also permits offline storage (read: you can have your data and software cached locally on your machine should you ever find yourself unconnected), and also provides multithreading support for JavaScript.

    In short: if you think the web isn’t ready to take on the desktop, you haven’t been paying attention.

  31. subhan says:

    I for one welcome our new Google Overlords. Seriously though, this sounds great. Imagine a $250 Netbook running a streamlined OS for email, surfing, video chat, whatever. Not full of bloat intended for power users w/desktop apps. Now make it a little less powerful & therefore cheaper by not needing as much overhead for OS bloat. Now strip out the $80+ MS OS license fee, & you’ve now got the potential for a highly functional, portable, cheap machine in the sub-$150 range.
    Market it through Starbucks subsidized with a 1-year $10/month all-you-can-eat ATT wifi contract w/daily drink purchase to subsidize price & you’re looking at giving them away. Sweet!

  32. Malgas says:

    @5 Church:
    Hear hear!
    I’ve got more trust and goodwill for Google than for any other corporation, but they can pry my Universal Turing Machine from my cold dead hands. There are just too many (and too common) scenarios which break the cloud model, and that effectively bricks (albeit temporarily) a thin client.

  33. Rodney says:

    I think the Crunchpad just found the perfect OS.

  34. Patrick Austin says:

    Dude, even my 60 year old parents edit video. Have fun doing that on the web (yes you can, but no you shouldn’t).

    Thin clients are great for consumption of media…but having all that horsepower on your desktop is awfully convenient if you ever _create_ anything other than word documents.

  35. RN7676 says:

    Their logo makes me want to play Simon.

  36. fenrox says:

    Oh dude, Doug Rushkoff is really hot. I am still waiting for some sexy boingboing stuff. I would buy a calendar! (please do this because it would be the best)

  37. Anonymous says:

    I want my stuff on my computer, not in some damn “cloud.”

  38. Sork says:

    I bet half of Google server hardware is part of ECHELON.

  39. ozten says:

    “What Jobs didn’t happen to notice was that the computer operating system he witnessed and copied wasn’t meant as a way to organize the software and data on a single machine–it was actually a way for computers on a network to share resources.”

    This is not historically accurate, but I guess it makes for a good story. Although there were systems early on that focused on networked machines (see Engelbert’s Mother of all Demos) Xerox PARC’s computers featured basically the aspects of desktop computing that a Mac Classic featured. Distributed computing was not a focus of early Smalltalk based systems.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I wrote this in response to a Google Chrome OS article. Just replace the word Google with your favorite company. I am posting this writing to every site I can find concerning cloud computing.
    =======================
    This is a technological trap to the nth degree. I see a endless myriad of problems with cloud computing that benefit nothing to anybody except hosts, hackers, terrorist, and the government. If you like the idea of cloud computing, then you like the idea of all your personal work and data in the hands of every google tech and even the company receptionist. Ones argument for cloud computing must be.. why worry about losing my work and identity, when I can just give it away. That copyright or patent request ain’t gonna do ya much good after some enterprising google employee notices your million dollar idea and decides he’d rather not work for a living anymore cause it is now his million dollar idea and he has the patent to prove it. My data is on my system. For you to get it means you have to get past my firewall, install your malware, get past my encryptions, and hope I don’t catch your program reporting back to you. Even then you only have access to what your malware is programmed to access. For you to get *ALL* my data in a cloud, all you have to do is hack my password. Duhhh. Also, if you like the idea of cloud computing, then you also like idea of working slower and slower. IP’s are complaining that a small percentage of file sharers are hogging the majority of their bandwidth. Whats gonna happen when EVERYBODY becomes a ‘file sharer’ with every file they have? You also realize the video streamers are just getting started dontcha? And as it’s been pointed out, what’s going to happen when there’s a outage? Your new high tech ‘dumb terminal’ is going to need a host ya know. And screw hacking your little pc. Hackers are gonna hack EVERYBODY in one shot! And what about that disgruntled google employee? Terrorists are now drooling at the prospect that we are consolidating all our resources into one handy target. In this age of identity theft, I CANNOT believe that somebody would trust ANY their info to be in one place (accept their home). Even a TRUSTED place (cause there is no such thing). Its unfathomable! What OS and processors do you think goggles runnin right now? Would that be the easily hackable combination of Windows on Intel? Just one hacker access into a major hosts password file and cloud computing will be gone forever. Along with that company. It WILL happen. Cloud computing will prove itself to be a ‘company ender’ and these companies are racing to beat each other to that end. Which they FULLY DESERVE for trying to pull such a stunt. Cloud computing has got to be the most irresponsable concepts ever put forth by ANY industry. It is a gigantic backwards step in the evolution of information security at a time when information security is almost non-existent. It is a inherently flawed concept that benefits NOBODY but hackers, terrorist, the government, and hosting companies (till they get hacked that is). Cloud computing will only be used by two groups of people.. people who believe tabloids, and full blown certifiable idiots.

  41. GeekMan says:

    @Davigoli:

    When I can run Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Garageband etc… over the web at a speeds comparable to to the desktop versions, I’ll believe you.

    Until then, its all just toys and vapourware.

  42. GeekMan says:

    It’s funny how when we’re talking about DRM, one of the first arguments that comes up these days is: “What if the company that runs the DRM’s authorization servers goes under? Or shuts down the servers? You lose all your content! You’re hosed!”

    True indeed. And what happens if the company that hosts your apps or stores your online documents goes under? You are again, HOSED. This is why cloud computing in general is a bad idea. And no Doug, that is not a “false assumption”.

    I wish Google all the best in developing a desktop operating system. But if users are forced to live in the cloud, I’ll stay here on Earth, thank you.

  43. woodycodeblue says:

    @6 Subhan:
    I wouldn’t expect any $10/month wifi contracts, unless it’s throttled to dialup speeds. The last contract I saw was 30 bucks a month. Get yourself locked into that, and you’ll dish out a pretty penny more than the usual $50 difference currently showing between xp and linux netbooks.

    All told I have to agree with #5 and #7. Thin clients have failed time and again for good reasons. They were necessary when mainframes took up entire rooms, but they don’t make sense now that there’s power enough under your desk or on your lap.

    The key indicator for me is that all the cloud app discussions hinge on making sure you can *kind of* use it in the inevitable event of the online service not being available for some reason or another. It makes a lot more sense to me to have a rich client that is enhanced by having internet connectivity. That way the bulk of your work stays with you, with all necessary functionality available. Then the collaborative functions, the ones that really need to be online, are the only ones tied to having connectivity.

  44. Naberius says:

    The war between smart terminals on a dumb network and dumb terminals on a smart network has raged for decades, usually being fought by companies that benefit from one approach or the other. (i.e. network providers vs. hardware vendors)

    The pendulum swings, and then it swings back. I’m old enough to recall the days when everyone was praising the personal computing revolution for wresting power away from a mainframe-based “IT priesthood” and putting in the hands of users.

  45. davigoli says:

    @Geekman:

    http://www.lifeclever.com/10-free-web-based-alternatives-to-photoshop/
    https://www.photoshop.com/express/landing.html
    http://www.looplabs.com/

    You haven’t seen a lot of widespread adoption of the newer technologies I mentioned, largely because virtually all companies nowadays dumb-down their webapps for Internet Explorer. In a world where Internet Explorer support is largely optional, you’ll see some of those amped-up speeds I mentioned.

  46. batu b says:

    Clearly, Mr. Rushkoff has gotten so used to having broadband, he thinks everyone has it!

  47. jphilby says:

    Getting computing back to what *it was supposed to be* ????

    1. At that time, computing for most people was about being subjected to the whims of a computer priesthood operating mainframes. Personal computing was INTENSELY LIBERATING for most users … that’s why sales took off! They could do what they wanted, when they wanted, own their own workspace.

    2. The FIRST thing many of those new owners wanted to do was to program their computers. Not use software provided by someone else.

    SO Rushkoff is telling us that that return of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a Good Thing? I hadn’t heard that feudalism was back in fashion.

  48. mccrum says:

    @Davigoli:

    “which also permits offline storage”

    If you had phrased that “which also permits online storage” you might have had me. The default thinking should be offline storage, with online storage as an option. And Geekman makes a most excellent point.

    Surprisingly, not everyone in the US, let alone Earth, has wireless broadband at all times.

  49. agger says:

    So how does this work out from a software freedom perspective?

    If my computer is just a dummy for the real stuff going on in web apps, then who gets all the control? In other words, (l)user are shafted and even though the Google Chrome OS is free software, the ultimate control over everything the user does lies with the owner of the servers running the web apps.

    Ask Domenico Quarenta, an Italian who relied on Picasa, Google Documents, YouTube and GMail – only to wake up one day to find out he’d been Killed by Google:

    http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0906/msg00005.html

    It’s all there in the TOS, you see. I’ll take a “fat client” PC with a free operating system and standalone applications with an option to connect to the Internet (like I’m doing right now) over a dumb terminal for somebody I don’t know’s web apps any day.

  50. mdh says:

    Cooljames @ 4 – I agree strongly with you on all but one point.

    Mac is trying to build a monopoly around their hardware/software tightness.

    I say they’re trying to build a brand name and keep it synonymous with “hardware/software tightness”. so that (Mac = “it just works”).

  51. Rob says:

    “Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.” – Frank Zappa

    Same goes for cloud computing/sharing. The ‘net is a great backup, and lightweight and fast is a goodness, but if I don’t HAVE my stuff whenever I want it, I don’t HAVE my stuff.

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