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View Poll Results: Would you use a virtual desktop?
Great! Sign me up! It will be my main computing tool. 2 25.00%
I would use it some of the time. 3 37.50%
I would only find occasional use for it. 2 25.00%
It is useless to me. 1 12.50%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-31-2007, 01:23 AM   #1
mogui
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Is virtualization a good idea?

Travelers no longer have to carry a PC with them as long as they can access the internet wherever they go. Nivio is offering a virtual Windows XP desktop for a small monthly service fee. You can sign up to get a beta tester invitation. The service is based in Bangalore and their website seems quite fast. Here is a news article.

Nivio is one of several initiative to virtualize the desktop experience. Google and Citrix are others. These companies present you with desktop applications accessible through your browser and provide secure storage as well. Nivio suggest that the PC will eventually morph into a browser-only thin client.

I can envision a light cheap laptop that only connects to the internet. It has no operating system, but runs a browser from firmware, so it is instant-on. Drivers would provide USB and local audio capability. All of your writing and spreadsheets would be stored on providers' websites where it would be backed-up daily.

Last edited by mogui; 08-31-2007 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogui View Post
I can envision a light cheap laptop that only connects to the internet. It has no operating system, but runs a browser from firmware, so it is instant-on. Drivers would provide USB and local audio capability. All of your writing and spreadsheets would be stored on providers' websites where it would be backed-up daily.
All very well, save one issue: what do you do if you don't have net access?

This is why some of the discussion elsewhere about the Foleo bothers me. The idea seems to be that it can connect to the web and use things like Google Docs via the embedded browser, and therefore you don't need a laptop. Sure, if you have a net link. If you are in transit, like on a plane or train, that's less likely, and that's one of the times you want to be able to boot the device and work.

It's also why I find the ASUS EEE much more interesting: bundled apps that can work on local content, so I don't have to be connected to get work done.
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Who is a happy Google Docs user, but considers it a supplement to, not a replacement for, what he currently does.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:35 AM   #3
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mogui, instead of using and relying on a 3rd party, with home Internet getting faster day by day in most regions of the northern hemisphere, why don't you just use something like remote desktop if you are using Windows to access your home computer from remote? You could even use a VPN or SSH tunnel to make the connection secure.
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:08 AM   #4
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I think these folks are banking on the internet becoming ubiquitous. More commuter vehicles will provide connectivity. More hotels and restaurants will too. If mobile WiMax comes along as we hope it would, connectivity will become much easier for commuters.

I know it feels like a step backward to return to the big-computer-with-dumb-terminals model of computing, but there are some advantages for some people. Companies could centralize their services on one machine, or just buy the services. People wouldn't need to upgrade their computers to enhance productivity. Data security would be enhanced (we would hope) and automated. And one's data and programs could be accessed from anywhere in the civilized world.

For me the Asus EEE would answer a few prayers, but I think I would use such a web-based service too. The last time I traveled to the west, I put my essential data on an online storage service so I could be sure of not losing it if the airline lost my bag, or some other disaster happened. Nivio would be very handy for a traveling writer. Too bad the name sounds like a deodorant.

As for using a remote terminal to my home machine, that would be useful too, providing someone stays home to keep the machine up. We have frequent power failures. When I travel I am usually gone for a month or more.

I do like to use VNC between my machines at home. I have a particular problem though. My ladies like to have a Chinese Windows OS running on their machines. I have to maintain them, but my Chinese literacy is desperately low. I would like to find a remote maintenance console that I could run in English, to manage a Chinese machine. So far, no joy.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I think these folks are banking on the internet becoming ubiquitous. More commuter vehicles will provide connectivity. More hotels and restaurants will too. If mobile WiMax comes along as we hope it would, connectivity will become much easier for commuters.
Internet access is getting better, but it is far from ubiquitous. And commuter access has political and financial hurdles greater than the technological ones. I heard rumors of plans to put Wifi repeaters in the subway tunnels in NYC. I will believe that when I see it.

Quote:
I know it feels like a step backward to return to the big-computer-with-dumb-terminals model of computing, but there are some advantages for some people. Companies could centralize their services on one machine, or just buy the services. People wouldn't need to upgrade their computers to enhance productivity. Data security would be enhanced (we would hope) and automated. And one's data and programs could be accessed from anywhere in the civilized world.
That's already happening. My former employer, for example, did its best to have employees store all files on servers, and not keep local copies on their workstations.

Quote:
For me the Asus EEE would answer a few prayers, but I think I would use such a web-based service too. The last time I traveled to the west, I put my essential data on an online storage service so I could be sure of not losing it if the airline lost my bag, or some other disaster happened. Nivio would be very handy for a traveling writer. Too bad the name sounds like a deodorant.
I use web based services too. It's handy when I will be traveling, and even handier for distribuded collaboration with others. But as mentioned, this is a supplement to what I do locally, not a replacement.

Quote:
As for using a remote terminal to my home machine, that would be useful too, providing someone stays home to keep the machine up. We have frequent power failures. When I travel I am usually gone for a month or more.
And that brings up another potential issue with all of your data stored somewhere else. A battery power laptop will let you keep working if the power fails, but the odds are good the power outage will kill your net connection.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:52 AM   #6
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And that brings up another potential issue with all of your data stored somewhere else. A battery power laptop will let you keep working if the power fails, but the odds are good the power outage will kill your net connection.
I have a DSL modem connected to a WiFi router. When repowered it all reconnects nicely. Some day I will buy a UPS for my main PC.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:01 PM   #7
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I'd be inclined to use virtualization on a Tablet PC, the thinner the better. I'm fed up with dreaming about it. Any one remember the animation movie Final Fantasy? Those beautiful 3D virtualized interfaces? That's what I want.
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