stone city

The potential of Clouds.
December 1, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: gadgets, geekery | Tags: , , , , ,


More and more, we as computer users have our head in the clouds. We’re depending less and less on even making sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground at the same time. The elegant combination of netbooks and web apps is quickly bringing browser tech to the forefront in an unprecedented way. My most commonly used applications? Fluid-enabled versions of Facebook, Hiveminder, Flickr and Remember The Milk. And Firefox is always the first thing I open and the last thing I close. I think Mail is the only hard drive-based app I actually use anymore (besides Transmission. Shhh!).

Here’s yet another step skyward. It’s a new operating system from the makers of gOS, the Linux-based OS that powers Wal-Mart’s bargain basement Everex-brand netbooks. It’s also based on the Linux kernel, but it borrows some obvious cues from a certain Google-branded internet browser. The name of the OS is itself “Cloud,” and it boots in mere seconds. Basically, its a browser optimized for using web-apps, and not much else.

The beauty is that we no longer need much else. Even Microsoft Office, long the only real “required” piece of software on most people’s computers, is fairly easily replaced with Google apps or Zoho. There’s only one place I use Office anymore: at the actual office. And even then, in a better connected, more technologically current environment, I could probably largely avoid it if I wanted to. As a freelancer, I have little cause to ever open Microsoft’s Office suite, unless I want to see how it performs in a new OS environment.

As a MobileMe user, I’m well aware that moving to the cloud is not without its downsides. Still, I’m generally excited about the prospect. I’ve always been annoyed that so much of my notebook’s precious hard drive space is given over to applications that take up far more than their fair share of space. More and more, I can give that storage back to media, where it belongs. At least, that is, until streaming media matures to the point that it elminates the need for keeping local copies.


Digital therapy for analog problems.
August 6, 2008, 9:02 am
Filed under: gadgets, wastefulness | Tags: , , , ,

Oh my, oh my. Why does tech make me drool? Maybe it’s because I respect the brilliant work of software and computer engineers? I have as hard a time believing this as you do.

I’m angsty about this in general, but very specifically today because I just bought one of these:

Now, don’t think that because I bought this sexy conglomeration of circuit boards, wiring, and piano black plastic casing that I have the money to do so. I do not.

My purchase was not driven by sound budgetary and financial reasoning. It was driven by compulsion and techno-lust. Fill me, oh material things! Your pleasing electric hum will drown out the wind howling across the empty desert of my soul.

I’m hoping not to get bored of this newest toy in fifteen days owing to its ability to play Blu-ray movies and DVDs.  That way even if the DuoShock 3 gets dusty like my Wii-motes and Xbox 360 controllers before it, at least I’ll always be able to watch Starship Troopers in HD, the way it was meant to be seen.

I really wish I could click on that.
July 23, 2008, 7:47 pm
Filed under: gadgets

Some will say it’s a sign of society’s growing over-dependency on technology, but I find it genuinely frustrating when I can’t click on some object in the physical world and have it bring up related information.  It takes a moment to realize that there is no mouse, no network connectivity, and no mouse or other interface device.  This realization consistently brings with it disappointment.

Which is why when I went to Japan I was so intrigued by this technology:

These barcodes essentially allow “hardlinking,” or hyperlinking various kinds of information directly from physical reality.  Once you get over the myriad kneejerk pornographic applications, you can begin to imagine where this might conceivable lead.  One dream scenario springs to mind: impulse buying made yet more instantaneous, once these are integrated into advertisements.  Hum-drum educational applications (at the museum, etc.) are also likely to be of interest to those less slavish to commerce.

i need to go buy something useless.