The reinventing of the Operating System
Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™m not the only one who has found that logging onto the computer has become quite mundane and boring. Yes, I like Windows 7, and Snow Leopard isnâ€™t looking too bad either, but its kind of frustrating because we havenâ€™t had any major revolutionary ideas in the past three OS updates for both Microsoft and Apple.
Yes we got things like global search, hi-def support, cool animations and visual effects, but where are the revolutionary ideas that should be popping up. While our hardware is getting more and more powerful, our software seems to lag in support for such features. Operating systems do a pretty good job of the basics, intermediate and advanced, but I think itâ€™s about time we see some better integration between our electronic devices.
No doubt youâ€™ve probably heard of â€œMicrosoftâ€™s Home,â€ Redmondâ€™s idea of how our homes will look if 2012 proves to be incorrect. While the ideas are great, itâ€™s clear to see that many of them will be, to say the least, expensive. More importantly these technologies require much more then a simple computer to operate.
Reinventing an OS however, while radical, could render it useful. Let me give an example, the â€œDesktopâ€ is a wonderful place and without it most of us wouldnâ€™t have our bearings in our OS. But it limits what we can do in many ways. For example, retrieving a file from a remote computer is one that can involve a lot of pain and headache especially if both systems are operating two different OSâ€™s.
The Fix? Cloud computing! Yes, weâ€™ve heard the term mentioned hundreds of time, but itâ€™s not been until recent years that the necessity of cloud computing has become evident. For instance, I have changed smartphones and carriers three times in the past year (I know what youâ€™re thinking). Although switching from the original MotoQ to the Blackberry Curve was a painless process, not so when I decided to get the Pre. While numbers and most emails as well as websites were transferred, this was not the case for birthdays, notes and such. More importantly, it failed to synchronize my email contacts with my phone.
If I happened to have all my contacts â€œin the cloudâ€ it would cut out the need to find a way to synchronize my messenger, email, and phone contact lists between different models and manufacturers. All I would have to do is sync any new phone, computer or PMP with the cloud and all data would remain intact. Plus I could cancel the risk of those horrible duplicates that always seem to arise when switching platforms. Yes, I know Microsoft, Apple, Google and Palm among others have programs that sync contact and calendar information among multiple platforms. But Iâ€™m still looking for a solution that allows me to run Adobe Photoshop, Google Sketch-Up or Microsoft Office remotely.
This of course could give users the ability to run graphical, CPU and memory intense programs from netbooks, nettops and other bargain PCâ€™s thus reducing the need to buy multiple licenses for the same product. More importantly data lost would be less common as the event of a hard drive failing or a virus taking over a system would not affect data stored remotely.
Small businesses would be able to cut IT costs as most employees would only need a small computer, one that is capable of Internet access, and of course the required security details to log in. Speaking of security, â€œthe cloudâ€ could not be accessed unless a security key (USB dive) were plugged into the computer accessing the data. Other security measures such as facial recognition, and fingerprint readers could also be utilized in these security keys. Best of all these keys would keep a record of the who, what, when and where.
The USB key could also double as a USB modem thus the ability to bring access to â€œthe cloudâ€ anywhere service is provided. In an event that the user would be traveling to an area that internet access is unavailable, information, programs and other data could be downloaded onto the USB key and used on any computer through a dedicated virtual environment.
I know what youâ€™re thinking, this would be impossible to implement in a short amount of time. But quite the contrary. All of what I have mentioned are technologies used everyday. Many Mac users run Windows virtually, Linux users do the same for Windows and vise versa. USB keys have been used for quite some time from providing network security IT professionals to high end software of the likes of AutoDesk and Houdini. Best of all, Microsoft, Linux and Apple support a basic amount of virtualization. All that is left is to port the OSâ€™s to â€œthe cloud.â€
Itâ€™s a wild idea, but itâ€™s plausible and something that could break barriers as information could be easily shared across different environments as well as mobile devices, vehicles and other electronical equipment.