Re: Welcome to 'tool' confusion

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 11:54:27 PDT wrote:

> Eirikur Hallgrimsson wrote:
> > Jeff Bone:
> > > What users desperately need is something which divorces their computing
> > > environment / information from the specific platforms they use. The user
> >
> > I agree 100%. It's a nasty hard problem, though. You have to somehow
> Lemme see, how do you divorce computing environment from the specific
> platform? You either access remote content, or view it with an emulation
> In all cases you need some piece of directly runnable software,
> implementing the minimal functionality. Or, gosh, you just make your
> context portable (as in haulable/luggable).
> Gee, I already have that. It's ssh (PuTTY), or VNC, if you want to get
> fancy. Both plucked off the net. There's even a VNC which comes with
> a built-in Java applet, so you only need a Java-capable browser on
> the other end, and a fairly fat pipe with all the right ports open.
> The really long term solution though, is to build me a wearable
> (I'm mostly waiting for the hud/hmd prices to get down, that's still
> the price bottleneck), and wireless linkup to my home DSL box. That
> way, I only need the space around me to provide wireless TCP/IP.
> Lousy protocol that it is, it does what I want, and we seem to be
> getting there, albeit sloooowwwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy.

If all you need is a shell and / or X, and you've "got pipe," then fine. IMO,
this isn't the problem I was musing about and therefore your solution above is
not the right solution. Why? What happens when you need to access (at least
some part of) your "computing environment" and you have no IP flow?

Disconnected use *is* a feature of the world we live in, and is likely to remain
so indefinitely; even as wireless connectivity becomes ubiquitous and faster,
the wired connection will continue to be faster still, meaning that some
asymmetry remains between tethered and untethered. Total disconnection is an
edge case of this asymmetry.

The bottom line is that solutions which assume connectivity will in the long term
fail to be truly portable computing environments. We need a broader base of
technology in areas like replication, optimistic pre-fetch, configuration
management, etc. In the past, I've referred to this kind of thing as "dispersed"
rather than "distributed" computing.

Just some more random musing...


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