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Hold the power…pump up the bandwidth

January 20th, 2010

As netbooks, tablets, and smart phones mature and begin to establish themselves in more and more households, offices, and pockets, I’m beginning to formulate a vision. While just a few years back what we all thought we needed was beefier PCs (more CPU, more RAM, more storage, more graphics), I think our power requirements are levelling off. I think what we need is more bandwidth…put simply, we need to move more stuff to and from the net than ever before, and I think that need will continue to rise.

I wrote earlier about Google’s vision of a cloud-based, device-neutral future with the emergence of their Android and Chrome OSes. I think those pieces of the puzzle will continue to mature, but it will never work until we have usable speed on devices running those OSes, and the usability of that speed will depend on connectivity more than productity or scalability.

Find the nearest awesomeness

January 16th, 2010

GPS = cool
Google = useful
GPS + Google = amazing

One of the coolest things about my new droid phone is the GPS and mapping capability. The marriage of GPS with real-time access to google’s massively indexed search info is just an absolutely beautiful thing.

When you can speak into your phone (android’s speech recognition is also amazing) something like “find the nearest pizza” and it instantly pops up a map with markers for pizza joints overlaid…well, that’s just downright cool. But it blows my mind when I can touch on any of those markers and it brings up the address (with an offer to navigate there), and the phone number (with an offer to call automatically), and reviews, and the web address, and a ‘street view’ of what the place and its surroundings look like…you have to see it to believe it.

I’ve seen the future, and it is Google

January 15th, 2010

The more I play with, er, I mean use, my new droid, the more I’m convinced Google might just pull it off. Pull what off, you ask? A web-centric, cloud-dwelling, device-hopping, browser-based future of computing. It’s been talked about for a long time, and I’ve been one of the most cynical skeptics, but Google might just have a shot at getting the necessary pieces in place.

The droid I’m typing (tapping? texting? thumbing?) this on, or any other Android-based, GPS-enabled smart phone for that matter, is one piece. Their Chrome browser-like operating system will be another. But the necessary glue that makes the whole thing click is Google’s massively-indexed, near realtime, ubiquitous web search capability.

I’m still not convinced that we’ll be at a point anytime soon where we can all ditch our local apps and data. I’m a huge fan of open source tools like OpenOffice, the Gimp, Inkscape, and Scribus, and I can’t yet envision a time when a browser-based document or image processing app will ever provide the richness or power of those PC-based apps. But I’m more and more convinced now that we’ll very quickly be at a point where the majority of tasks for the majority of users could be handled with Google’s brave new web-based paradigm. And when they release their Chrome OS later this year (hopefully), I think we’ll be still one step closer to realizing the potential of that paradigm.

Is that a computer in your pocket?

January 10th, 2010

My wife was good to me this Christmas…never mind whether I was a good boy and deserved it. She got me a droid, and I must say I’m impressed and overjoyed. I had put off getting a “smart” phone because I thought all of them looked, well, not quite smart enough. Mobile web access is handy in a pinch, I told myself, but it all looks so restrictive. How in the web wide world could I possibly be productive without my Firefox and OpenOffice and Inkscape and what-not?

Well…let me tell you, Google has just about figured that all out. I’m not saying they put all that stuff on a phone, but they’ve put together an incredibly useful and rich mobile OS and toolset. And Motorola has partnered that environment with a downright sexy phone. I’ve always liked Motorola phones and this one doesn’t disappoint. It feels solid and substantial. The keyboard is small but functional (I’m typing on it!). The screen is bright and beautiful. And the phone sound quality, signal, etc are all fine. But what makes the Droid a truly exceptional device is Google’s Android OS. Wow…Google just gets it. And now, thanks to my wife, I get it too.

all in a name = inane llama = animal lane = La Alien Man = ???

February 24th, 2009

Does anyone else find it strange that a writer named Ina Fried is writing about a guy named Ian Freed?  No, there’s no other obvious connection besides their strangely, nearly anagrammatical names (Ina Fried is a writer for CNet, while Ian Freed is Vice President of Amazon) but still, Ina Fried…Ian Freed?  Wow.  Add to that the fact that Ina used to be an “Ian” herself…strange, indeed.

All that aside, the new Kindle 2 from Amazon does look cool.  I still think I’ll hang on to my old hard-backs, but these devices could start to get really interesting in another generation or 2.

Oh yeah, one more thing…any coincidence that Ian Freed’s name can be anagrammatized as “Read Fine?”