Friday, June 4, 2010

On netbooks and utility computing

Talking with Matt and Dave last night, I said something along the lines of "this netbook is the last computer I expect to buy." In retrospect, I didn't mean it. I plan to buy plenty more gadgets in the future.

Here's what I *did* mean: this is the last laptop I expect to buy for its processor. As cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, virtually all processing will be done remotely. Your laptop -- and your desktop, probably -- will just be a terminal used to access the grid. With factory-like server grids supplying processing cycles at utility prices, you won't have any reason to supply your own computing. The time is coming rapidly.

In other words, my netbook isn't a computer. It's a terminal. Owning a computer is like owning a spinning wheel, plow, or mill -- not worth the time and money it takes to use them. Buying a low-end netbook is a statement about technological integration. I don't need own the machinery for processing my own data, in the same way that I don't need to own the machinery to make my own paper or build my own car.

No comments: