Category Archives: Web 3.0

cloud vs desktop?

 sword_fight_smallSpeaking of cloud computing, I’ve been itching to write an article about it.

Ever since the inception of Web 2.0, it has been prophesized that it will kill desktop computing. Some people believe that browser is the new operating system and the underlying OS is now irrelevant or it will come to a point that it will be irrelevant. This reached fever pitch when Google  announced Chrome OS, a cloud OS that will change the way we interact with computers. Personally, I think it’s foolish. Here are my reasons why.

  1. Cloud purists (yeah, I said it) believe that online and offline computing are mutually exclusive i.e. one is the antithesis of another. I strongly disagree on this matter. I believe that the future of computing, web 3.0 if you will, should be the marriage of online and offline computing. One that harnesses the benefits of both worlds. Think about it, they are doing it now but won’t admit. Both worlds are trying to outflank each other by implementing each other’s core strength. Here’s how:
      

    • Desktop apps are now starting to implement online capabilities. Take MS Office for instance. Office 14 have now collaboration features and the ability to be saved on the cloud.
       
    • Web apps now increasingly mimicking desktop apps. Google has released Gears to enable offline capabilities. Google also released Native Client (NaCl) to allow browsers to run native (sandboxed) code locally. On the UI side, we’ve been pushing AJAX and CSS to copy rich desktop applications.
       
    • Flash and Silverlight are new breed of platforms that harness the power of both worlds. They are blurring the line between desktop and web applications. Silverlight has now the out-of-browser experience that allows application to persist outside the browser.
       
  2. Internet’s reach is now well extended beyond PC and we can’t expect every device to have a browser. Internet experience should not be confined to the browser. Rather, the web experience should be connected to the device’s experience. iPhone is a monumental evidence for this. Yes, browsing in iPhone is cool and fast but you have to admit, it’s still broken (don’t get me started on that). The same reason it is broken on an Android, Blackberry or a WinMo phone. Mobile web browsers just don’t cut it. That’s why developers chose to develop native apps for iPhone despite the fact that Apple initially offered web apps for the iPhone. Today we are increasingly living in a connected environment. Phones, TV, portable media devices, photo frames, etc are now internet capable. Pushing a browser into these devices is just burying our heads in the sand.
     
  3. Personal computers (even devices!) these days are just too powerful to be left untapped. The ubiquity of low cost yet powerful device is just too huge to ignore. Yet web applications barely scratch this computing power while users demand too much from them. Web apps have been pushed too much even on some areas they’re not supposed to. What we have are sometimes missed, sometimes hit user experience *cough* Google Docs *cough*. Native apps can deliver incredible great user experience once done right. Why? They can take advantage of computer resources such as local storage, hardware acceleration and GPU processing.

These are 3 compelling reasons why cloud alone is not the panacea of computing. Rather, together with desktop computing, it can create the seamless experience every user is looking for: an experience that takes advantage of all the resources – networked and local.

The issue of standards

Despite of the points I made there’s one thing that outweighs them all: standards. Yes, native frameworks / OS are proprietary (most of them anyway). In these days of open source, open standards and anti-trust lawsuits, people just go nuts over standards. This is for good reason. I am not in any ridiculing what standards have brought to us. Standards allow fair competition and encourage innovation. However, the same standards are holding us down. Standards are slow to implement and too much politics are involve. This is where I think that standard has to also evolve into something else. They have to evolve from specific implementations to strict guidelines of native frameworks. Let the companies innovate as long as they operate under the rules. This way, again, we are harnessing the best of both worlds. It’s a stretch, I know.

What’s your take on cloud computing? Hit the comment section and let me know.

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Filed under Cloud, Desktop, Tech, Web 2.0, Web 3.0

my 5 favorite FREE windows programs of all time

I read Ed Bott’sMy 10 favorite Windows programs of all time” and decided to come up with my own list. (Click the image if you want to download the app)

1. FeedDemon

How do I start praising this app? Let me do that by telling you that I’m a tech blog reader junkie. I read at least 20 articles a day. It’s my morning newspaper (or coffee, same effect). FeedDemon is an excellent RSS client that allows me to view and manage my entire RSS subscription. Now nothing’s fancy there, all other RSS readers do that. But one great thing about this is whenever I used other computer, it automatically synchronizes my subscription. So not only my RSS subscription is instantly available in my office computer (or any other), I can also pick up where I left reading. And the best part of all, it has a mobile client for Windows Mobile that’s also in synched with the rest of your subscription!

2. Windows Live

Sure, another Microsoft products that’s late to the party. But please, please, please, try it first before joining the naysayers club. These apps are so useful and amazing that I don’t think I can put up words to prove them to you unless you really try them. They’re top notch on the software + services department. It’s a package of several apps so I just decided to count them as one otherwise my list would be all MS products and that would just make this list silly.

  • Windows Live Photo Gallery – do you remember ACDSee back in the Win98 days? It was very useful and insanely easy to use (until they try to open every files in Windows with it). Well, WLPG is like that, only streamlined and a lot useful. Aside from organizing your media library in every possible way there is, it let’s you tag your photos thus making it searchable via Desktop search. It also, allows you to tag people directly connected on your Windows Live Contacts. And it’s coolest feature would be the facial recognition! It automatically detects the faces on the picture and lets you identify it by People tagging them. Very sweet.
  • Windows Live Mail – Synchronized email wherever you go – PC, mobile, web – ah, now that’s peace of mind. I was really reluctant giving up my Yahoo mail over Windows Live. First and foremost, it was my email for (trip to memory lane, this could be a while, hold on..) 8 years (finally!). People know me though that mail. But when I started using Live Mail, it was just a breeze. The experience of using a client email program tramps web-based, AJAX-ified email. I tried doing this with my Yahoo using a free SMTP proxy with Outlook but it just wasn’t working. No synchronization via mobile or web.. ahh!
  • Windows Live Writer – using it right now, as we speak, err write. If you’re a  blogger, then this client is a must for you. Live writer supports so many blogging sites (WordPress, TypePad, Blogger etc), has a very snappy UI and powerful features like a real document editor. Also, like the Live Photo Gallery, there are so many plug-ins available.

 3. Crimson Editor

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I’ve never really tried other text editor extensively, so most of my considerations here are basically moot point, but this nifty code editor has been with me for so long and it never failed me. Number 1, it’s lightning fast. The way how you should expect any code editors. Pin it on your Quick Launch and you have an all-purpose, easy-access note-taking machine. Two, tons of features. It has all the power of a standard code editor plus more. Editing remote files? No biggie, this baby can edit and save text files via FTP. Multiple edits? It has a multi-tabbed interface that allows you to edit, find, replace and save simultaneously all opened documents. Doing repetitive text-editing tasks? Macro that!

4. Skype

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If you want to do VoIP, there’s no other way to do it other than Skype. The experience and call quality separates it from any other VoIP client. The call is so clear it makes Yahoo Messenger Voice a joke. It also has a mobile client version.

5. Paint.NET
It’s not Photoshop but it gets the job done. I have a good background with Photoshop and I was never comfortable trying other image editor. For me, there was only two image editors, Paint  and Photoshop. Don’t laugh but MS Paint serves handy as my clipboard for images. Just Window Key + R > Type “mspaint” (which is usually in the autocomplete list) > press enter and it’s there, easy and fast. Photoshop, well, is for everything else. I can’t of anything that can’t be done using Photoshop. The problem is this: Photoshop is too slow for quick edits and Paint is just a joke for any edit at all. That’s where Paint.NET fills in. It’s very fast to launch and yet still powerful enough to do edits.

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Filed under Tech, Web 3.0, Windows Live