Monday, February 1, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:00 PM
"In the New World, computers are task-centric. We are reading email, browsing the web, playing a game, but not all at once. Applications are sandboxed, then moats dug around the sandboxes, and then barbed wire placed around the moats. As a direct result, New World computers do not need virus scanners, their batteries last longer, and they rarely crash, but their users have lost a degree of freedom. New World computers have unprecedented ease of use, and benefit from decades of research into human-computer interaction. They are immediately understandable, fast, stable, and laser-focused on the 80% of the famous 80/20 rule. Is the New World better than the Old World? Nothing's ever simply black or white."
This is a really great "think piece" that's well worth reading if you're the kind of person that likes to think about where computers - and that includes mobile devices - are going to be moving in the next decade. As such, I'm posting it across all our sites to get the widest possible take on the topic. I want to hear from you!
Steven Frank, the author, posits that new world computers are task-centric and secure, and that's the future of computing. For many types of scenarios, I think that works really well - but Frank doesn't seem to acknowledge that in order to do anything involving real content creation, an "old world" PC is still required. I'm happy to have a limited-in-functionality Web-pad style device next to my couch for Web surfing, tweeting, etc., but when I need to process raw files on a colour calibrated monitor, or edit HD video? Old world computing rules those scenarios.
I also have to wonder how sophisticated the software can get on these New World computers - ever noticed how so many iPod Touch games are the same? Screen size and touch-only inputs are significantly factors on what developers are able to do.
In some ways this boils down to the "appliances" vs. "computers" argument that has been going on for years. Appliances are more reliable, but they only do very specific things. Computers do infinitely more, but are generally less reliable than appliances. Which would you rather have, and why?