Pre-empting laptop pergatory

My cup runneth over with joy. I got my laptop back yesterday. Seeing the Java Desktop System boot up was pure joy. My temporary setup to my temporary setup to my laptop woes is over. My wife can have her laptop back to make her (our) fortune on etrade. It's not the joy of having a laptop. Its actually the joy of having all of my apps installed, my environment configured the way I like it and my DATA!! I could care less about local computing and the sense of ownership (it's not my laptop, it belongs to Sun Microsystems).

To me, this really emphasises the problem with today's focus on laptops. Many corporations are replacing desktops with laptops. I hope this is a short term strategy and not a trend. I have the belief (no empirical data) that this a primary means of introducing viruses into the enterprise. Not only that, but how much productivity did I just lose because my laptop died? Probably a day or two at least as I re-configured and re-installed an OS on my backup laptop (and I have installed NetBeans 4.0 Beta 2 three times in a week). I had to blow away my data off the hard drive before sending back the laptop for repair (using my hard drive in another laptop). Anyone ever think of the security implications of sending your employee's hard drive to a repair center?? Then, of course, I had to restore it. Another 1/2 day wasted (I have a big hard drive).

I am not kidding around in previous blog entries where I bring up the value of the Tadpole Comet (Sun Ray thin client in a laptop form factor). I really want to try this sucker out as a laptop replacement some day. If I could get access to my desktop from Starbucks and home, I'm sold. Plus, I don't have to fight over a seat at the Mud hole with access to a power outlet since the sucker gets 6-8 hours of battery life (about 1/2 of my daily compute needs :-) ). This is the right corporate mobile computing model.

Imagine this. Instead of giving every employee a laptop, have them check out a Comet on the way out the door. Since there is no local data, there is no sense of ownership. Plus, all of their data gets backed up. They get their desktop running on the Sun Ray server. Already configured. No security hole for local data. When they come back in to work, drop the Comet back in the pool. I bet companies can save millions by load-sharing hardware.

On that Starbucks topic, they just raised their price 10 cents. I thought that as volume went up, prices went down. My Starbucks volume sure went up. The price sure hasn't gone down. I also can't figure out why Starbucks is 30 cents cheaper in San Francisco than in Los Angeles given the cost of living difference. To make my point, I am meeting Craig McClanahan at a Starbucks before I take him to the Orange County Java Users Group tonight. We both need to check email and it's the perfect place in transit from customers to the OCJUG.


Remember the college where they gave out Free iPODs to their students? Think about giving out Free Tadpoles to students staying on campus and oblige them to use only Tadpoles for connecting to the external internet (if you use your own PC you will be able only to connect to the campus intranet)... you would solve all the support problems for different clients, viruses, and stupid MPAA lawsuits. And maybe you will breed a new race of Hack/Nethack/Rogue players :)

Posted by Davide Inglima - limaCAT on October 07, 2004 at 12:56 AM PDT #

John, glad you have your laptop back. You should check out my new Java Desktop System.

Posted by Marc Hamilton on October 07, 2004 at 01:01 AM PDT #

Davide, I heard about that iPod thing. What a waste IMHO. You are right in that Comets are the way to go.

I was a Rogue king, man. I consider it the predecessor to the predecessor to the ... of Doom 3. Ken Arnold was part of the Jini team for quite a while at Sun. I met him quite a few times at Jini occasions and thanked him profusely for Rogue.

Marc, are you in the office or travelling around the world? I can't keep up with all of the places you go. I want to see your JDS.

Posted by John Clingan on October 07, 2004 at 01:21 AM PDT #

John, you said, about laptops "a primary means of introducing viruses into the enterprise" like that was a BAD thing? I love when someone from my company gets viruses, they know I read the MS Office documents they send me, they know I have one of the worst machines of the office (I brag about it) and, they really hate me when they get a virus (or when I see them running an antivirus).
Last year I had no raise and, lots of people here were fired, getting better and cheaper tools meant some families could have a little more income for a while. It's more that an economic decision, it's social responsability.
Viruses? Keep them comming, the more the better. Maybee someone learns something with them.

Posted by Jaime Cardoso on October 07, 2004 at 01:38 AM PDT #

Clarification: I don't infect anyone with viruses, I just make fun (a lot of fun, actually) of people that work with computers and get infected with viruses

Posted by Jaime Cardoso on October 07, 2004 at 01:41 AM PDT #

Excellent! I will also state that I have \*never\* been infected with a Virus. I have wasted ZERO of my time our our corporate resources dealing with a virus. That's because I have been running either Linux, Solaris X86 or the Java Desktop System (Linux) for the past 7 or 8 years.

Posted by John Clingan on October 07, 2004 at 02:08 AM PDT #

No sense of ownship can bring problems too. What is needed is a "Panasonic Toughbook"-like version of the Comet, to prevent those who happen to drop their Comet under the tire of their car before they back out of their driveway.

Of course, the other problem is some of the Windows-only wireless Ethernet hookups. I just read T-Mobile is changing its hot-spot connection technology. This stuff needs to be standardized and handled in hardware, not in the OS, for crying outloud. What does this mean for the Treo 600 and other new wireless Ethernet clients?

Posted by Mark on October 07, 2004 at 02:30 AM PDT #

Mark: That is a problem in countries where competition doesn't exist but, even in those places (I'm thinking about 2 countries I know very well, Portugal and Mozambique) competition is chalenging "the State proteted" Monopolies and are offering services with quality.

Posted by Jaime Cardoso on October 07, 2004 at 02:39 AM PDT #

Congratulate Craig for starting his blog!

Posted by Alexis MP on October 07, 2004 at 02:59 AM PDT #

[Trackback] In The Clingan Zone: Pre-empting laptop pergatory John is happy to get his laptop back. Although he is dreaming of a SunRay laptop like those from Tadpole, I can see the point but when I think of where I use

Posted by 42 on October 12, 2004 at 11:11 AM PDT #

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