Pre-empting laptop pergatory
By John Clingan on Oct 07, 2004
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.