"How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up." Get a Sun Ray!
By jsolof on Dec 09, 2004
From The Wizard of Oz:
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Tin Man: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I -- I think that it -- that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em -- and it's that -- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Reading David Gelertner's Op Ed piece, How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up., in this morning's Wall Street Journal (p. A16), I was reminded of what Dorothy learned: that if she ever goes looking for her heart's desire again, she won't have to look any further than her own backyard.
In this case, what Gelertner is looking for may not be in his own backyard, but IT IS AVAILABLE FROM SUN!
To his heart's first desire:
Like many people, I have several PCs in my life -- and I constantly need to ask such ridiculous questions as, "Where did I leave the latest version of that file? By what clumsy method should I move it from where it is to where it's needed?"...
IBM might have done well selling PCs with built-in "transparent information sharing." As soon as you connected such a machine to the internet, all your electronic documents would immediately be available -- no matter where you created or worked on them. If all your computers had transparent information-sharing, you could start composing an e-mail at work, touch it up during your drive home (using a -- theoretical -- in-car, audio-interface IBM PC) and finish it up on a laptop in your backyard...
Many old and decrepit PCs would be replaced tomorrow if bringing new PCs up to speed weren't such a colossal nuisance. IBM PCs with transparent information-sharing would have made that problem disappear. Connect a new machine to the internet and all your electronic information would have materialized automatically...
[and...] Why doesn't every computer I use show me the exact same desktop, with the same layout of the same icons? -- or (at any rate) the same picture, no matter what interface I use? I could go on.
Dude, you don't have to go on: with the exception of the voice-driven car interface, we can do all that today. It's called the Sun Ray Ultra-Thin Client, and you can read all about it at sun.com/sunray and you can buy them in the on-line Sun Store.
And to his heart's second desire:
Why are we wedded to a windows-menus-mouse interface that is flat, as if it were stuck to the back of the screen, when computers are easily powerful enough to turn the screen into a viewport that lets us "peer through it" into an imaginary 3-D landscape? (Information can be more clearly and effectively arranged in a 3-D space than on a restricted flat surface.)
We don't actually sell this in the Sun Store. We've open sourced it! Check out Project Looking Glass by Sun Microsystems: A Revolutionary Evolution of Today's Desktop, and if you want to see what it looks like, here are some screenshots.
So instead of sending a wish list off to IBM via the Wall Street Journal, check out what Sun has to offer today.
Glinda: That's all it is!
Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should have thought of it for you.
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart.
Glinda: No. She had to find it out for herself. Now, those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!
Dorothy: Oh... Toto, too?
Glinda: Toto, too.
Dorothy: Oh, now?
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Dorothy: Oh, dear -- that's too wonderful to be true!
Nah. It's just what we do.