[linux-elitists] The desktop in your pocket

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 26 02:18:28 PST 2004

on Sun, Jan 25, 2004 at 04:34:46PM -0800, Jim Richardson (warlock@eskimo.com) wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 25, 2004 at 07:08:02AM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >One of the points I made in recent desktop discussions was that computer
> >platforms in the near future may emphasize portability over performance
> >-- my ideal platform would fit in my pocket, yet support a display and
> >keyboard when at a workstation.
> >
> >Behold:
> >
> >   Turn a Handheld into a Desktop with Blue Dock
> >   By Ed Hardy | Editor-in-Chief
> >   Jan 22, 2004
> >   http://brighthand.com/article/Synosphere_Developing_Blue_Dock
> >
> >   Synosphere is currently developing the Blue Dock, a docking station
> >   to allow a handheld to function as a desktop computer.
> >
> >   Blue Dock Once a handheld has been placed in the Blue Dock, the user
> >   will be able to create, modify, and edit data on a full sized
> >   monitor using a full size keyboard and mouse. Users will have access
> >   to email, the Web, and network resources -- including file servers,
> >   printers, and other shared workstations.
> >
> >
> >Current model iPaqs pack more punch than the system currently serving as
> >a footrest (and nameserver) under my desk.
> >
> For $250 I can buy a cheap off the rack whitetbox computer. With 10-20GB
> of storage to boot. 

Which is well and good.  But doesn't do much when you're 20 miles, or
2,000 miles, from the box in question.

> I'd rather use the handheld with some sort of ubiquitous wireless
> networking, bluetooth, irda, or 802.11 (or all of the above) and the
> ability to transfer data back and forth seamlessly. 

My "personal computing environment", when you boil it down, amounts to:

  - Some state data (configuration files).
  - Some identifying data (GPG keys).
  - Some current content (mail, browser bookmarks).
  - Access to primary storage.  Whether it's local or a remotely
    accessed link.

> A small 20-240GB HD, with bluetooth/802.11 and a battery or wallwart,
> would be nice. 

As Apple's demonstrated very convincingly, it's trivial to drop 20+ GiB
into a shirt pocket.  And as I demonstrated at the Palo Alto store, even
after a couple of 5' drops to hardwood floor, the damned thing still

The next question is:  where do you put the processor?  You can put it
onboard, and treat the unit as autonomous, or you can use an offboard
processor, and treat the unit as mobile storage (hybrid middle grounds
are also possible).  Modulo speed, either achieves the goal of mobile
computing, though self-sufficiency calls for onboard capabilities.

As an itenerant techie / programmer, the ability to drop into a given
locale, supply power, net, keyboard, and display, and resume working on
whatever it was that I had been doing, is powerfully attractive.

Decidedly moreso than being straightjacketed into a "standard"
cookie-cutter desktop by those with less of a vision for ubiquitous


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
     There's been too much gaming of the system until it is broke.
     Capitalism is not working! There has been a corrupting of the
     system of capitalism.
     - Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman, 2002
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