Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Some thoughts on platform

I have been enjoying a new sense of platform independence lately. With the use of my USB storage device as my primary drive for current documents, I find that I am able to work on documents on many different computers (part of the time on my home PC, some on my work laptop, and some on computers at school). It dawned on me last night that not only am I working on different hardware, but also different platforms and doing it fairly seamlessly. For example, I did part of my work last night on a Mac at school when I am primarily a Windows person...but Word, Adobe Reader, and Internet Explorer didn't care about that!

I am excited to see software developers make the effort to make applications cross-platform friendly. I personally envision a day when not just your data, but your applications will also follow you around on a portable device of yet-to-be-determined form. If your word processor was installed to your portable device, not only could you work on documents anywhere, but you'd get to keep your familiar toolbar layout and other personal preferences. At that point, the hardware each person uses may become even less of an issue than it is today. I could be completely wrong here, but I think that mobile computing is really still in its infancy.

If today I can work on my IBM laptop, home-brewed desktop system, school-provided HP PC's and Macintosh G4's, and my Palm PDA...what great stuff is coming in the future? I am not sure, but am excited to find out!

1 comment:

Josh Bancroft said...

Make sure you check out Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird (a quick Google should find them). They take the portability thing a step further by letting you run self-contained instances of Firefox and Thunderbird from a USB drive, complete with preferences, bookmarks, etc.

This won't work cross-platform (unless you put both the Mac and Windows versions on the USB drive, and somehow got them to share profiles), but it's nice to carry your favorite browser, all configured the way you like it, in your pocket and use it on any computer you want without worrying about leaving behind temp files, cookies, etc.