The tablet as the new main computer? Quite Possibly.

My tablet seems to be so fast at everything that I am starting to wonder if indeed this might be the next portable computer for the nimble professional. What makes this plausible are a number of (obvious) factors:

  • the new iPad has a near perfect screen, and it’s ridiculously fast at everything I’m doing with it so far.
  • ingenious cover solutions exist that give you a Bluetooth keyboard coupled to a stand, so you get the laptop experience, though this may mean you need a trackpad or mouse to go with it
  • storing your data in the cloud is clearly now a no-brainer
  • remote desktop makes it possible to access a powerful desktop from any location, and these are increasingly available on the web browser as well
  • as a software developer your code is probably on Github and you could use a cloud IDE, and surely you have an automated build system
  • online drawing tools are plenty and some are really good, so you can create your architecture diagrams or other documents without requiring a software running locally and have a comfortable experience
  • rather than printing, you can email, share via to an online share point, place documents on an online collaboration tool
  • to top it off, if you lose your tablet you can remotely wipe it out, or use the find my device feature to help the police trace it

So, what’s left that would tie someone to a desktop, or a laptop? Clearly not very much. Surely, such a transition will come at the price of some inconvenience. Not everything will be perfectly smooth at the start but people will accommodate, akin to the situation where “fail whale” (regularly crashing web sites) came to be tolerated for the convenience of being online.

Google’s vision of Chromebook still intrigues me though, unless it would cost less than $100 why wouldn’t you get a tablet instead? If the new iPad is anything to go by, even Apple may wake up to a time when the traditional MacBook buyers are migrating to the iPad. Unless you are running several Operating Systems on your laptop you may not need to carry it around if you’ve got an iPad. The implication is that the next PC laptops and MacBooks would have to match 2011 servers, those may become more of a niche for the really power hungry IT professionals or media producing consultants.

I read all the buzz about the new iPad screen and I thought, blah blah, sure. But what I’ve experienced is that the whole experience is astonishingly smooth, and that really gets you thinking.

Will Windows 8 eventually drop the acid colours from Metro?

It is interesting to watch what i would call Microsoft’s renaissance – in the French language interpretation of it. It is not yet clear if the markets (consumers!) are wholeheartedly responding. But the telling signs are multiple in my opinion, the first sign for me is a combination of the following:

  • when I saw the first preview of Windows Phone 7
  • the developer tools group’s genuine embrace of open source
  • the work they are doing with the programming languages, think F#, what their language designers say these days
  • the very impressive Azure product line
  • and the first develop preview of Windows 8

I like the general user experience of Metro Style UI. The one thing I haven’t warmed up to yet is the acid colours, those colours are “too loud” to my taste. That would be my single criticism for now. I hope there would be a way to tone that down when it eventually ships.

Windows 8 will ship when it’s ready, not forced by a schedule!

In an unprecedented move, Microsoft said that Windows 8 will ship when it is ready, they are driven by quality and not by a schedule. The second surprise, to me at least, is that Windows 8 previews will not require activation keys.

I briefly caught up with the keynotes live stream of Microsoft’s Build Windows event today. I saw about 15min of it and these are my favourite take aways:

  • Microsoft’s Steve Sinofsky said that, I quote him, roughly “Windows 8 will ship when it’s ready, Microsoft is focusing on quality and they will not be driven by a schedule”. That’s exactly the kind of language you hear from popular Open Source project leaders, last time I read it was from a Ruby on Rails framework developer (talking at the time, about when  Rails 3.1 would be released)
  • Windows 8 preview releases will not require any activation key
  • And of course, the 8 second boot time (I may not have properly heard that one, but there was an 8 sec boot time demo’ed earlier)
Microsoft  announced that Windows 8 developer preview would be available for download at 3 AM GMT on 14 September. I’m already prepared for a title like “the most downloaded OS preview ever!” or something like that, being announced within a week perhaps. Let me risk a gamble, 2 Mio downloads within 5 days? 😉