On Friday my laptop crashed – a system file called a ‘hive file’ was corrupted and I could not boot up Windows. Our technician battled to sort the problem out, but eventually we realised that I would have to use the recovery disk that came with my laptop (a Sony Vaio). Fortunately that seems to have worked, but I wasted hours on Friday going home to fetch the disk, running the recovery, and getting the machine back on the network. I probably spent half the day at home on Saturday re-installing my applications, and I still have more programs to install on Monday when I’m back in the office. Sony partitions the Vaio disk so that there is a separate data disk, so that when a recover is run it wipes the applications partition, not the data.
When you have an experience like that you begin to appreciate other technology platform options. Ten years ago when I was working for Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) (which went into Compaq, which went into HP) the company had a project called Shark. The goal of Shark was to develop a type of thin client computer – called a network computer (NC) - one which could run all the standard PC applications like Office, not only web-based ones. Whether the NC was a viable platform or not, its fate was reportedly sealed at a meeting between DEC’s CEO, Bob Palmer, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates who told Palmer to drop the Shark project. A probable reason was that Larry Ellison promoted the NC heavily – I remember seeing him doing a typical over-the-top presentation on the NC.
The point of the NC was that you used a smart card to store your personal configuration, and could pop it into any NC anywhere to access your data and applications which were stored safely on a server.
I thought how much easier my life could have been had all my applications, set-ups and data been running on a server somwhere, and all I had to do was plug into a different NC. Interestly, I see from Nick Carr’s blog that Google might be aiming in that direction – and whatever happened to the Shark, perhaps Google with all its resources could re-start that project.
This is just me formally and publicly thanking WordPress for a great job facilitating my blog site, and for catching over 5000 items of spam on my blog.
Unless you live in the US or one of the weird European countries, you should know by now that the South African rugby team – the Springboks – won the World Cup Rugby competition last Saturday.
Despite the fact that an American player got the award for the best try scored during the competition, my brother-in-law in Kansas says it is extremely difficult to find a channel that shows rugby in the US. I would imagine the same thing in countries like Germany, Sweden.
Well done Bokke.