Steve Sidley The mythical network computer

40% of Korean homes and reportedly 80% of businesses have 50+Mbs fibre connections, and this scenario has not come to pass at all. Here is why:

1) People still want PCs, because there will ALWAYS be occasions to be offline - in which case still want to access to your services and hard drive. Mobilty mitigates against he network computer, even in the face of new hi speed wireless IP transport.

2) No amount of legislation and good intentions will give people comfort that that corporate and personal infomation is 100% safe in the hands of distant third parties. Photos and spreadsheets, perhaps, but stuff like personal adult content and confidential company information is unlikely to ever be resident on network clouds where there is the smallest chance of malicious employee breach.

3) No matter how fast the cloud, the PC bus and the LAN is going to be faster. Simple physics. This shorter distance/greater speed imperitave will necessarily keep certain services within the company or residence.

So - perhaps an increasing use of online services, but to imply we go all the way to the edge, hmmmm....
Posted: 6 September 2007 at 08:25

Wolfgang Grulke RE: The mythical network computer

I guess the whole point of this particular MindBullet has nothing whatsoever to do with the future use of PCs, but rather the impact that this pervasive 'cloud computing' will have on sales of web servers and traditional 'central site' hardware. The impact for all suppliers will be massive if the primary sales are focused on a few gigantic customers - margins will be squeezed like never before and economies of scale will hit overall sales volumes.

Re your other points - it is already much cheaper to store information on the network than on a PC and the gap is growing. Network speeds are already growing faster than computing speeds. This is not about simple physics - but about the power of large-scale networks, individual choice and simplicity vs complexity.

Also, I see big business opportunities for people to develop new 'trusted brands' that will manage personal data and guarantee privacy - these do not exist today.

Consumers will make different choices based on different value-propositions in future - I like this MindBullet because it forces many industries to rethink their straight-line views of the future. Their 'current future' will not necessarily be their 'ideal future'.
Posted: 6 September 2007 at 10:25

Steve Sidley RE: RE: The mythical network computer

The prospect of grid/cloud computing has predicted the death of the full service PC as often as the company server, which is why my comment alluded to it. It has been, in my opinion, wrongly compared to the electricity grid.

I fundamentally disagree on numerous points:

Trusted brands that guarantee privacy will never be granted the most personal of information - stuff that would embarrass, shame or criminalise us, in addtion to that stuff that we just think is too important to leave to an impersonal authority.

The evolution of network development is to push intelligence to the edge - hence the growing popularity of things like smartphones. This is diametrically opposed to the scenario painted here.

The ubernetwork scenario painted here necessarily describes a world in which the individual or company is virtually tethered to a grid, and utterly encumbent on a commercial thrid party for all information services. This may be simpler, but it goes against the grain of the human need to retain personal control.

Network services have their place. This Midbullet paints a scenario of total ubiquity - we will have to disagree on this one.
Posted: 6 September 2007 at 10:56

Wolfgang Grulke RE: RE: RE: The mythical network computer

In my worldview, the evolution of network development is to make intelligence pervasive in the network - a true network has no 'edge'.

In a networked world, anything that becomes commoditized, also becomes irrelevant - in a business/profit/value sense. Ditto privacy will become commoditized as people realize that is is achievable. But, this will require a different operating system that treats information as personal unless the user decides otherwise - I'm sure we did a MindBullet on that last year!?

Nice debate!!!!
Posted: 6 September 2007 at 13:33

Steve Sidley RE: RE: RE: RE: The mythical network computer

If you want to raise the level of abstraction, I give you the human body. Some devices have massive intelligence/processing power at the edge (eyes), some have little (touch).

Some jobs are done locally (sweating, or hair growth, for instance), others are done by the CPU.

IN other words, servers all over the place:)

Posted: 6 September 2007 at 15:22


You guys have really got it in for the banks haven't you?
Posted: 9 September 2007 at 10:25


Only the banks that are not rated highly by their customers!

We'd love to work with any bank that wants to create "The first bank that customers really LOVE!" It is possible.
Posted: 9 September 2007 at 13:41

Gareth Ochse We actually use these things, today

Our business,, runs entirely on the infrastructure of amazon. We use their bulk bandwidth pricing to get really good international rates. Our servers (images, or configurations that we made to suit our purposes) are saved on their S3 (simple storage solution) network, as is all our data. Our live application servers run on the EC2 network (Elastic compute cloud).

The bonus: (1) cost mainly. A high spec sever costs us about $70 per month to run. All cost is variable.

Next bonus: (2) speed: we don't have to order a machine from dell ($5000), wait for 2-4 weeks for delivery, then lock up a guy to test and install for a few days before deploying. Oh wait - customers volumes might grow suddenly - better order 2 then, and hope that cash doesn't run out first!. We can 'instantiate' a server, built exactly to our specs, within about 10 minutes.

The next bonus: (3) flexibility & scalability. Best of all, we can deploy a new machine programatically. So if customer volumes rise, we deploy another machine. Problem solved. If volumes really rise, then we deploy a new layer to our architecture. If volumes drop (people go to sleep afterall), then we 'delete' a couple of machines. We're paying by the hour, so no problems there.

How's the performance?
Well, it all works fine. No complaints.

What's the downside?
We will never see our machines, and we don't have airconditioned rooms full of racks with cables and flashings lights. So the ego is low :)
Posted: 13 September 2007 at 15:41

Doug Vining RE: We actually use these things, today

Precisely the sort of scenario I was imagining - you are obviously ahead of the curve!
Posted: 13 September 2007 at 16:09

Doug Vining Cloud computing

Cloud computing--the idea of relying on Web-based applications and storing data in the "cloud" of the Internet--has long been touted as a way to do business on the road. Now software companies are making entire Web-based operating systems. Built to work like a whole computer in the cloud and aimed at a wider audience, these browser-based services could help those who can't afford their own computer.
Posted: 18 September 2007 at 20:35

Doug Vining Google and IBM build 'cloud computing' online

The two companies are investing to build large data centers that students can tap into over the Internet to program and research remotely, which is called "cloud computing."

Both companies have a deep business interest in this new model in which computing chores increasingly move off individual desktops and out of corporate computer centers to be handled as services over the Internet.
Posted: 8 October 2007 at 17:40

Anton Musgrave By-pass the internet...fact or fiction?

In a world reliant on ubiquitous access, information transmission and openness can we allow Governments to slowly but surely introduce extreme censorship and ultimately, control? Of course not! And so, as always, a 'workaround' will be fund that bypasses the system and evades attempts to control how we use and share information!
A FuturesForum post (titled: "By-pass the internet...fact or fiction?") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 1 February 2012 at 19:29

Anton Musgrave Extended Wi-Fi or the new Li-Fi...a step change either way

With the data tsunami building, connectivity is set to escape bottlenecks in transmission capability with these new ideas. The impacts will spur further development and use and the overall impact will drive new step changes in how we use and come to rely ever more on data transmission.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Extended Wi-Fi or the new Li-Fi...a step change either way") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 4 March 2012 at 09:08

Anton Musgrave Data Challenges

As we move into a data tsunami of epic proportions - think of every thing ever made having its own data transmitting sensors embedded into its structure - how we think about, understand and sue data will undergo profound changes. And then add the concept of crowd-scourcing, social media and game theory to the mix and its starts to get exciting indeed.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Data Challenges") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 26 March 2012 at 22:24

Wolfgang Grulke War in the Clouds

Google has signalled another dimension to its drive to connect all the world's information - this time it's a broadside at Dropbox with its new 'Drive' offering. If you're already using Google Play to access "all the world's books", storing your Picasa pictures and YouTube videos in the Google Cloud then the next step to put your complete hard drive there will be an easy one.

Interesting to see how long companies like Dropbox will be able to hold out against Google's far more integrated offerings. Watch this space.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "War in the Clouds") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 25 April 2012 at 10:36

Anton Musgrave Data World is where it is all happening

Smart machines, smart data sensors and an explosion of data points will create massive new opportunities for those alert to the opportunities...and swamp everyone else in the data deluge. New innovation will either be enhanced by these new smart insights or it will be slowed down by 'filter failure' and the over whelming amount of information available to us. The data world is about to undergo a huge step change!
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Data World is where it is all happening") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 10 September 2012 at 10:24

Anton Musgrave The Next Black Swan?

As our reliance on data, Apps, solutions and the Cloud increases exponentially every month, the worst nightmare may just be something we do to ourselves...and the unintended consequences will be dramatic! In the connected world, let no super power think it can fire off this rocket and avoid massive home side damage.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "The Next Black Swan?") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 25 October 2012 at 16:23

Bart De Hertogh The Next Black Swan?

Don't you think the Black Swan is right in front of us ? People are becoming "App-ed" ...assisted, relying on the net, social media, likes and make decisions. Where do I go ? Lets ask my GPS... Where will I stay ? Lets ask strangers their opinion... . But next time you find yourself in a forest (no connection...yet) and stumble on a rabbit, and run away afraid because you're not sure if this wild animal will attack you... . Fervent user of technology myself, I never the less do this strange thing of actually walking down one floor in the office and go and talk (real talk, with lips moving and sound coming out of my mouth) to a colleague...instead of telephoning, chatting or mailing.
Posted: 25 October 2012 at 20:26

Anton Musgrave Remember the floppy drive? Now its about your DNS Storage device!

Most of today's consumers and technology users don't even remember the floppy drive. In a few years even the 64gig USB drive will be long forgotten we we use DNA to store our data...or at least that which is not stored in the DNA cloud servers! Will Sandisk evolve or will Roche Data Services be the winner of the data storage future? DAN can store data for thousands of years at one petabyte of data per gram...out with Moore's Law on this one and in with infinite scalability! The future will never be the same.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Remember the floppy drive? Now its about your DNS Storage device!") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 29 January 2013 at 09:27

Wolfgang Grulke Remember the floppy drive? Now its about y...

DNS, DAN, DNA? It's all too much...bring back the floppy! ;)
Posted: 29 January 2013 at 10:46

Anton Musgrave Remember the floppy drive? Now its about your DNA Storage device!

What's in an acronym? 'DNS'...Dare Not Shift...DAN...Do Adapt Now! But lets keep it simple and stick with deoxyribonucleic acid?
Posted: 29 January 2013 at 16:14

Doug Vining Remember the floppy drive? Now its about your DNA Storage device!

DNA, RNA, it's all geek to me!
Posted: 29 January 2013 at 17:21

Anton Musgrave Can Elephants Dance?

IBM has consistently reinvented itself over many years but can it continue to remain relevant? In this fascinating story it seems to have lost to an unexpected its own core business area...the Cloud and data security! Amazon has won a major CIA contract, beating long standing industry heavyweights! Can the yesterday's winners stay relevant in this new world?
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Can Elephants Dance?") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 30 May 2014 at 21:13

Anton Musgrave Internet of Things changes everything!

A fully connected world is different to anything we know today, and every business will need to think of the impacts and opportunities. New ideas and opportunities will abound and big social, moral, legal and other questions will arise and create space for the slow movers to get with the program. Maybe!
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Internet of Things changes everything!") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 30 July 2014 at 09:42

Anton Musgrave Moores Law on steroids?

Many suggest that Moores Law may be nearing its end, and the rate of technological change and hence disruption is coming to a welcome end. However others believe the journey is just starting! Best one buckles up then as the ability to store, manipulate and work with data at atomic level suggests that the rate of tech advancement is a long way from slowing down!
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Moores Law on steroids?") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 23 July 2016 at 09:36
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