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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chrome OS Netbook is a Throw Back to Mainframes

I was in high school back in the early 80s when personal computers first came out. I knew what a mainframe was and even got to tour the Credit Union Central facility in Regina and see their mainframe set up. The computers hooked to the mainframe were called "dummy" terminals. The terminal did not do much but allow you to enter commands and send them to the mainframe. All of software and data resided on the mainframe.

I have been reflecting on the Google Chrome OS netbook that was announced recently. It runs apps and is more powerful than a dummy terminal but operates on the same principle as a mainframe. All of your data is stored on a server in the clouds. Very much like in the days of the mainframe.

Google seems to have gone back in time and taken the mainframe idea and applied it to todays computers. Google has figured out that what most people want is a cheap computer that allows them to surf the net and access their data anywhere and anytime. How do you achieve this model? Store everything on a server and only access what you need when you want it.

I have to chuckle that we have come full circle. The personal computer allowed us to unchain ourselves from the mainframe mentality. However, it appears that the most cost effective way of computing is the centralized server with a bunch of "dummy" terminals connected to it.

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