Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

I started last month writing quite a bit about living my life in the cloud with my new MacBook Air. I’m now even further into this experiment and I show little sign of turning back. There are a few things that continue to confound me — when I travel, for example, I take a ton of pictures and don’t want to dump them to the Air, but I have little other choice. I hate the idea of having multiple digital versions of the pictures … this seems like a silly thing, but trying to go completely into the cloud isn’t going to work for me. Keynote presentations are a whole other issue, but let’s just say I need to have at least a half dozen or more stacks so I can assemble presentations to fit the audience. And no, Google Presenter isn’t going to work (yet). So I guess at this point I can’t say I have left all local applications behind, but Microsoft Office is no longer part of my routine.

What really prompted this post is Google’s announcement of their Chrome open source browser project. What I find interesting about it is that it really looks like a micro-operating system to me. In other words, it will have built in functionality that will allow it to run web applications at new speeds with layers of protection that are usually reserved for an operating system. I’m no specialist here, but the fact that they are writing their own javascript engine (even though webkit already has one) tells me they want to make working with google web apps feel like working on the desktop. Imagine the Google Applications running in a browser that has its javascript tuned perfectly for performance from the applications … and then add full on Google Gears support and their little browser can now do anything you local app sitting on the OS can do.

If Chrome is successful, I imagine we’ll see new breeds of devices that can take advantage of the Chrome/Gears combo in new ways. I know I won’t be switching to it for full time browsing, but as my life in the cloud experiment continues I will be exploring it as the alternative for working with my Google Apps. It doesn’t look like a Mac version will be first out of the gate, but when it hits I’ll be ready. Any thoughts on this one?

3 thoughts on “Partly Cloudy

  1. Cole,

    Might I recommend (for now) a wonderful little open source utility I’ve been using called Fluid (http://fluidapp.com/). It works with OSX Leopard and basically sets up a site-specific browser for any of your favorite Web apps you work and play in. I currently have SSBs set up for Google Docs, Pandora, and Google Reader. The wonderful thing about working with SSBs is that they basically look and work like desktop applications – no need to have the sites open in separate tabs in your main browser, thus potentially interrupting your workflow if you need to restart your browser.

    Fluid doesn’t work exactly like Google Gears – an internet connection is necessary – but it’s a nice solution for non-Google flavored apps. And it is in true keeping with the cloud philosophy.

    Natalie

  2. Natalie,

    Thanks for that one! I’d read about Fluid a while back, but never did anything with it. I now have specific SSBs for Docs, Reader, and my blog Dashboard. So far I am digging how nicely that works for me. I am anxious to try it on the Air and see what having multiple windows open will be like. I am really a “Tabbed Browser” guy, but this has real potential. Thanks!

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