I know. It’s shocking. Especially for me considering that I personally lost around $50 million saying “computers and Microsoft don’t matter anymore” 10 years ago (building Einsteinet a wonderful adventure but my only start up, out of 7, in which I lost all money invested for being way to early with cloud computing).

But finally, now, I can say it: computers and Microsoft really don’t matter anymore. At least they don’t at work and not for me. This is my experience. At Fon I use a second hand computer, an old Compaq nx6310 that they were going to throw away. It’s value now is probably around $100. I use it with Jolicloud because I like the social aspect of this distro, but I could be running Ubuntu, or Debian, or any Linux. Linux flavors also matter little because almost everything I do happens at Chromium, the open source version of Chrome which for all intents and purposes is like Chrome.

Right now in Chromium I have the following tabs opened: I listen to music in Grooveshark (yes I work with music right now Kevin Rudolf “Let it Rock”), I blog in Tumblr, I have Seesmic desktop to see what’s happening in Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, I use Postbox for my email (I love Postbox), Netvibes to find out what is happening in the world (outside of Twitter and Facebook), Gmail is open as well for Gmail back up, calendar. My searches don’t happen at Google.com anymore, they go straight from my browser bar to Google (Firefox must add this feature immediately!). Skype is also running. And of course my old Compaq is connected to a Fonera that gives me WiFi.

What’s important here is that nothing that happens in my computer at work stays at my computer at work. Should it fatally crash another computer would be up doing the same work in minutes. For file saving I use Dropbox. But frankly I almost have nothing on Dropbox since Gmail backs up all my mail and Gmail is my Dropbox. I pay for extra storage in Gmail.

Could I do the same at home? Not really. At home I have all my heavy duty photography in RAW files, the HD videos, games, tons of music, all my digital life which occupies around 1.5TB and no service yet stores it for anything that can compete with my two 2TB drives. So at home I am not ready to give up all to the cloud. I know that soon with services like Spotify and Netflix (when they get all the rights) I will stop downloading (downloading is legal in Spain) and storing movies and music and other than the content I produce, like photography and video, I will also be able to replace my Mac.

But at work, well I have all I need in this old Compaq running Linux and storing everything in the cloud.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Javier Martín on September 13, 2010  · 

All the above is true, but there is a small detail that is important for me and that links to other articles of yours: connectivity. I know that things are improving, but I still find heavy problems of connectivity even inside Madrid, not to mention when you are travelling, even more when travelling to countries where connectivity is still a real issue.
You still cannot trust that you fill find a hotspot wherever you are, and mobile roaming connections are outrageously expensive.
In these conditions, if I want to keep my work productivity I need to be conservative and keep a local copy of all my stuff, which implies having a solid laptop, running a solid OS which in turns might imply having some kind of windows stuff might it be real or virtualised. So I end up with a computer having tons MB to store and some 4MB of RAM 😉
Right now, I do not see how to avoid having a complete computer with you even if you have a cloud-based one.
Best regards

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Fernando Gutierrez on September 21, 2010  · 

Martín, I’m using Firefox 4 Beta 6 and it already has search in the url bar. I agree with you, it’s a must. It’s also very fast when loading (until this beta I was using Chrome more because of the time it took FF to load).

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