On The Radar, Spring ’09

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Here are a few technologies and trends I am following this season

The Real-time Web

The idea is simple enough: social networks provide up-to-the-second feeds of their user’s posts. No longer do you have to wait for a major news source to cover an event, simply follow the right hash tag on Twitter. Or, check out Facebook’s new homepage that will display your friends’ activities in real time. For more examples of this trend, check out this ReadWriteWeb article.

Why is this on the radar? Imaging knowing in real time the events of your home town half a world away. Or getting the opinions from a hundred different people on news from a minute ago. It’s omniscience, 2.0.

Online Storage (aka. The Cloud)

Some of us have multiple computers and an array of WiFi-capable portable devices — e.g. cell phones, PDA’s, netbooks. However, our files are restricted to a single device. A document on your home PC must be transfered to each device you own and synchronized when a change is made, so that you don’t have to think of where it is located. With online storage, however, the rules change. Services like Google Docs and Apple’s Mobile Me allow you to save your documents to remote servers then synchronize them to your every compatible device. No longer is the PC the center of your information. Instead, your files are accessible wherever an internet connection is present. It’s a wonderful system unless the storage service goes down (see Yahoo Briefcase).

Why is this on the radar? Data is no longer attached to a single device, instead it follows you, provided there is an internet connection. Save the USB keys/dongles for those trips to the cabin.

The Palm Pre

Palm’s daring challenge to the ubiquitous iPhone is a wonder for us web developers. Every application on the Pre uses the same technologies that websites have been using for years: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. What’s more, this commonality promises to blur the line between local, or device, software and web services. For instance, when a new version of an installed application is released, the latter will transparently upgrade itself. Another service may silently back-up your Pre’s files in case you lose it or wish to access the data from another device (see previous point).

Why is this on the radar? If anyone can compete with the iPhone, it has to be the PDA king, Palm. That and did I mention the apps run on HTML and JavaScript? V. Cool.

What technologies are on your radar?

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