Web 2.0 – the new internet & the birth of ubiquitous computing..

Don’t t know if you have seen or felt it as yet – the internet/www – as we knew it is changing around us in ways that we – no one I am certain – ever thought were possible. But then again that is like a given – with the internet and the world wide web – we are / were charting unchartered territory – every turn and whim and fancy was gonna be new and mindboggling as it has indeed been.
The new kind of web experience is simulating the computer as if it were on the internet – like you may have seen with this site (MSN Spaces) where you could load pictures off your hard drive – even though the whole process was being done off a server – probably in distant Milipitas, CA?!!
All this is due to something called Ajax – no –  not the football team but Asynchronous Javascript and XML – wow – an acronym within another!! XML is extensible markup language – it is to HTML – what multipoint fuel injection was to the internal combustion engine (to marry a matepahor – rather severely!) The W3C (world wide web consortium) describes XML as ‘…..Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere…..’
In simpler words – this is the ability to publish anything, anyplace, anywhere ….stuff that caused blogs to happen! This is when simple internet browsers become the damn computer in itself! Imagine you were in hotmail and could drag and drop mails – well they have been doing that in beta for over 2 month now at Seattle! If you want to get a really easy & cool  experience of this right now try the newest search engine in town – snap.com – watch the way it provides a snapshot (preview) of every web link that it turns up as a part of its search results. Guess where that could go… whoa man!
The way to the future and to break the hegemony of computer makers is through a solution where everything is on the internet – on a world wide web of servers and machines that stores all data that a man or woman may ever need – except that it is no longer on a computer – but at a place so embedded that it may be recalled from any digital & connected device – even as ubiquitous as a mobile phone ? A digital spiritus mundi then?!! HG Wells envisaged something of this sort as futurists must – and called it the ‘world brain’! The objective off course is somehow to break the Turing test (proposed by Alan Turing to test artificial intelligence)  to actually create a machine that thinks! A search engine giant from  Mountain View CA;  is actually trying to do this right now in their labs – the way they see it is that they even have the last mile by running broadband wire less (Wimax) ISPs at city locations across the US.
when I was younger and the world was a nicer place to live in (or so I believe) there were two kinds of computer people – one who swore that the only thing in the world is UNIX – an arcane computer operating system built by an American university and AT & T ‘ Bell Labs (when they really were Ma Bell – as oppossed to now when they are a cell phone co.!) and then there were the  rest who had Windows ! The thing was there always were more people with Windows than with Unix.  Today the argument I feel is over and even the geeks will accept that if not Windows – then maybe Tiger OS 10 – or worst case – a Linux running on Intel! And if the hardware is the same – then all that the OS is doing is essentially renditioning/emulating how a PC (IBM type) works?
Today that discussion has passed its fray and if at all there are but a few people who were involved in throwing pie at Bill Gates then who would probably think today that there be many more worse that he! The devolution of the computer started quite some time back in the early 21st century with the first – I think recorded (commercially succesful) shot being fired by Marc Benioff an old hand at Oracle who founded the world’s arguably first software for hire co. with the web based CRM (customer relationship management) & SFA (sales force automation) tool called salesforce.com.
Why then they argue must one buy software if one could just as well lease it? Pay per use for the bits that you use. Such were the ways of disruptive technology that I recall one of the gurus in the hey day did bemoan in a well writ tome – ‘Only The Paranoid Survive’.  Today that demise has actually taken the shape of the birth of a many more class of devices and options to access – what an IT HW & SW maker  once argued – ‘…the network that is the computer!…’

About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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