04/22/2009, 11:51 AM
There's been a lot of talk about using "the cloud" vs local syncing. I've given some thought to it, but it's not been an overwhelming issue for me. I've used one form of Palm handheld or another for over 11 years now, and made the gradual evolution from purely Palm desktop, to Intellisync (the local sync version), to Novell PDA connect (I use GroupWise), and finally to GroupWise Mobile Server (an OEM product from Intellisync that pushes GroupWise email to my Treo). As I moved more and more to "over the air" synchronization, desktop synchronization became less important to me. Between doing things directly on the Palm, and using the data in GroupWise, I eventually got to the point that I seldom did any synchronization, usually only to ensure I had a good backup (and having a backup to card even minimized that).
Now it looks like I may have to start that evolutionary process again. I don't find that particularly troublsome - I believe the systems will be there. They may be something we've not seen before, but we're going to see a lot of "never seen before" stuff with the Pre, so I don't find that problematic.
Earlier today, in another thread, I saw something though that intrigued me. There was an article "The Case Against Cloud Computing". I found the article of interest, though I don't believe it applies 100% to the Pre, since (from my understanding), the contact information will be cached on the Pre, so it will be available even if the network is not.
However, one part of the article particularly caught my eye - He said Consumers may be getting more comfortable with putting their pictures online or even banking online, but I'm convinced that the need for personal servers, storage, and localized computing in consumer markets will be here for some time. (My emphasis added).
I'm a computer network engineer by trade, and have been for many years. I have always had servers around the house, so "personal server" is not a big deal to me. Even for users that don't have that level of need, the current crop of more powerful personal computers makes it easy to run AMP (Apache MySQL PHP) or even (sigh...) IIS on a users personal computer.
That brings up what I see as a decent compromise for the "how do I do a desktop sync" folks. Surely some developer somewhere can come up with a drop in for AMP (maybe using Joomla or some other prepackaged system) and/or IIS that will fill the void. I could easily envision a backend system that would run on a PC, be accessible via WiFi and/or to a publicly exposed IP address, that would handle all of the contact information, possibly even memos and other traditional Palm type programs/data. The WebOS piece (in my vision) would read the cached information, and any other things that need to be synced (possible add-ons?), and send it to the personal server.
Call me a dreamer, but I think this would be an oustanding way to fill the need for synchronization, and do it using the WebOS.