Power to the Browser !

Its a glorious Saturday morning and I’m hanging out at the local coffee shop rattling away at my macbook. Bless the poor soul who once again left his wireless access point unattended and gave me the opportunity to write this post. Coming to think of it, a connection to the web empowers me to do a lot of things lately. If I just go back a few years I remember that re-installing my laptop offered to be a gigantic undertaking. I had to make sure that I had all my applications on there, a copy of all my data ( I ran a W2K server @ home just to have file synchronization) and so on. I remember hating all web applications that one had to use ( dreaded the horrible interface of hotmail and all web-based stuff) Web based applications and services where slow and clumsy.  To that effect my laptop became a slower-working compact version of my desktop. Overloaded with applications one might need, and with data one needed on the road.

browserThese days its a whole new ballgame. All I need is an IP address and there is this amazing choice of applications, services, data and more at my fingertips. These days my laptop is installed with all the programs I might need on the road, but carries almost NO local data at all. Services like Email and Contacts do not require me to sync before I go home, nor do i need to make sure I have the most recent version of document xyz. I check my emails using Gmail and use GoogleDocs for the storage of documents and information that I need when I’m on the road. My calendar and contacts are no longer synced between my laptop and my desktop, they are now all stored on Gmail. Anything that does not fit into a Google Document and needs to be available to me now sits on my linux server at home. Using a nice web interface (Usermin) I can browse through , upload and download, create and manage any documents that I need. And if i want to be fast and snappy I just open up my Cyberduck FTP client and bounce the files around over an SSH connection.If I need to go in deeper into my own network to access for example my Itunes library, I use the VPN endpoint on my router to literally dial in and tunnel whatever i need through my VPN connection. Its no longer required to have any data on my laptop.  And come to think of it . I don’t even need my laptop anymore at all ! Most services I use (TVTV.nl to program our PVR, Gmail, the Usermin of my server and LOGMEIN for controlling all of my Windows workstations) don’t even require anything else then a browser. So it does not even matter if I am on my laptop or any machine equipped with a browser. One thing you should make sure of is that you use https connections as much as you can, but for all the "touchy stuff" that is not a problem.

All in all i’m pretty exited at all the possibilities the web offers up these days .. it really is … ‘Power to the Browser".

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