[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 29 October 2003]
I couldn’t agree more with him. These days it just seems so quaint to consider a computer sitting all alone, not networked to anything. Just using your computer as a glorified calculator and typewriter without any communications is such a dreary vision, even though we were all quite happy doing that up till the 80s.
The big ticket item for me these days is my personal data. As I use several machines during the course of a day–at the very least my desktop, my laptop, my Palm, and my iPod, having the information I want readily accessible to me is paramount. This is the reason I went ahead and ponied up the $99 plus tax for another year of .Mac. Not to sound like an Apple shill, but having my contacts, calendars, email, and bookmarks accessible on any Internet-connected computer is a huge win. And not just accessible, but accessible in a handy format. With .Mac, I can sync my machines so they all have the same data and access the data in applications that make it easy. So I have my contacts in Addressbook, my email in Mail.app, my bookmarks in Safari, etc.
Before .Mac, when I spent my days in Windows 2K, I used Yahoo! for the same purposes, and really liked it. Apart from the bookmark syncing, which just wasn’t there. And .Mac upped the ante with photo albums, distributed screen savers, and iDisk.
It seems to me like data synchronization across devices and machines could be the next great Open Source killer app. Especially since .Mac is mostly built on top of Open Source technologies.
One thing I’d really like to see from Apple is for them to open up iSync to other developers. My big pain point right now is NetNewsWire’s feed list. If there were a way for NNW to use the iSync mechanism, I’d be in data heaven right now.