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Am I just Paranoid?


So here I sit, trying to solve a problem that occurs daily now that I have two little nuggets (nieces) living with me as of last week. In the past it was a rare occurrence, now it’s daily. They come home from school and ask to play on my laptops. One is an HP Pavilion Entertainment Consumer addition (personal laptop) and one is a Dell standard laptop that I use for consulting. Routinely the little people use them now to play online games from pbskids.org and some lame Barbie game the link I refuse to look up that allows them to decorate and dress, etc.   So basically in the last two weeks I have had tons of fun updating my anti virus. McAfee and Norton must be making a killing on this scenario. 

Then I see the add on TV for the Dell Netbooks that look like candy, because they are offered in so many different colors and it does not help with them wrapping them up and making them to look like some kind of freaking jolly rancher (which I suck on incessantly, except for the grape flavor because every time my brother visits he steals them all – I KNOW ITS YOU BUBBA!).
So the price listed is only $199.00, I think to myself I spend at least that much on each of the nuggets for Xmas, I must explore this.
So then I start seeing everyone coming out with these things (Dell, HP, Acer, etc), even Microsoft (a software company) announced one which I am sure they will OEM at their company meeting yesterday (#Koolaid on twitter, Thanks @maryjofoley). 
Then it hit me, ALL of the big companies both hardware and software are in on this. They are indoctrinating their future market (our children) to not only accept but to EXPECT virtualization and cloud computing as a fact of life. All of us who have been in IT for more than a few years understand how important End User Acceptance is when deploying ANY kind of new solution into a business production environment. So why not get them at the consumer level, essentially potty train our kids on the concept so that when they do hit the job market they will understand the concept natively? Barrier abolished. These Thin Laptops are basically “Consumer Thin Clients”, pretty much only good for Internet Access (Remote Access) and Printing.
Hardware companies have been trying to figure out how to breach this market for years, and because of SBC they have had some significant success in the business market in the last ten years, but they have always run up against consumer acceptance. People want to know where their personal data is. They want to be able to install their own applications and have the freedom we have come to expect because we grew up with Personal PC’s and later Personal Laptops with hard-drives and the ability to easily add more storage and memory as they evolved. We have also come to expect mobility and the ability to connect to data everywhere; while we still have control of our base OS. Then consider the fact that client hypervisors have entered the picture, with these; even we “The Gray Dogs” will be adopting them, because we will feel like we have a personal OS we can control.
I worked in R&D around Thin Clients and I can tell you it was a regular practice to use them at home as well. Most all of us had several at home (as well at CAT5 in every room and one or two servers, now we of course have gone wireless), and a lot of them were in place to support children who only needed internet access and the ability to print. So we always new there was a use case for them, it was just how should it be presented?
Then we look at the fact the Microsoft released an Embedded version of Windows 7 at the beginning of this month (September 1, 2009, http://bit.ly/36yc5u) for download even for non Thin Client users.
I have a 10 year old niece who has her own cell phone. Mobile devices have been using embedded OS’s for years. Every kid I know can navigate them like gangbusters. Another barrier that is basically blown away, OS dependency. The OS does not matter to these little people, functionality and the ability to text and take pictures and stay in non-stop nauseating contact with their peers are driving them. So then you think of all the noise around Open Source and Linux. Even Microsoft has started a corporate sponsored Linux foundation “CodePlex”. They are clearly not blind to the trend; Linux will evolve into a BIG PLAYER in the embedded OS for future “Client Access Devices”. Then there is the HP Vivienne Tam digital clutch, HP is now working with fashion designers to make “client access devices” that are couture. Which tweaks my paranoia button and I believe it speaks to the point of this article.
With companies like Citrix (HDX), VMWare (PCoverIP), HP (RGS) and even Wyse (TCX) working frantically to solve multi media and working with other companies to come up with Virtual GPU functionality, it just comes across to me as a brilliant and dare I say cunning marketing agenda to get end user acceptance testing done before their customer even steps into the workplace. What does this mean for the buzz words of the day “Virtualization” or the buzz word that created the trend ten years ago ASP’s and has evolved and been usurped by “Cloud”? It means Manufactures have found a way to create a consumer market today and tomorrow that will keep not only them but us as engineers in business for years to come. I love it!
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