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In the beginning, there was the X

The convergence/mobility challenge is all the hype today but in fact it isn’t new. It was solved some two decades ago by the same people using the same technologies. We’re cheating!

in the times of old there was something called the mainframe (featured in a number of scifi movies) which was basically a fairly large computer in a lot ocasions running some sort of unix flavour os. In those cases most likely there were some much more graphical but much less powerfull workstations, also running some sort of unix system, which had the X-Window system. On that a lucky person could run locally a graphical fat email client (email was new then so people would actually say Email) to read his email stored on the mainframe in full graphical glory. Or what passed for full graphical glory back then.

If the guy wasn’t important enough to have his own workstation he might have access to a X terminal which was basically what now is called a thin client. This things booted from network and displayed on their local X-Windows server graphical apps coming from a computer somewhere in the network (as opposed to running a vnc or rdp session, the X protocol is totally network enabled so the apps were literally running somewhere and coming across the network). Fundamentally the experience was the same as running the app locally on a workstation except more slugish cause gigabit ethernet isn’t a thing of the past. A X term was somewhat expensive so it was hot desked (see, another this-century paradigm right there!) and it was hot desked cause it could be.

Then again, our joe user might find itself away from its trusty workstation or locked out of the X term room so he could just cruise down to one of the glass teletype rooms and catch up on his email and do some actual work on a text terminal linked up somehow to his mainframe. It wasn’t as confy as his workstation but it would get the job done.

Away from office, if he was lucky enough to be on the internet, he could even telnet into the mainframe from another interneted machine have all his data at his finger tips.

So people could actually access their data and work on a number of devices across campus and even off campus using the new exciting internet protocol (yes yes, decnet, x.25, all that too). Their were both converged and mobile. So when did this go wrong ?


/tech | edited on 2008/02/27 -- permalink, click to comment

Verizon Says You Can Port From Sprint, Build Your Own Phone

Yes, this is what passes as cuting edge in the US mobile market. Yes, you can actually use non Verizon CDMA handsets on Verizon. :)

/mobile | edited on 2008/02/26 -- permalink, click to comment
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