We always rush for faster computers. I currently own and use a fantastic ThinkPad X220, and I recall the days of the good old ThinkPad T42 which had turned quite slow after some years.
I remember I read, once upon a time, an article by a guy claiming that he had switched from using a heavy Macbook Pro 15″ to a thin&light iPad, using a bluetooth keyboard and attaching it to the external screen on the workplace, and using an ssh client to tap into his own virtual private server (hosted on Linode.com). He was capable of doing his coding job without major problems, and without carrying a heavy laptop and/or important data. All the data was stored in the virtual private server’s disks up in the cloud.
It’s a fascinating idea, actually. And can be further expanded.
Technologies like NX could be used to do this sort experiments. I have a symmetric, optical phiber-base 10 MBit up/down link in Milan, provided by Fastweb.
That should allow me to use a remote desktop flawlessly, I could use some older-technology laptop to use the remote desktop (i’m thinking of a ThinkPad T42/T42 with 1600×1200 UXGA+ screen) and rely on enterprise-class bandwidth (most datacenters provide at least 100 megabit internet connection) and enterprise-class processors (think of Xeon-like quad-core processor — my linode box has a 8-core Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2670 0 @ 2.60GHz, not bad!).
That would actually be shift in the sense in computing from owning to renting.
Rent is not always the better choice, but renting a high-end computer capabilities has some major advantages over owning my own one:
Of course it also has disadvantages, the main one I could think of it not having all your data ready for use or having your machine unavailable in case of network outage.
For the first one, well, I’d use a low-end laptop or a tablet just in case. After all, when you’re not working, the main use of a core i5-powered computer is listening to mp3 files, watching movies and checking facebook, all things feasible with a tablet (note that tablet computer can be hooked to full-sized monitors nowdays).
For the second one… Well, being cut off the Internet sucks anyway, right ?
These are just ideas and thoughts… It would be nice to play with this things.