Remote desktops is a possibility, but the real loss that will stem from the tide of cloud computing is the atrophy of the personal computer down to a set top box whose usage is supported by ads. An iPad or iPhone is an apt example - when the personal computer no longer exists, where will an end-user's freedom to explore go?
The Tinkerer's Sunset is a good example of what bothers me about the current widespread embrace of cloud computing.
It takes Microsoft Excel approximately 1.5 seconds to load on a moderately old PC running Windows XP; this with many more features available to it...
The only reason this stuff is so popular now is because people won't pay $99.99 for a MS Office license anymore so instead MS/Google are writing server-side adware to try and get the $99 from advertisers over a couple of years.
Ah... no. That's the reason that they're doing it, not the reason that it's popular. The reason that it's popular is that it's useful and free (again, if you don't want to pay for the ad-free version).
That was an odd way of agreeing with him.
Hear hear! That's basically the upshot yes. You're foisting your personal documents onto a public server, you're allowing a company to index it and show you ads based on the resulting content you save/create, and people do it because they know only that they dislike Microsoft and don't want to pay money for goods and services.
It'll be interesting to see the advertising bubble burst when everyone realises those little sidebar ads don't generate nearly enough revenue in the real world.
The day web based applications overtake desktop applications is the day the web browser weighs in at over a gigabyte in size, accounting for all the API's and associated background services that will be required to deliver them.
This is just another attempt at offering 'software as a service', rental software which is something slashdotters moaned loudly about when Microsoft promoted the concept in the early 2000's. Now that Google is planning on it, it's being hailed as heroism.
Windows 7 preserves almost all the metaphors and usage traits people are used to from XP, and introduces new convenience features. I think a transition to Windows 7 from XP would be a much smoother process than an introduction to a new platform.
Is there a good reason to switch the family to Linux, other than for ideological reasons?
The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.