Bill Gates has long spoken of Information at your Fingertips; Suns Scott McNealy has argued that the Network is the Computer and Ciscos John Chambers has argued for anytime, anywhere, any task accessibility to systems. These are variations on the 7 “A”s theme – Authorized Access to Anyone Anywhere Anytime on Any Authenticated device.
The 7″A”s are the new Holy Grail of IT as Isolated Islands of Information and Proprietary Application Stacks fall to the onslaught of BI, Open Source, XML, Web Services, and an ever more pervasive set of highly adaptive Net Utilities. But the 7″A”s present technical problems, market conflicts/contentions, and design trade-offs that suggest the new IT Holy Grail may be a Quixotean endeavour – the opposing forces are line upped such that despite the desirable goal, conflicting interests will see the 7 “A”s delivered as maybe 4 and 3/4 quarters “A”s for quite some time to come.
Dan Bricklin, who was a founder of Slate Corp, provides a somewhat melancholy look back twelve years ago to the world of pen and tablet computing and hints at how some very good ideas and technologies got waylaid – such that nothing much happened in PC Pen computing for at least ten years.
Meanwhile Ziff Davis Steve Gillmor did an interview with Suns new President, Jonathan Schwartz. Jonathan revealed some strong views on anywhere UIs:
“…users are going to want to have access to the latest and greatest information at whatever device to which they have authenticated … [however] the browser has proven itself to be a particularly poor interaction model on a mobile handset, an even poorer one on a set top box, and I can guarantee you it will be absolutely horrible on an automobile dashboard or seat back. That implies that were going to have to get cleverer about ways of delivering information to the diversity of devices attached to the network. “