Up in the air

01/01/2014 //

Google Chromebooks apparently did decent business during the holidays, and I can definitely see the appeal; after all, you can do a lot in the browser these days, and most PCs will probably be thin clients before the decade is over. It’ll be interesting to see if Chrome OS will be powering cell phones and tablets, but I suspect it will, and sooner rather than later.

I keep coming over more and more online apps like the WriteRoom ripoff, er, homage Writebox, and the more feature-heavy markdown editor StackEdit, that work in most browsers and on desktop and mobile clients. Google Docs (or possibly Drive) is already great if you don’t need all of Office’s bells and whistles, and Apple’s own iWork suite will probably be pretty nifty soon too.

Beyond the simple stuff, though, photo editing still sucks, and for this reason alone, I will be using a “proper” desktop for quite a while yet. As a designer, I do extensive and heavy image editing on a daily basis, and the sort of power I need simply can’t be provided by a browser application yet, no matter what web evangelicals say. Still, the idea of having all my stuff in one place is tempting.

The instant update and always being on the cutting edge has an undeniable appeal, but you don’t have to be a conspiracy fanatic to feel some unease about all your stuff being stored in someone else’s house. My document folder is as dull as it gets, and I still get creeped out by the thought of someone going through it.

Of course, convenience will – as it usually does – win the day. And the same people who made fortunes in the previous decade by telling us to share everything have started new companies and will make even larger fortunes in the coming decade by telling us not to do what they told us to in the first place.