Always On, Always Connected, Always Available

[Sorry for the overuse of quoted words and phrases in thefollowing entry, however it is used where text is conceptually, butnot literally, true]

For my blogging software I chose Radio Userland. While it uses aweb interface to create and edit entries, practically it’s afat client application – I have the pseudo-service running,indicating its presence in my system tray, and I only ever modifyentries “on” this one PC. Radio has its own database, and itstreams static updates via the local service to the FTP server atmy web host whenever I change content.

Leaf - Lowville Park

Pretty straightforward, and it works admirably for myneeds.

One of the hesitations I had going this route, however, was thatit would limit my portability – many of the hosted tools allow youto author and edit online against remote services running in somelarge datacenter, from any browser, from anywhere. Of course Icould sort-of gain the physical “from anywhere”advantage by installing Radio on a laptop and bringing thelaptop with me wherever I went. While that would also give me theability to work offline (something many of the hosted servicesdon’t allow), it still wouldn’t help me when working on foreignPCs.

So basically I had to choose between the always available hostedthin-client route, or the isolated thick-client route. Right?

Of course it’s never that simple.

Through the magic of VPN and Remote Desktop, I can access thisdesktop through appropriate “thin clients” throughout the world(appropriate simply meaning “running Windows”. Actually, given thatthere are L2TP and RDPclients for other platforms, pretty much anymodern system can act as a “thin client” to this “web service”of sorts, but the easiest and most straightforward are WindowsPCs). As my home is connected via an always on, very reliable,credibly high speed wired connection, like millions of othersnowadays, it’s virtually always accessible. Just as accessible asWordpress or Moveable Type, in fact.

Well that’s only partially true – many locations, sometimeseven including coffee shop hotspots, limit you to HTTP(S),presuming that everything that you’d ever want in the world shouldbe available over that protocol. This is obviously a hindrance toVPNing to a remote PC, and it’s pretty much the onlydifferentiation between my home “server” and the hosted blogservices. Even that is fairly easily surmountable problemhowever.

I only mention this because many people still have aconsciousness gap about the advantages that an always on, highspeed connection brings. It really is a great equalizer. I canaccess and update my blog virtually anywhere (though thus far I’veonly ever really used remote connectivity to hit publish on analready created entry when I needed to stagger output a bit – Ijust find home a comfortable place to author entries)

Aside: I mentionedpreviously that I envision RDP, or somethingsimilar, becoming a potential widely-used thin client protocolfor “web” services (services from the human perspective rather thanthe W3C perspective). It would be interesting to see what sort ofaccessible tools someone like Google could create with such amalleable and fine grained interface technology.