As we covered previously, Dell was trying to trademark the term ‘cloud computer’ and had filed the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application had reached the Notice of Allowance phase where they receive a written notification that a mark has survived the opposition period and that other parties have had a chance to object to the application.
In a ruling posted on the trademark office’s web site on Aug. 12th, they rejected Dell’s application to trademark the term cloud computing, backing away from a final official recognition of Dell’s application.
The trademark office’s findings said, "In addition to being merely descriptive, the applied-for mark appears to be generic in connection with the identified services and, therefore, incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant’s services”. This leaves everyone in the IT field saying, “Well, duh!”
Technological trends may come and go, but every once in awhile they turn out to be more than just temporary fads. Consider that many of today's gamers weren't even born yet in the Atari 2600's heyday, yet 30 years later gaming consoles have become so popular that there exists an entire generation of FPS junkies who actually prefer lining up a headshot with a gamepad instead of using a keyboard and mouse. And speaking of videogames, let's not forget the 3D revolution sparked by the now defunct 3DFX (moment of silence).
More than just fun and games, recognizing lasting fads can prove lucrative for companies and upstarts who ride the hype, but it's not always easy predicting where PCs are headed. If we were to look back 10 years from now, what would we say were most influential technologies of the time? No need to hop into your time machine, because with the help of Gartner Inc., an information technology research and advisory company, we answer that question right now.
Hit the jump to see which of today's technologies are at the pinnacle of their hype cycle.
It’s hard to imagine Windows, or some other rich operating system not being at the center of my digital word. But then again, 10 years ago it was hard to imagine having a digital world at all. Intense speculation over the future cloud computing and the explosion of platform agnostic web applications has lead Microsoft to officially kick off the new R&D project, code named Midori. Midori would be a cut back operating system that would be capable of keeping up with the pace of rapid innovation in a post Windows world.The biggest shift for Midori would be the move away from operating systems tied to a single PC. By contrast, the Windows platform is traditionally locked down to a particular set of hardware and trying to keep consistency across multiple PC’s or electronic devices is already proving to be a burden. Midori would free users from these shackles and recognizes that users of the future will be increasingly mobile. Midori is widely seen as an ambitious attempt by Microsoft to catch up in the field of virtualization, an emerging trend in the computer industry. Users of the future will want a small, lightweight operating system they can take with them and use as a virtual client. The biggest challenge for Microsoft will be how it would cope financially without Windows. Michael A. Silver, a distinguished analyst at Gartner is quoted as saying “If Windows ends up being less important over time as applications become more OS agnostic where will Microsoft make its money?". Though it has yet to be officially confirmed, rumor has it that Midori will be the successor to Singularity, which is the OS following Windows 7. Though, with predictions this far into the future, I would recommend a consultation with your magic 8 ball before you place any bets.
It is also ensuring that Eee PC users don’t develop insomnia fretting over the machine’s limited storage space. Users can now count upon 20GB of cloud storage space, i.e. internet hard drive space. But Asus will have to insure that the downloads are cheap as many Eee PC users in developing countries do not perceive it as a fun internet gadget but more of a cost-effective computing device.
PC World reports that Dell is trying to trademark the term ‘cloud computing’, which is usually used to describe a type of computing where IT-related capabilities are provided as a service. Basically an application runs somewhere on the ‘cloud’ and you use it as a service. Skype, or peer-to-peer services should come to mind. SETI or Folding@ Home are other examples.
Dell’s application has made it to the Notice of Allowance phase where they receive a written notification that a mark has survived the opposition period and that other parties have had a chance to object to the application. This is just another step along the way to getting the trademark. Dell doesn’t quite have it yet.
I am truly surprised that the big corporations that have been working with cloud computing models haven’t said anything to Dell’s application. Red Hat, Microsoft, Google, and many other players have had interests in cloud computing.
Perhaps we will someday have to come up with a new name for cloud computing, or have to mention Dell and Cloud Computing™ together.
Silicon Valley has played host to innumerable tech startups that promised to be the next Intel or Google only to vanish away without a trace, or an apology for their erroneous claims. Now Tomshardware’s Wolfang Gruener, who claims to have successfully portended Google’s spectacular rise, has placed his bet on Ncomputing to be the next Google.
It isn’t exactly the most perilous punt ever, as Ncomputing is in one of the hottest tech niches of our times, i.e. highly affordable, no-frills computing. No, Ncomputing isn’t building the cheapest netbook or low-cost PC. It is doing things differently by pioneering a viable cloud computing solution for plebeians. Its $70 computing device is like a set-top-box that can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and can share the resources of a full-fledged Windows or Linux PC - using an Ethernet connection - to allow a user to surf the internet, watch media and use other essential applications.
The thought provoking details that will rile up a storm inside any geek worth his bytes are "after the jump".
A few weeks ago, Gigaom’s Stacey Higginbotham speculated that cloud computing would not be trusted by large corporations, but now Intel, Yahoo, and HP are looking to change that perspective. These powerhouse companies will have six data centers available for pre-selected researchers to test new applications with the possibility for more data centers to come.
There are many problems and concerns currently with cloud computing but John Manley, director of HP’s strategic research lab, wants to “create an environment that can begin to answer some of these challenges.” Aside from exploring new applications for cloud computing, the companies will allow researchers to look into how such huge scale computing can be reliable, manageable and secure. Manley believes that, "Anytime you get three companies of that stature looking to advance it, is significant. We consider cloud computing to be the next really big thing and the sky's the limit to the services it will enable over the next ten years."
Intel, Yahoo, and HP will each host one data center while the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the University of Illinois, and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Germany will host the other three.
The guys at CruchGear want to design a web tablet that would cost $200 and they want your help to do it. I’ve always liked the idea of a tablet for doing little things like surfing from the sofa. With netbooks catching on, can a net-tablet be far behind?
They pitch this basic idea; make it as thin as possible, run low end hardware, headphone jack, a built in camera for video, low end speakers, microphone, wifi, USB port, a built in battery, 512 RAM, and a 4Gb solid state hard drive. No keyboard, input is via a touch screen. It will run on some flavor of Linux or BSD.
The extra twist is they want to build a few and then open source the specs so anyone can create and improve on them. I like the idea! You can read about the mock up here, and the article that started it here.
I see it as handy item for browsing the web and reading email, but with it's only interface is a touch screen, don't expect to write a book the size of War and Peace on it.
Just how green can we make a PC? Pretty damn green, although the Cherrypal isn’t very pretty or particularly cheap, although $250 isn’t really bad as far as computers go.
On the technical side it can best be described as the 90 pound weakling. The CPU is a 400 MHz Freescale MPC5121e mobile GT triple-core processor, originally developed to run devices like navigation systems in cars. It has 256 MB DDR2 memory, 4 GB of NAND flash memory which contains a Debian Linux-based operating system and the Firefox web browser. It also sports 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, VGA out, and Audio out. It’s just enough to fulfill its purpose -cloud computing.
Basically it allows you to surf, email, watch YouTube, watch Flash animations, and create documents/spreadsheets. Something that does bother me is the claims that the device is secure, because it accesses the Internet through the Cherrypal Cloud. I don’t like that all my data goes through one company like that. There are also many “what ifs” to be answered on that point.
We’ll have to see how this compares to the netbooks when they are actually shipping, Netbooks after all at least look cool. From the picture the Cherrypal looks like a bar of black soap.
The idea of being able to store and access company data from a remote datacenter may sound splendid for the IT department, but lets not get our heads in the clouds just yet. Cloud computing has made a strong push in the past year with help from Amazon, IBM, and Sun offering virtual servers for remote use, but regardless of the push large corporations just aren’t ready for the switch and Gigaom.com gives you the 10 reasons why.
According to the article, the number one concern companies should have is security. Cloud computing will need to toughen up its defense against information leaks before companies can feel safe with keeping all their sensitive terabyles online. Data leaving company doors would leave it vulnerable to thousands of ambitious hackers constantly trying to sneak their way into corporate information. Proofpoint, the makers of data encryption software, has released a survey reporting that “44% of surveyed companies reported that they investigated an email leak of confidential information in the past 12 months” with the emails coming from their own employees. With companies already having trouble keeping data safe within their own infrastructures, the security fears of someone else keeping all of your information are probably warranted.