This is of course willful misinterpretation on the emerging consensus on network virtualisation, desktop virtualisation etc..
I was quite intrigued by an article on Telecom Live about Virtualisation where the authors went on to describe the benefits of the different virtualisation options available. As I read through it, I realised that the article gave a indication to an unsaid but desperate need that I and I'm sure, millions of others must have.
As a corporate cog, and a traveling cog at that, my shoulders have borne the brunt of my career choice. I'm sure my backpack wasn't ever this big when I was doing my 12th. While I've reconciled myself to working with a different set of people every two months, my constant fond companion has been my lemon of a laptop. Its familiar screen and its rather worn-down keyboard (with a few holes where favourite keys used to be) give me a sense of connection to the mother workplace. Its fount of information stored in a wondrous folder system designed by me to retrieve my information a few seconds after I needed it but just in time to give me a feel of espirit d'escalier, is reminiscent of the school playground after school bags got involved in minor and major skirmishes.
Ask me if I'd ever do away with this automaton that is nevertheless human... you betcha skinny bottom.
The article gave me an idea that definitely requires screaming from the top of rooftops but from which those software and hardware architects will flinch.
I scream for a Virtualised Laptop.... Huh?
I wanna carry a nifty little thingamajig that I can plug into the USB of any computer anywhere (ok maybe not the ones we donated a decade back to the local municipal school in Angola) and I want to recreate my Laptop/desktop right there. The sickeningly cute pic of the pet dog as the wallpaper, the infinite pdfs of articles I wanted to ingest but seem to have taken residence on the desktop never to leave, the movies I can watch when no one can look over my shoulders, my browser favourites, the recipes and holiday destination websites; oh yeah the research and quizillion word, pdf, xls, ppt and various other denominations of workplace repression... every thing. Every thing all at the insertion of a jazzy little stick the size of my cigarette pack or lesser into the "host".
I wanna wanna wanna (to the tune of feet being stamped vigorously) (and with all due respect to photo of USB device manf by kensington)
As of now a virtual workplace/desktop idea is that of a remote access on a powered on computer connected to network with internet connectivity that is accessed over a "broadband" connection which gives me a cute lag effect... I click the mouse and the word doc opens after my 5'o'clock stubble has become the 9'o'clock one.
I know what you engineers and architects are thinking...
Yeah I agree that you'll have to work on a few million interfaces, look at a billion security issues, interoperability and portability issues with OSes, networks, hardware and software platforms and work with a whole new branch of science to make those little sticks have skinnable surfaces of pokemon, lara dutta and british premier league logos. And there will probably be another one of those organisations rubbing shoulders with ICANN, ISO, CMM-SEI, IEEE etc. dictating to you what you do is nice and what isn't.
You'll obviously have to dictate a set of minimum requirements on comps that can do workplace virtualisation and also dictate "recommended" requirements. You'll also have to define what can be virtualised, how and to where... will it be my USB stick, will it be my phone with USB connectivity and also bluetooth, infra-red, gprs, edge, HDSPA, dooby doo and scooby doo, will it be some kind of a local copy that uploads itself to my company's or personal or of course the inevitable free google workplace virtualisation servers and then deletes itself on the host? (oh yeah, you're gonna have fun with your project managers on this :D)
Of course you can do all that and more... kids will have their own virtualised playplaces ... NFS 27, Grand Theft Intergalactica (with minimally dressed daleks with their super-modular interfaces uncovered!!), access to hacker networks to break into Guantanamo bay torture chamber cams all preconfigured!!
In fact imagine the next step... except for hardcore gamers, professionals and specialists like designers, video-editors, cad-cam operators etc.. the rest of us actually do not need anything more than a "minimum/recommended" personal computer. In fact for a user like me, I can do away with the burden of multiple licenses for OSes, office software for multiple computers and move to a personal license instead of a per-computer license. I'd also be free from a keeping-up-with-balasubramaniam effect that requires me to upgrade my GeForce card every 3 months and can move that money to my movie collection, better headphones (OK marketing guys won't be happy to hear that :D... but you can still sell me bigger and better and faster virtualisation devices eh?). That would mean that corporates would buy the recommended computers with far more abandon without going through complex IT recommendations and so would normal people without fear of having to keep up with balasubramaniam.