Me, myself and my data

03 Oct 2006 » permalink

Oh. It’s been a long time…

I quite recently moved to Finland and joined the OSSO desktop team at Nokia as an open source GUI specialist. There is something about Helsinki that reminds me of Twin Peaks, but overally it’s a great place to live. It’s good to be close to the open sea. I'm really waiting now for the true Finnish winter with some real reindeers.

There are a lot of interesting things happening now in the Maemo world. Carlos is pushing Sardine forward, which is becoming more and more robust. Sardine is an open window to our development process happening here, at OSSO. It contains the latest versions/trunk of all the desktop components (hildon application framework). Since some time it’s possible to dual-boot your Nokia 770 from the MMC card, so you can play with Sardine without breaking your stable IT software release. Nice.

One small project we’re running with Toumas and Marius is targeted at allowing the Sardine/Maemo community to contribute and develop artwork in an easy way. Quite possibly large bits of it will be pretty useful for the Gnome desktop as a whole.

I also had a nice beer chat with Henri about living in a post data-centralized world. The amount of information we’re generating grows in an exponential way. Fast. Things were much simpler just a while back — usually a typical user had just one machine, which was a “central storage” for all his data. All of the current desktop/UI metaphors are based on this paradigm, which is no longer valid. Nowadays, we’re starting to deal on a daily basis with more and more devices that generate data (photo cameras, pda’s, tablets, laptops) and an equal number of places where we want to access that data. And that’s extremely hard to achieve.

Everybody who happens to own a few gadgets knows how hard it’s to synchronize them. It’s fairly easy to find yourself spending more time thinking about the stuff than actually using it. It’s a Babylon tower.

In example, just think about the multimedia cards — mmc, sd, mini-sd, micro-sd, memory stick, memory stick duo, flash, compact flash… does anybody really care, if memorystick is X-times faster than SD? When is the last time you had actually pulled-out the card out of your device and used it elsewhere? Or — had given it to sombody, as you'd give a CD in the past?

Now, I'm pretty sure that the next revolution is not going to be about operating systems, programming languages or desktop environments. It’s going to be about allowing the user to master his data. And yes, the lazy solutions usually win. Even if technologically inferior.