Have been thinking of the interface for the New Desktop. Today, when we switch on a computer, we ae shown a desktop with a bunch of icons and then we decide which applications we want to launch. This has been the way things have been done for the past 10+ years. This desktop is based on the underlying notion of files, directories, folders and local storage.
Can we think of a New Desktop for Thin Clients based on using Outlines, Blogs and Syndication? In this new order, the emphasis is on providing a unified view of all that I am reading-thinking-writing. Today, this gets scattered over multiple applications (eg. mail, the word processor). While each application is a specialist at doing something, can we intercept the actions at the server-level and create an integrated view is the question.
The focus in the past was on the Individual. The Personal Computer was used by One. Today, the focus is on the Network, the Group. The Computer is used as a collaborative tool, for sharing, and in a Connected environment.
The two themes around which we can think of the New Desktop are Chronology and Events. A blog lends itself to capturing thinking and displaying based on time. We would be expected to narrate events, tell stories about the work we are doing, what we are reading, things we find interesting. But this is only one of the ways in which the blog gets populated. Events are happening around us: calendar alerts, emails coming in and going out, RSS feeds bringing ups posts of others, news feeds coming in from the outside. These events pass through an RSS aggregator and are made available to us to use in the manner we see fit.
The Weblog’s read-write application becomes the new desktop, the personal portal. It can use Office for its writing and specialised display (eg. use a spreadsheet to show a tabular document), and a Browser for general-purpose reading. Search is available across all that one is doing. The Weblog becomes the personal knowledge management system.
This can be done today using Weblogs and Syndication (RSS feeds). To this, we can add Outlines for better processing of information. Sometimes, we want to do “bulk” editing / review of information, and want it hierarchically organised. We may also want to present it to others. Thats why Outlines can come in.
Into this architecture can come later enterprise-events from specialised applications like ERP, CRM, etc. The interface remains the same. This is a big shift from today, wherein the only front-end we have available is the browser. By adding Outlines, Blogs and Syndication, we can create a new framework for the desktop of tomorrow.