Friday, January 7, 2011

Google Cr 48: Where have I heard this before?

I have been reading a lot about the Cr 48, a ‘beta’ of the sometime-in-the-future Chromebook, or whatever Google calls it. The Cr 48 is intended to be nothing more that a browser. No operating system as we know it, no email client, no waiting for it to boot, just a browser. It does, however, have several other features to distinguish it from a digital clock, like a (that’s right… 1!) USB port that may do something, but it will NOT connect to anything that even smells like a USB device. It will also connect to almost any network, as long as it’s wifi or the proprietary network capability that comes with the machine. No LAN connectivity. No network shares. No mapped drives. Nothing. But. A fucking. Browser

Google has been working on this for thirteen months, and so far they have a netbook that will only run the Chrome browser, and may or may not connect to the internet, but NOTHING else

So what’s the Cr 48 like? As in most things, it depends who you ask . The pimply-faced little fucks who are generally the readers of online ‘tech’ sites largely, as always, fall in three camps:

       a) The Windows fans hate it, because it doesn’t run Windows.

       b) The Apple fans hate it because it’s not an Apple.

       c) The Linux fans love it, because it’s not an Apple or Microsoft thing, and it runs a Linux kernel.

So what, if anything, can we learn from their opinions? Not a fucking thing. The little dickheads are biased and uninformed, not really all that smart, and believe inexplicably that their little click (Windows, Apple, etc.) are smarter that the other little clicks. Just like High School, right? Even if some of the pimply-faced little fucks are in their 40s.

Getting back to the CR 48, lots of people are asking “what’s the point?”, and the response is, more often that not, that the future of computing is ‘in the cloud’. The CR 48 and similar products will replace OS-based PC of today with something new and better. But what does ‘in the cloud’ mean?

Well, in 1996 the next big thing in computing was just over the hill. Why, in a matter of months, the PC as we knew it would be no more, replaced by ‘dumb terminals’. All our data would be stored on the network, and we would access this information with a browser. And this browser, of course, would be Netscape Navigator, which was the choice of approximately 128% of internet users (OK, actually 85%. Really). And this internet would be accessed through America Online, because the only other choice to connect to the internet was Compuserve, and only 16 people used that. Windows 95 was the OS of choice, and releasing Windows 98 would be the very last thing Microsoft would do before going bankrupt, since the internet servers will all run Linux there will be no need for anything else they (Microsoft) could produce. And the only reason we need Win98 would be for the old-heads who resist change, but there are only 30 of THEM, and they’ll either come around or die of old age, so it won’t matter anyway. The early adopters would gleefully throw their PC out the fucking window and embrace the futuristic, orgasmic new paradigm (now with unicorns!). All this shit was said seriously, by people with extra letters in their names, like PhD. As strange as it seems, I am really not embellishing it that much. It all seemed like it would be real. It would be the future. That was a generation ago.

Windows and Navigator in 1997...

What happened? Not a goddamned thing, that’s what. I still use a PC, and so do you. This was so long ago that Netscape lost market share to IE 4.01 et al, was bought out by AOL, and neglected until the company fucking DIED. Then, somehow, Mozilla rose zombie-like from beyond the dead, became Firebird, then Firefox, and has clawed it’s way back into the (continuing) browser wars, where it once again is a (the?) major player in the game. A fucking lifetime almost has passed. But what HAS changed?

...Windows and Firefox now.

Again, nothing. There is just ‘more’ of everything. More MBs, More GBs, more ram, TB storage for a hundred bucks… but it’s still the same damn thing. This is how computing was then, this is how it is now, and this is how it will be for your children. Google may be right about a lot of things, but this Googlebook ain’t one of ‘em.

And for all you who think the internet is vastly different than it was in 1997, watch this clip. Outside of the shitty graphics and dial-up, not much has changed. Yea, I know, now you have your 2000 megajoule hard-drive, an 2400 nanogram/hexagliph display, but it's not a lot different. Well, except for Realplayer (Realplayer? What the FUCK is a Realplayer?).

Simply look at it like this: the CR 48 has the same stuff a $450.00 netbook has in it now; hard drive, low-power processor, sound card, etc. And yet, it has almost as much functionality as a smartphone. You don’t need to be Henry Ford to know it’s hard to get people to line up to buy less stuff for more money. I don’t get it, and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

Will Google sell these things? Maybe, but I doubt it. Not the way they are now. If they make it even smaller, and the pricebreak is about $150.00, I could see people buying it if it came in pretty colors, and STRICTLY as an affectation for hipster/pinheads.If, however, they made it pearl white and put an Apple logo on the top, they would sell 6 million of ‘em for $999.95.

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