CNN Blogger Bunch: Windows 7 and Hulu Subscriptions

I was recently featured on CNN live website, along with my buddies Pete Cashmore (from Mashable) and Brian Chen (from Wired). We had a great time discussing things like Windows 7 and the announcement of Hulu subscriptions. It’s an interesting roundtable from the three of us self-avowed “Mac” guys, who all have extensive Windows experience.

As I stated during the discussion, I believe the operating system is becoming irrelevant in the days where everyone logs in to their computer, and immediately opens a web browser.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel as we tune more and more into the Web that things such as actual operating systems will become more irrelevant?

12 thoughts on “CNN Blogger Bunch: Windows 7 and Hulu Subscriptions”

  1. I totally agree, Chris. Which OS reigns supreme is, by all practical purposes, a dead debate.

    The best way to ensure that we never become beholden to one particular corporation or monopoly is to continue to actively push for open standards and support efforts to keep the Internet OS agnostic.

  2. Operating systems aren’t becoming irrelevant at all. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea as geeks, but the reality is that the systems are still our gateway to the world, our home base we return to after a long day of web surfing, and our virtual safe that we store our files in. Applications are a huge differentiating factor as well. Think of apps like TextMate, BBEdit, RapidWeaver, Tweetie, Delicious Library, Pixelmator, the iWork & iLife apps and others. They all have slick, seamless, super user friendly interfaces that are so snappy and responsive. There simply aren’t any web apps that can even come close to competing with the user experience of a well made Mac application. The area of Pro apps is another big issue, with the likes of Final Cut Pro, Shake, Motion, Aperture, Photoshop and the rest of the creative apps using vast amounts of local processing power and memory just to operate. So, while the web browser is becoming a huge player in our use of computers, it isn’t going to replace the OS anytime soon… even if Google thinks it will.

  3. The biggest area of divide lies in what people are actually doing with their computers. Someone sitting on their butt all day watching YouTube videos and clicking around on FaceBook or MySpace (a.k.a. ‘ignorant consumer’) can afford to be “OS agnostic.” Serious industry professionals who are actually creating high quality content on a regular basis can’t even think about it, nor would they want to. I use CMSs to manage a lot of the sites I do for clients. Sure, they are cloud based software, but try doing any serious graphics editing & slicing, coding, or hacking work on the web. Not on your life. It’s not happening.

    The web has it’s place, and so does the local desktop. They aren’t mutually exclusive by any means. We need both.

  4. It’s happening, but not as quickly as some might think. Definitely in the business space, offline e-mail clients and programs are still ubiquitous. Microsoft Word still dominates. In business, people aren’t all immediately logging into the web. It’s still Photoshop and InDesign in my case. Word and Excel for others

  5. I agree with Justin,

    The whole “The Web is the OS” concept was DOA. I suppose many techies like to feel like the Paul Revere of the internet in proclaiming what is to come. PCs are too powerful and too cheap to have all their functionality simply swept away into the cloud.

    I see the future as each household having some sort of centralized server, whether it is a ‘home server’ or an HTPC. Connected to that server will be the traditional desktops and laptops but also devices that will help make peoples homes intelligent. Sprinkler systems, alarm systems, A/C thermostats, smart refrigerators, car alarms, smart ovens, etc.

    The “Personal” Computer is here to stay and Microsoft is right on course with Windows 7. I sure hope their device stage concept really gets exploited by device manufactures…. I see the Device Stage as the beginning of this PC evolution.

  6. I have to agree that the OS is not becoming irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it matters as much which OS you’re using because they all more or less just work.

    Most applications that I use are completely on the OS. I use so few web based apps because I have no use for them. I’m not a “oh look, pretty” kind of guy. I need something to be able to do what I need it to do and that’s it. Many webapps offer a lot, but not enough to make me use them on a constant basis. I mostly use the web to download stock photos for my manipulations in Paint Shop Pro.

    They are even trying to develop technologies that allow web-apps to gain much of the same processing speed an power as a regular application, using the OS to do this.

    I could never work entirely online, I need my OS. I need my desktop and my offline programs. I still carry my USB wherever I go. A lot will go online, but most will stay on the actual offline desktop in my opinion. It just makes more sense to do so in my opinion.

  7. I think the definition of ‘everyone’ could use some work. The people who work only in the web browser probably didn’t use a computer at all 5 years ago. These are entirely new computer users of a different market. The existing market of people who play games, work in rich responsive applications, view media and an unlistable million other activites still need their operating system.

    Over time more and more things are becoming browser focused, but they are all such a long way from the leading edge they have become commodities, used by those who traditionally avoided computers.

    In some ways Apple is working very hard to make sure the OS matters, what were traditionally web applications (or phone before them), like ordering a pizza, are now custom applications that have to be written for the iPhone OS itself to work best. Microsoft and Adobe are heading in the other direction with Silverlight and Flash intended to eventually be totally OS-independent. Google have had some sucess in the ‘plug-in not required’ web application space, however while simple applications like Gmail are very good, they’re not ‘quite’ up to the standard of desktop applications, and Google Docs is a long way behind. This is mainly due to browser limitations, and the internet as a whole is being, and will continue to be, held back almost a decade due to the users reluctance to upgrade their browser (despite their eagerness to install plugins, benign or harmful).

    The desktop OS is likely to become ‘less’ relevant, but it’s not going to be irrelevant for most users, at least in the next 10-15 years.

  8. As our connectivity ability increases, I can readily see where a lightweight OS (Such as what Google is suggesting) will become a major player. The internet has become an essential part of our lives, Facebook, myspace, twitter, on line banking and purchasing, all are rapidily becoming necessary items, ones that a lot of us use on a daily basis, and are lost without them. However, there is still a huge market out there for movies, picture manipulation and games… especially the latter. Lets face it, the gaming industry is at least as instrumental in getting us PCs on the desktop as any other single application, the best, most fun and most robust existing on the desktop. Add into that, slow connections, intermittent connections and other vagaries of on line experience and we have a long way to go before we can say the OS is irrelevant. If anything, it is becoming more relevant with each new step in computing. Chrome (OS) WILL be a hit, for netbooks and other lightweight computing devices, these will reside in harmony with the desktop computer(if the price point is right, needs to be less than a desktop which will be hard when you can get an acceptable PC for $400…). What the world is looking for truly is a more seamless experience, where the lines between what is local and what is net is very hard to determine. An OS that boots quickly, so that we can jump online, do our banking, check our news, check our auctions and communicate with our friends, then once we have caught up on our lives… we can pull up our favorite game and continue on without any boundaries… THEN the OS will be perfected…

  9. I could care less what OS I am runnign as long as the items I need I have loadable and the performance is above the standards needed to do what I want…….games will need an OS to work (hence the reason they do not always work on macs LOL). If I could load windows 3.11 and make my browsing faster I would! Bring on the good coders who can make a good application web based and see te money start to change flow from mainstream applications……who is going to take the time…Google prehaps???
    Os will always be a transparent layer for MOST non geeks and only really geeks would want something that already is there to change!

  10. My views is that an OS for a desktop computer will never go away. As for laptop and netbooks there will be the next big war of the tech. It is easier for each of these companies to design a program to react with their own hardware. I myself would not be suprised if these three companies (google, apple and a wireless company maybe verizon) end up being big players in this war. Microsoft will probably focus more on desktop software and offering a pay service to store and download information that’s about it. Grrrr I’m going to have to elabrate more later I really hate typing on my iPhone.

  11. I’m with those who disagree that the OS is irrelevant. I have a number of apps I simply MUST have and use that have little chance of becoming web apps, if for no other reason than that there is NO amount of bandwidth currently available anywhere that could handle some of their realtime functions satisfactorily. Heck, some wouldn’t work with gigabit local connections if they were operated in a client-server modality.

    Frankly, only simple, moderate-to-low bandwidth demand apps are suitable for being served from the web. (And yes, live streaming video is only a very moderate bandwidth demand). Some advanced users may find their needs fulfilled with web-only apps, but for the most part, web only apps are suitable for the needs of low-end users who just wanna surf the web, create simple to moderately complicated office-type documents (and a very few other relatively simple file types), view streaming media, etc. But try using web apps to compose a music score or edit a movie or even do extremely simple sound file editing (comparable to the very basic functions available in something like Audacity). *yech* Not happening.

    And I’m trying to imagine some small businesses I consult for that’re required by law to maintain complete, total and absolute client confidentiality running their legal software or patient records or even their bookkeeping from a web-only OS. I really don’t see them jumping on board that one with enthusiasm. I can see such things being done with relative safety (and have set up some VPN access doing such things in very limited cases), but “relative” isn’t a comfortable term for some of these folks’ justifiably paranoid concerns in an atmosphere where commonsense and “best faith efforts” no longer afford protection from litigation.

    No, as far as the ordinary user who just wants to surf, email, etc., a web-only “OS” is just fine. Folks who should receive a medal every time they get to WalMart and back without causing a 15-car pile-up are a subset of “average users” (Call them “Sub-moronic Users”) that SHOULD be limited to web-only apps run by a web-only “OS” (and probably in an “Assisted Computing Facility” where aides do the actual “computing” for them, e.g., “Here, dearie, let me make that mouse click FOR you”). Users who actually want to do anything beyond those super simple things need apps run on their local computer, and that still requires an operating system that isn’t web-only.

    I might consider something like Google’s Chrome OS for a small web appliance running in the kitchen, right next to the toaster or waffle iron, but for daily use I require much, much, MUCH more.

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