There's a cyclic nature to technology development. What starts small and personal, becomes big until - inevitably - it becomes small again. Then the cycle repeats.
We started with mainframes on which we had to time-slice. Then we got powerful personal computers. Now we're back to spooling up instances of cloud computers.
We used to have individual websites. Upon which we ran whatever services we wanted - mail, FTP, finger, anything.
Where are we now? We run these services - or similar - on mainframes. Whether it's Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, or Path - we're back to storing all our data and connections with 3rd parties.
At the moment we're stuck in an era of restricted data portability. Theoretically we can extract our data from Twitter et al - but we're totally at the mercy of those who run the services.
Compare Twitter to Email. If Twitter goes down - that's it. Game over. No more Twitter. All those connections lost in the wind.
If Google decided to shut down Gmail, it would be a blow - but email would continue working.
We need to be using protocols - not services. The reason email, http, ftp, can't be switched off is that anyone can use them for any purpose. They are not at the whim of any owner.
This is the future.
- A LAMP stack running...
- ...Federated Services...
- ...based on open standards which can...
- ...communicate over mesh networks...
- ...protected and authenticated by strong cryptography
- All running on hackable hardware.
Most of those requirements can run happily on an Android phone right now.
I'm enjoying playing with my Raspberry Pi - but I also have an eye on these "Android on a stick" system. Thinking Thumb Drives. Ready and waiting to do our bidding....