Hiawatha Bray, in the Boston Globe, discusses Wi-Max, the next big thing after WiFi. Already deploying in some areas, and expected to really expand in 2008 with a push by Sprint, Wi-Max offers faster speed, greater distance and reliability. Fixed Wi-Max is available to businesses, who deploy it by pointing an antenna. And Clearwire Corp. is already offering Wi-Max in small towns in a version designed to reach laptops and other portable electronic devices. Wi-Max will probably be standard on portable electronics in coming years.
Bray also reported recently on a new smart drives that make your software and settings portable, even in a thumb drive or Ipod. The entire article is here.
A new product called MojoPac lets iPod users take control of any desktop computer running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system.
And major flash memory makers like SanDisk Corp. and Lexar Media Inc. have begun making ``smart" thumb drives that let the user carry favorite software programs on the keyring-size devices. When plugged into any Windows-based computer, the smart drive lets the user work on a stranger's computer exactly as if it were his own, with all the same software and settings.
``By the end of 2008, people will install software on their smart drive, and not on their hard drive," said Kate Purnal, chief executive of U3 LLC in Redwood City, Calif., which markets one of the new smart drives.
If the new technology catches on, companies would have greater flexibility in assigning computers to employees.
Each machine could contain only an operating system, such as Windows software. All other programs would be loaded onto a smart drive, which the worker would keep at all times and use on any computer in the office.
The smart drive can be equipped with data encryption and password protection, to protect sensitive data in case it is lost.
Because smart drives are relatively cheap -- a two-gigabyte drive from SanDisk costs around $60 -- family members could buy several, and use each for a specialized computing task, from gaming to financial planning.
And forget about snooping on each other. The smart drive technology stores all data in the portable device. When the user unplugs the device, it leaves behind no traces.
Technology changes everything.