What % of the time are YOU online?
Bob Balaban March 10 2008 07:30:48 PMGreetings, Geeks!
To quote one of my all-time favorite TV characters, Roseanne Roseannadanna (ok, so I'm a baby-boomer, so sue me), "What's all this I hear about discombobulated obligations?" Or, in plain English, "disconnected applications". Today I took the Amtrak Acela (the "fast" train, or, as one of my European friends calls it, the "faster" train) from Newark, New Jersey (home of the corporate hq of my new company, Binary Tree) back home to Boston. It's a 4 hour ride, give or take, and I got bored reading "Office 2007 For Dummies", so I decided ot go online to check my email.
Well! It turns out that the fancy, shmancy "Fast" train from Newark (New Jersiey) to Boston (Massachusetts), does NOT have wireless Internet connectivity!! I thought I was going to DIE!! I said to the conductor guy, "HEY! Mister CONDUCTOR guy on the fancy shmancy "fast" train from Newark New Jersity to Boston Massachusetts!! How come there's no wireless Internet connectivity here?? Huh? Is this the fancy shmancy FAST Amtrak train, or what??"
He said, "HEY! Mr. Passenger guy. You sound just like Roseanne Roseannadanna from that old Baby Boomer TV show! NO, we do NOT have wireless Internet connectivity on this train! Unless, of course, you purchased yourself a fancy shmancy telephone company broadband wireless connection card! Did you do that, Mr. I-want-to-be-connected-everywhere, Mr. "Baby Boomer" TV-watching guy? Did you? Huh?"
Ok, enough, before I get sued by somebody. Here's the question -- does anyone still care in a major way about disconnected apps? It's been a huge differentiating/selling point of Notes for decades, and I use it all the time. I love having a local replica of my email file, so that I can still read and write email when I can't get an Internet connection for one reason or another. I also make use of the local-replica feature when I can get a connection, but it's slow. I let my dbs replicate in the background, and get decent performance using a local copy in the meantime.Admittedly, I use it a lot less than I used to. Just 2 or 3 years ago, wi-fi was way less ubiquitous, and in airports and hotels I frequently had to rely on slow dial-up connections. But even now, I find that on airplanes (and yes, even on fancy-shmancy trains), I'm forced to be offline. In these situations Notes' replication/disconnected support is a real win.
But now I'm wondering a) how big a percentage of most people's time is this case? and b) is it stabilized, or shrinking?
I've noticed over the last few years that the Microsoft suite of Web and collaborative applications pretty much assumes all-connected-all-the-time. And they have some valid rationales for making that trade-off -- it's certainly easier to create the software baking in that assumption, and it's certainly true that more people are actually connected a greater percentage of the time.
So, weigh in for me, fellow Geeks! Is "offline" support still important? Is it of growing, steady, or shinking importance, In Your Humble Opinions? Will anyone still care in 3 years? 5?
Goodnight Geeks! (and goodnight, little Roseanne Roseannadanna!)
(Need expert application development architecture/coding help? Contact me at: bbalaban, gmail.com)
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- Comments 
1Ben Poole 03/11/2008 8:43:49 AM What % of the time are YOU online?
Personally, I'm on-line most of the time. But I still have regular jaunts on trains, lay-overs in areas I refuse to pay exorbitant internet charges for, and so on.
I've been hearing for YEARS that we will all be connected 100% of the time, but the reality is still far from there to my mind. My old employer still has thousands of workers who aren't connected, hence the use of things like Lotus Notes.