Thinking About Technology Innovation That Sticks

Sometimes I think about technology and get taken aback with why some ideas haven’t been realized, and what direction the industry is going in.One idea that has kept popping up in my mind over the past few weeks are why files on computers are inaccessible if you’re not on the right computer, or on the right network.

I’ve been dealing here and there with the limitations of corporate IT networks impose working at home and remembering having files locked away on my work computer. But overall it’s a problem that affects everyone and that everyone has gotten used to.

If you have a file on your computer (this may be another reason I hate files so much), then by default it’s not universally accessible to you on your other computers or devices. You need to activate either services that live on the computer from your operating system manufacturer, or deploy a 3rd party solution. Then you’ll also need those same systems installed on a secondary computer from which to retrieve the data.

I have a bunch of information in books and in notepads that can only exist where the notebook is. But my files are digital bits, and they live on computers that are for the usually connected to the Internet, the amazing sexy thing that it is. But the way things are now, my digital information is usually none more capable than my paper technology.

After getting this picture in my mind of all my digital information being accessible anywhere I am a la Star Trek, the way things are now makes it seem like we’re stuck in the middle ages.

That picture in my mind is making me realize how slowly some things change, but it’s also making me appreciate the form big changes take, the small or obvious ideas that change everything… Like putting a store to buy applications on your computer and making it a part of the operating system.

But I get the sense that we’re always going to see 10 grandiose launches that fizzle for every 1 small change that has an impact. No doubt launched by the same competitors again and again.

What I’m going to do is spend some time on other ways that I think computing needs to change. And I’ll try and find those really obvious, but believable futures to hope for.

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