Competitive business

I think that thin clients as you describe them never reached the critical mass to become a hugely competitive business. It exists in pockets but not in the mainstream.

Still, the motivation is there to wean ourselves away from expensive machines that quickly go obsolete. Consider computing power as something like electric power. Right now, whenever a person wants it, we put a generator on their desk in the form of a computer. As a result, there is wasted processing power rampant in the system. We have horrible inefficiency in our IT infrastructures and we all know that inefficiency wastes money. If Mary needs to run a report that locks up her machines for hours, she'd love to harnass the power of John or Peter's machines for the process since they're only playing solitaire. As a result, we are on the verge of implementing the next possible fad: Grid Computing.

I liked the article. The big picture, it seemed to me, is that Internet technology is subject to fads, particularly propagated by the enthusiasm of people who don't really understand the technology. If you work in the field every day as I do, it is good to be reminded of that.

Many of the comments on this article are not really comments, but an attempt by people with anger problems to use kuro5hin as an outlet for their anger.

At any time, there are processes in social groups which cause them to grow, and other processes which cause them to die. Unfortunately, the angry people seem to have taken hold of kuro5hin, so that they are the dominant group. That causes kuro5hin to be much less attractive to those who have something interesting to share.

Other things, like pet food, make no sense whatsoever to sell online.

of course it does. try finding a petshop selling the good stuff (royal canin is like crack to my little fluffballs - that's my CATS, mind). i order it in bags of 8kg: the postie breaks his back, it's cheaper, and...well, i'm a lazy son'bitch

actually, groceries, pizza's & other convenience stuff, soft- & hardware, books, flowers... i can think of few things which i wouldn't rather order online than leave my house for - that's SO not done any more :). even one of my ex-girlfriends was, ultimately, "ordered" online (in fact, you CAN really order these online, no?)

voIP, p2p, thin clients... all stuff i know is in daily use by many.

Sure it was not apt to surf the web, but there was quite a lot of possible applications for it. There were millions of WAP phones out in Europe by 2000, and that *could* have been a revolution. It would have been a perfect media for shared lightweight groupware, chats, simple games, news. It was simply overpriced - it should have been free or almost free, a way to keep a telco's customers; instead in Europe they decided to price it at a premium rate. Just - say - browsing your horoscope would cost something like 0.50 - 1 euro of telecom charges. It was ridiculous. Nobody used or uses it, even when I think everybody's cellphone has Wap and is Gprs enabled. Most Gprs plans I have seen place a ludicrous quota of included Wap traffic - something like 200k per month! I can't even read a RSS newsfeed twice a day with that. This way it will go simply wasted, and I think it's a pity.