Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

What is “Life without walls?”

What is “Life without walls?”

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(Warning: If you only expect serious technology announcements or serious discussion from this blog, you should stop reading this post right now.)

Oh, you didn't just say that out loud, did you?!

Just an observation…

If you don’t have a wall, you’ve got no place to put a window.  Why do I need windows if I have no walls?  That’s just stupid.

Don’t get me wrong.. I love and sincerely embrace the whole “Windows: Life Without Walls” vision.  I’m just saying maybe Microsoft should re-think the analogy a little. 

How about “Windows.  You need walls for protection, but we let you see outside!”  Or maybe, “Windows. Walls, but with a view!”

And what about doors?  Who equates to the “door” in this whole analogy? 

It’s no secret that when we say “walls”, we really mean Apple. 

“*Gasp!*”

Yes.. I said it.  (chuckle)  They’re the “It’s new and cool and shiny and costs a lot of money for not as much functionality and you have to bend over backwards to make it truly useful” people.  And sure, they’re useful for certain people with certain specific needs.  But the reality is that they cost too much, and don’t let you DO as much. 

Yes, that’s harsh.  Half-assed opinions tend to be harsh.

Maybe Apple is the walls, AND the door.  “Apple: We give you walls.  And locked doors.  The key?  You must get it at iTunes.”

“C’mon Kevin.. you’re going too far with this.”

Perhaps. 

How about this: It could be argued that - just like Windows need Walls - Microsoft needs Apple.  And Google.  Microsoft is at its best when we have good competition.

So we have walls, windows, doors.. my blog can be the floor, but we still need a roof over our heads.  And how do we heat this thing?

“Okay Kev.  Time to be serious.”

Okay.  Look.. I don’t doubt for a second that there are people all over the world – not just at Microsoft and Apple, but everywhere - who are truly striving to create a better world through technology.  Windows and Macs.  Zunes and iPods.  Zune Marketplace and iTunes.  Windows Mobile and iPhones.  Devices that run software that connect to services and to other devices; and to other people.  It’s no longer “Web 2.0”.  I’m calling it “Life 2.0” – a desire to be connected, with devices that not only give us information, but our pictures, music, e-mail.. interaction with other people… it’s what we all want from our gadgets (and from FREE services), no matter where we are.

So I guess really to me, “Life Without Walls” means that “Life 2.0” idea, where we’re removing the barriers to the kind of connected life we all dream of one day having.

Bold Statement Alert:
There’s just no question in my mind that Microsoft is doing it better. 

“That really is a pretty bold statement.  You really think Microsoft is doing it better in ALL areas?”

Well.. okay, honestly, no.  I don’t.  At least not yet.  For example, I’m looking forward to the day when a Windows Mobile-driven device also has the graphics processing power that the iPhone has.  I’d really love to see a ZunePhone, or whatever you want to call it.. not because “hey, it’s a Zune, AND it’s a phone!”, but rather, I’d personally love to see Microsoft build hardware and have total control of the device from start-to-finish, so the software and hardware are completely optimized and proprietary; but with the same upgradeability that Zunes and XBOXs have had.)  Do I think those devices are coming?

“Do you?”

I have no idea.  They don’t tell me those things until they’re just about ready to announce them publically.  I sure hope they are.  But at the very least, you can bet that someday there will be a multi-touch, graphically stunning Windows Mobile phone.  One that has a decent browser, even.  (sigh)  Whether we continue to be the software that device makers choose to drive their ever-more-powerful gadgets, or we decide to enter the world of building devices, I believe that nobody is doing it better.

So.. to rephrase my earlier bold statement:
There is no question in my mind that Microsoft is the company best positioned to deliver Life 2.0.  No barriers.  No walls.  No limits.

  • PingBack from http://blogs.technet.com/kevinremde/archive/2009/01/08/what-is-life-without-walls.aspx

  • Linux:  No barriers.  No walls.   No windows.

  • LOL!  Very funny, muther-clucker.  :)

    How 'bout, "Linux: No barriers.  No walls.  No Windows.  No cost.  No support.  No free lunch." ?

  • Yes, a few blog posts ago I had a little bit of a rant on who I thought was the best company to bring

  • I wish I could disagree with you more, but I can't.  Both Microsoft and Apple have their place, in my life I carry a Dell laptop with Vista (blech!) and Windows 7 (Yay!) and Windows 2008 Server (pretty alright) and I get some stuff done with it.  When it comes to "life" as I live it (and let's be real, the only life any of us can live is our own) I carry a MacBook Pro and iPhone, I have owned and used other devices both Windows based and proprietary to the device.  Nothing fits MY life like Apple and their products.  So, Mr. full of I.T. I will let you have your Windows 7 and all and I hope (honestly) that Apple doesn't get too big, because if they do, they will have to do what Microsoft has done and done well and I don't want to see Apple's easy and fun to use products become what Microsoft's products have had to become... Boring.  :-)

  • Hey KJ!  How's it going?  Nice to hear from you.

    I could agree with you more.  :)  How people live their digital lives - the tools and gadgets and software.. it's all personal choices and preferences.  I'm glad Apple AND Microsoft have a place there for you.  Personally, I am not just an employee... I'm a huge fan. (duh!)  And the point of the blog post wasn't really to slam people who like using Apple products.  They do some good stuff.  But as a company who can deliver a total, connected experience, they're not where Microsoft is.  I understand your point about smaller company = not boring.. and if Microsoft were less of a platform company and more of a full-blown-product company, we'd be a lot less "boring" to some people too.  

    Personal Example: I have a Vista machine running as my family Media Center (or HAD, rather.. I upgraded it a couple days ago to Windows 7 beta).  It's got TV tuners, and big disks.  It's where all the family music, photos and home movies are stored.  I have two XBOX 360s on the network acting as game systems as well as Media Center extenders.  We watch TV, play music, show our home photos and videos.. all from those boxes.  CONNECTED.  

    I have a Zune.  My boys have theirs, too.  I have a Zune Pass subscription so that our three Zunes, plus my Media Center, plus the family laptop all can download and play whatever music they want from the Zune Marketplace.  And every month we get to pick 10 more songs to permanently add to our collection (stored on the Media Center).  CONNECTED.  

    (Oh.. one of our Zunes is the older 30GB original Zune.  Did we need to buy a new one to support the new software and new functionality of the newer Zunes?  Nope.  Simple firmware upgrade.  No need to buy a new one.  Can your iPods do that?)

    I use the Zune Software to not only choose which music to put on my Zune, but also which TV series.. which Podcast..which playlist gets put there.  TV recorded by my Media Center, but watched while I'm sweating at the gym.  CONNECTED.

    My Zune plugs into the car I bought last month.. a cheap little Ford Focus that has Microsoft Sync.  I TELL it to play an artist, track, album, playlist, genre.. and it does it.  And when my bluetooth-connected Windows Mobile phone gets a call, it pauses the music, and I talk into some microphone (that I have yet to find) to the caller who is coming through the speakers.  Call is over.  Music resumes.  CONNECTED.

    On that mobile phone, I can access a web address that is actually on my Media Center.  I can play MY recorded TV on my phone.  I can use it to schedule new recordings, too.  (I can do that from my PC as well.. wherever I am.)  CONNECTED.

    And that's just what I'm able to do today.  Life will only get better with more and more cloud services (LiveMesh?) and free products (Windows Live Essentials) adding more and more value. (I'm a HUGE fan of the new Windows Live Photogallery)

    That's my Life 2.0.

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