Page 9 of “The Expanding Digital Universe“, an IDC White Paper from March 2007 says, “Ultimately flash [memory] may enable us to carry our own PC system profiles with us, so we can boot up on any PC and have all our data and applications ready for use.”
The white paper included a lot of repetition in my opinion, but the sentence quoted above rings true. It’s a concept I’ve pondered for years, ever since converting most of my home network over to various Linux distributions.
The concept of personalized and portable set of data and applications that just borrow whatever local computing hardware is available, gelled in my mind when I came across Knoppix, then DSL, and most recently Puppy Linux. It turns out many people are already doing this.
Think of the PC hardware as simply a portal. It’s a way of viewing and modifying data, even casting it into other forms (paper, sound, tactile). Center your attention on the data, not on the computer hardware, or operating system, or CPU speed.