There are few more enduring manifestations of user interface technology than that of the Graphical User Interface Desktop. The desktop is perhaps the single most important development in productivity in the history of computing.
One thing that is consistent across most modern operating systems is the ability to run a sophisticated Internet browser.
With more and more of our essential applications, files and data being hosted online, a Web-based desktop is the next logical progression from this.
Undoubtedly, mobile computing has redefined the way we interact with technology, and user perceptions and expectations have changed irreversibly.
Microsoft has perhaps provided the best recent example of an attempt to unify native desktops. One possible factor in the failure of this approach to unify native desktops is that despite looking similar from the user’s point of view, underneath the hood they are very different beasts with non-compatible applications.
A Web desktop offers the opportunity to log in instantly, bringing the user to an environment that they are comfortable with and set up in a way that they know where everything is. Who will steal a lead on their competitors and launch the first mass-adopted Web desktop is anyone’s guess.
Rafael Laguna is CEO and co-founder of Open-Xchange, providing leadership and strategic vision across the organization. The Big Data Virtual Summit will comprise expert keynotes, real world case studies and interactive discussion panels led by senior IT practitioners who will share their tips for Big Data technologies and data management strategies.
The most successful businesses are those with confidence in their ability to store, access and use data effectively. This review looks at why small businesses need to stop being complacent about their networks and at what they can do to maintain their competitive edge as they follow the big boys down the route of increasing collaboration and other bandwidth-hungry applications likely to impact on network performance and availability. They say there’s nothing better than someone showing you how to perform a particular task.
The best thing about TeamViewer is that, if you possess certain computer skills, you could put these to use helping other users understand their machines and charge a fee for this service. Pioneered by engineers at Xerox PARC, refined by Steve Jobs and Apple and brought to masses and ingrained into our daily lives by Microsoft Windows, it is almost the first thing that comes to mind when we think of using a computer.
Whether you use Windows, OSX, or perhaps one of the several flavors of Linux, the same basic principles apply. The rise of the mobile device has seen the operating system landscape become even more disjointed, and the longer lifespan of non-mobile devices means that even with Windows devices there are four separate versions currently supported by Microsoft.


HTML5 is fast becoming the standard for delivering Web applications and the possibilities it gives for Web development are endless. A SaaS-delivered GUI with quick access to HTML5 applications and data that can be accessed from any browser for the first time removes the desktop from the OS for the average user.
Users now expect the same powerful tools and applications on the go as they do in the office. Why an HTML5 browser-based desktop could succeed where Windows didn’t is that by the very nature of a Web app, they will run anywhere, on any device with the same functionality. No five minutes spent trying to remember the correct convention to locate a certain file type. Microsoft and Apple have vested interests in prolonging the lifespans of their native desktop environments, and while Google has incorporated an app launcher into the Chrome browser, it is still some way off from offering a joined-up desktop style experience. Set the desktop free of the OS and enable users to get the most out of how they create, consume and share data. Rafael has extensive experience in enterprise software, having previously held the position of VP Marketing and Business Development at SUSE Linux as well as being CEO of Micado, and also acts in an advisory role for the Open Source Business Foundation. Six posts from external sites are included here each weekday, but we only run the headlines.
Back in the late 80s, this was how information about how to understand computers spread from person to person.
The natural feel of choosing icons with a gesture, as opposed to memorizing command lines, somewhat demystified computers.
No one could possibly be expected to know all of the shortcuts and features of every iteration of every different operating system that they may encounter in their professional and personal lives. Web applications are something that most of us are familiar with, and perhaps their greatest asset is being able to deliver a consistent user experience regardless of what device or operating system you happen to be using it on. Regardless of what device the user logs onto the Web desktop with, it will be instantly familiar to them.
Portability is no longer seen as a barrier to functionality, and the device should not decide how work is done. The idea was to provide a consistent experience, regardless of whether the user was using mobile or desktop. As more and more applications become delivered via the Web, or were born as Web applications, it stands to reason that users will want a single online desktop, collecting the Web apps that they use regularly that can be logged onto from wherever it is needed.
This consistency promotes productivity, the problem the desktop was originally trying to solve.


It will be an interesting couple of years, and the change will be driven as more and more applications are delivered via the Web. It is a fusion of different media styles, different topics, different formats and different sources. Problem is that we now have to rely on books, the Internet and our own skills to teach ourselves how to complete a particular task. With fast broadband, you could easily either offer your skills to another person or find someone with particular skills to help you finish a task. This would also enable you to help more than one user, opening multiple sessions and also track and manage multiple customers.
This made them accessible to a whole new group of users, and did away with the need for intensive training and education. But despite their similarity in appearance, underneath it all, each of these operating systems is inherently different. This lack of consistency and familiarity could impede the productivity that the desktop is trying to promote.
Different screen sizes and touch controls as opposed to using a mouse may make slight differences, but the same features and functions will be available to all users.
The result was one of confusion and a general lack of enthusiasm among early adopters, which resulted in a major U-turn in the form of Windows 8.1 and the reinstatement of the Start button.
Whoever can master centralizing digital tools and assets in a convenient and user-friendly, intuitive manner could make real inroads in the next big step for user productivity. For example, if you wanted to get up to speed with Microsoft Excel, you could ask for someone to show you how to use the application, or do some of your work for you, over the Internet.
Applications that run across all are few and far between, and as soon as one goes beyond the most basic of features, a great deal of learning has to take place before one can get the most out of all the features available to them across the operating system environments.
Dynamically add new applications with a single click, pull in news and social feeds to the one location or subscribe to additional services in a seamless manner, putting the user in control and at the centre of the entire experience.
You install the TeamViewer software on your computer and the remote user (or yourself, if you’re asking for help) simply initiates a TeamViewer module on their machine.



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