How unplugging your computers can change your view of the world

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I have a developer friend that can’t imagine developing on anything other than a desktop. “I need the horsepower. I need a large display,” are his common refrains.

But something happened this week that’s shaking up his world. His wife brought home an old sluggish notebook–too slow and old to use at work. He degunked it a bit and got it running better and then like one of those “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” moments, his appreciation for getting unplugged grew ten times that day.

Running unplugged just isn’t about slimming down a computer so it can run on batteries. It’s much broader than that. And much more subtle. But it can have a significant impact on how you think about using a computer. And as a developer, he started thinking of additional ways that people might use his applications.

I’ve noticed a similar phenomena with Tablets. The mobility inspires new ways of thinking about using computers.

In the past I was never much for collaboration. Now that I use a Tablet almost all of the time, collaboration is one of the most important missing capabilities in apps today. Why? Because I now often want to share what I’m doing with someone. I want them to see on their computer what I’m looking at or doing. I want them to be able to show me changes that I can make.

For me, outside of modernizing the graphics in Windows, collaboration SDKs–really good ones–are the number one new API support I’d like to see in the Longhorn OS.