User's perspective on web services like del.icio.us and GMail: running stateless
Sometimes I am questioned on my preference for using web applications over local application programs. For me, it is largely about "running stateless": any slight loss of efficiency over using local applications and data is more than compensated by having all of my stuff available no matter where I am or which computer I am using.
Of course, I am not really running stateless, but someone else is maintaining state for me.
An alternative is keeping all work on a networked file server but then there is the problem of having the right application handy.
Using XWindows is also a good alternative: I remember in the mid 1980s having to do a lot of work on servers located in Norway, my office was in La Jolla California. Back then my internet connection was a few hops between satellites and ground stations so latency was really bad: ground/sea based fiber is so much better, the speed of light being limiting after all :-)
I may be biased because most of my work is in designing and building interactive web applications but I expect to see almost all use of computers to migrate to web applications. The few exceptions to this trend are: software development, writing, graphics, video editing, etc.