mm114: Ghost Inc.’s Ghost: The Everywhere OS

August 24, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

So, you must understand that, while I most proudly wear the badge of curMUDGEon, I also wear other hats in life, not the least of which is nerd, gearhead, geek: technologyRus

So, limited by the towering constraints of my threadbare checking account, I like to try new technical products, especially here on the web where so much is “free” (monetarily speaking, at any rate).

[BTW, speaking of free, in every glorious aspect of the concept, here’s an appreciative Happy Birthday to WordPress, wordpress Left-Handed Complement’s safe harbor (i.e., blogging host). You guys make this peculiar activity I find myself obsessing over fun, while doing the impossible, making MUDGE look sort of polished. Thanks! And I got the tee-shirt — it’s so red! Happy 2nd Birthday, WordPress, a zillion more!]

So, encountering this story today, you might imagine that I was intrigued. It’s new! It’s so goddamn new that it’s Alpha! A new low for yours truly.

So, check it out:


August 20, 2007 (Computerworld)Ghost Inc. Ghost
Ghost is founded on the passionate belief that the Windows and Mac model of your operating system — with your precious applications and data all walled inside one physical computer — is obsolete,” says Ghost’s creator, Zvi Schreiber.

The Global Hosted Operating System, or Ghost, is the logical next step in a trend to move applications and files from client computers to the Internet, says Schreiber. It is a Web-hosted image of your desktop or laptop — a virtual computer that can be accessed by any client device via a Web browser.

Ghost doesn’t require software upgrades or patches for user machines, and it’s always backed up. But its key selling point is the mobility and device-independence it offers users, says Schreiber, CEO of start-up Ghost Inc. in New York. “Young people do a lot of computing at school, and business people don’t want to carry their laptops everywhere,” he says. “People want to get their computing environment from anywhere.”

So, of course, I signed up. Take a look at the rest of the CW story, and bop on back for my early impressions.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Ghost Inc.’s Ghost: The Everywhere OS

So, after a very brief registration process (and don’t doubt it, these times are increasingly very PC [politically correct, I have to specify in the light of today’s topic!] — for the second time today, I was offered the option of selecting as a password reminder my father’s middle name, absolutely a first, and at two different [Ghost, and a bank!] sites in the same day!), I found myself looking at the desktop.


The flower actually looks clearer and crisper in this much reduced image than full size on the screen, where it’s supposed to make an impression, I’m thinking, rather than be too distracting.

One early off-putter: Ghost opens up a new Firefox window, behavior I’m not thrilled with, much preferring the tabbed browsing model. And this is a totally separate entity, seemingly Flash 9, so the usual Firefox right-click context menu items are not available, and of course, moving on the desktop is a sluggish process.

The notice at the left was tempting:


Tried this; it seemed to work; but I’m supposing that the storage they refer to is additional/different from the desktop, since I couldn’t seem to find them from there after I had dragged and dropped a couple of files. But, perhaps the FTP site is stand-alone?

And after I created a folder on the desktop, but it wouldn’t allow me to drag a file there from windows.

So, that exhausts my patience for new stuff today. It’s alpha, so the promised applications aren’t there yet; looks like there’s a browser to explore, Google access, etc., to be tried out at a less fatigued hour.

By the way, anyone else remember YouOS, a very similar concept, which also seems to be running on Amazon Web Services, and was launched earlier this year (I’m thinking). When I just found my link to look at it after many months, it seems to have become quite austere, but it’s certainly the same principle. This screen cap hardly does it justice, but there wasn’t that much to see, folks:


The concept is intriguing. We already have a lot of computer independence, thanks to the web. I can access my personal email from my PCs at the office; from my daughter’s laptop in L.A., from a hotel room in Boston — anywhere I can run a browser (and remember the link!). If my ponderously snail-paced employer ever launches the capability of providing web access to corporate mail (very scary for us, believe me), then I’m even more independent.

And though I don’t need the service, Google Documents & Spreadsheets provides PC-independent access to (reasonably) useful everyday software.

Finally, there are those 4GB flash memory sticks with the U3 “operating system” that in theory allows you to take your environment into any PC with a free USB port — and when you leave, you (supposedly) have left no trace of your presence on the host. Haven’t proven that one.

So, is Ghost a solution in search of a problem that has already largely been solved?

Maybe we’ll learn more as they head into beta (imagine them being reckless enough to allow me into an alpha!).

So, that’s technologyRus for today, kids. Don’t try this at home (surely you have better, and more productive things to do, like seeing what’s up with your Facebook account).

It’s it for now. Thanks,