Amazon started a contest where a startup was to use their Amazon Web Services (AWS), such as storage, scaled computing, Mechanical Turk, to create a product. The winning entry will win $100,000. I had an idea for this, but I thought that the correct combination of hardware and software didn’t exist yet. I now think that I was wrong, but I’m glad to be wrong. Since I can’t enter the contest, I figured that I would write my idea out here.
What the AWS provides that didn’t exist before is the ability to have truly mobile computing at the small of cost of renting space, bandwidth, and time. In fact the costs are small enough to really bring computing everywhere. If I were to choose where everywhere should start, I would say classrooms all over the country. How?
I think that we’ve reached the point now where the cost of hardware has dropped enough to bring computers into every classroom to the point of 2:1 kids to computer ratio. What about software? Using EC2, OpenOffice.org, and taking advantage of academic pricing on other products, I’m under the impression that the cost of software will drop significantly as well. The unique idea here is that the pricing of software will definitely change. It will become a single image, stored into an EC2 image, and initiated on the cheap PCs. Software usage, software loads, software flat fee, or some other scheme will be devised for this computing anywhere model. Maybe SaaS will solve the problem for us.
All in all, this was just a ramble more than anything else, but I think that the real potential of this stuff is obvious, but in terms of educating the next generation, invaluable.