I was in San Jose for the SHARE conference week before last, always a good show. Since I don't live in San Jose, it meant travel and in this case air travel. So on the plane I snagged the Sky Mall magazine from the seat pocket for a little light reading. (Sleep is a good thing to pursue while in flight. Maybe it would help?)
In the Tiger Direct section of Sky Mall, I found the "X300 3 User Expansion Kit" from NComputing. Remember when computers could have more than one keyboard? Oh, and they could have more than one screen. Oh, and the screen and keyboard usually went together as something called a "terminal". Yep - those were the days. Well, they're back.
Ironic, isn't it, how invention rears its head in the most surprising places. With the surplus computing power of small computers, someone at NComputing [re]created the ability for several users to share a single PC with no loss of the "your personal settings" experience. To their credit, the inventors have rendered this product runnable on Linux as well as the ubiquitous Windows.
Truly this is a nice piece of work. But to us mainframers, umm, hello? Why has no one done this before? We've been putting terminals on the desks of hundreds and thousands of users for years. (Indeed, some people mistakenly apply the term "mainframe" to any computer which directly servces more than one user.) I gotta say "way to go" to the folks who now allow us to do this with a PC. But I also have to ask "what took you so long?".
A sample of this little multi-user beastie is here: