The concept of software as a service has long appealed to me.
This idea--which was referred to as the application service provider (ASP) model during the dotcom boom years--has not really taken off in a big way yet.
What ASP means is that your applications, like the word processor, spreadsheet, image editor and so on, don't reside locally on your hard drive but are actually delivered to you via the Internet from a remote server.
The advantages of this approach are plentiful. By having these apps online, you can access them anywhere there's an Internet connection.
The other obvious advantage is that because the software is online, you'll never have to bother with upgrades.
There is one big downside to the ASP model though, and that's the lack of "persistence".
Precisely because it's available online, such apps are not accessible when there is no Internet connection.
That's all about to change with the introduction of Google Gears, a tool that allows Web apps to work offline.
This is a critical important component that removes the Achilles' heel of Web-based software.
There will be times and situations when you have no access to the Internet but still need to do some work.