...so you still remember the times when Internet was loud of desktop applications going online, huh? Email was one of the earliest obvious implementations, slowly followed by the more difficult applications: online document, spreadsheet, presentation editing, agenda, todo list, contact management, image editing, imagemap editing ;), etc. And you started to use one or more of these online wonders, and you were happy. Obviously sooner or later you realized you are pretty much stuck when you are offline. Application developers also had this in mind, and now in 2008 we have a few handsome tools to transform some of these applications to work in offline mode.
The trend might seem ironic, as applications that were desperate to go online now try to crawl back to your desktop, but in reality this only means progression. We benefit hugely of the interaction of the web and the desktop. Myself played some hours with Adobe AIR (Gears and BrowserPlus still waiting to be discovered but they also look great), and as i see most applications can gain a lot with options like drag and drop, file operations, local storage.
Currently Gears and Air offers rather different approaches to offline working. Which one will be the winner? Only future can tell, both seem very strong at the moment.