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Computers: The Next Generation?

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  • User profile image
    john259

    1950's: Experimental computers.

    1960's: Mainframes (IBM 360, etc).

    1970's: Mini computers (DEC PDP-11, etc).

    1980's: Micro computers ---> PC's.

    1990's: The Internet.

    2000's: ???

    It wasn't until the mid 1990's that it became obvious to the general public that the major computer innovation of that decade was the Internet (ok, I know the 'net was actually invented many years before, but I'm talking about widespread use).

    I haven't seen anything on that scale develop yet in this decade. There have been lots of obvious incremental improvements, but no huge generational change.

    Would anyone like to suggest what it might be - or is everyone who knows keeping quiet, in the hope of making big money? [grin]

    John (I'm still experimenting with how to get line breaks into posts, so sorry if the formatting is a mess)

  • User profile image
    Jeremy W

    Thing is, that by and large each of the innovations you've mentioned was invented much, much earlier. It was only in decade [x] where the power of the innovation becomes obvious.

    It's a Seth Godin kind of thing. An idea is just a gimmick until everyone in the world adopts it. It's the same in tech. An idea is just a minor improvement until the whole world starts using it.

    I'm not sure if this decade will actually have a major tech innovation, or if it'll be a tech cultural change. The bubble and subsequent recoveries have changed business drastically. The fundamentals of IT have made their way from the server room to the board room. IT is now, more than ever, not a cost center but an investment and even profit center.

    These are incredible generational changes. Not small things. But they aren't purely technical either.

  • User profile image
    Tryfen

    Duh!  Not to be rude or anything Smiley

    The next generation are "portable computers".  I have on my hip a computer, more powerful than that which landed men on the moon.

    It's all about the portability.  Your mobile phone is, if you bought it in the last 4 years, an incredibly sophisticated computer.

    And it's only going to get better!  True there are very few "Quantum Leaps" in the world of mobile phones - but just having a multi-function, Java running, broadband transmitting, MP3 playing, 2 Mega pixel taking, push email getting, web-browsing, diary synching, bluetoothing, GPS-ing, computer tucked in your pocket is, frankly, amazing.

    The fact that it allows the missus to tell you to pick up milk on the way home is a bonus, too!

    Terence

  • User profile image
    sbc

    I'm sure people at Microsoft think things like WebServices and Syndication (i.e. RSS, Atom) will be big in the future (Scoble likes talking about RSS a lot).

    Perhaps smart devices will become big (utilizing wireless technology). Broadband also plays a big role in the future.

    What is needed is some kind of alternative to email, something that is spam proof. Email spam would be less of a problem if the US adopted an opt-in email policy like the UK. As it is opt-out, people still get spam as most of it is from the US.

  • User profile image
    soekul

    Does anyone spend anytime on the Microsoft Research site? There's lots of interesting things going on there.

  • User profile image
    lars

    OT:

    The beuty of email is its simplicty. And that anyone can email anyone. As soon as it involves being on the recipients list (like IM programs) much of the idea is lost.

    I think the only way is to go after the ones that buy spam services. Taking out the worst spammers is one step in the right direction. But its easy to spam, and profitable. So my guess is that the void will be filled quickly. The ones that buy services from spammers, to peddle their merchandise need to be contactable in some way. If they risk some real sanctions it will become unprofitable. And spammers run out of customers.

    Opt-out is plain stupid. It means that you have to put up with crap atleast once from everyone. And "opting-out" just comfirms your address. Opt-in may not work. People send spam anyway. But atleast it's illegal. It's better to have a law that is hard to enforce, than to just give in and allow it to happen.

    AFAIK the EU has adopted opt-in. Finally. One of the stupidest ideas ever came from some Swedish politicians that suggested a national (!) register where your could register your address and say "no thanks" to spam. Talk about don't having a clue...

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    gmiley

    I agree with the portable computing being the '00 "innovation". I think, to narrow it down even more, it will be focused on wearable computing. Glasses that focus low energy output lasers onto your retina (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3647437.stm), devices that give you access to multitudes of data (http://web.media.mit.edu/~schwartz/wearsat/overview.html), methods of transmitting data based off of proximity (http://www.bluetooth.com/). portable storage devices (http://www.picstop.co.uk/prodinfo.php?product=491&PHPSESSID=7b0152bb931061459abc99858c94a1fd).
    Once prices on these products drop it will become commonplace to have information truely on-demand. Walk past a restaraunt and a notification icon displays on your glasses, you acknowledge and it displays the restaraunts dinner specials. Maybe even puts you in the queue for table as you approach.

    We do have the technoloigy now, it's just price and getting it implemented that takes time.

  • User profile image
    john259

    Jeremy W. wrote:
    Thing is, that by and large each of the innovations you've mentioned was invented much, much earlier. It was only in decade [x] where the power of the innovation becomes obvious.

    Jeremy,
    Exactly! That's why it's so interesting to hear what Channel 9 users think will develop sufficiently to become widely popular.
    John (still trying to get the **** line break to work!)

  • User profile image
    john259

    Tryfen wrote:
    Duh!  Not to be rude or anything Smiley

    The next generation are "portable computers".
    Terence
    fx: Tongue firmly in cheek (maybe!) - But the items I listed were _positive_ developments! [Please, please, no flame war, please] - John

  • User profile image
    john259

    soekul wrote:
    Does anyone spend anytime on the Microsoft Research site? There's lots of interesting things going on there.
    Could you post the URL please? - John

  • User profile image
    sbc
  • User profile image
    Nystul

    John

    When entering text into the editor, use Ctrl+Enter to insert a line break. Saying **** just won't do it Wink

    Kirk out.

  • User profile image
    AT

    IMHO, Next (or think current) generation will be based on networking.
    All computing and products are trying to make more personalized.
    I.e. for mainframe you need to be in correct place and share computing time with other, now you get your own computing time - but still restricted to place there your computer located. Next generation must give you access to all your information regarless on your location.

    Internet, networking and making computers portable and wearable is a part of this goal.

    Once you will be able to get access to all your data in any place there you are - there will be no future innovations.
    Head-mounted eyeglasses-like displays will be the same as current headphones for radio or hands-free for mobile .

    It's a hard problems to solve. Networked - distributed computing, cost and usability for eyeglasses displays, input devices/user interaction for this kind of displays, power comsumptions vs. functionality of portable devices.
    It will take at least 10 (if not 20) more years to solve parts of this problems.

    Once you will be able to deliver voice and video information to/from any location - there will be no more needs in computing (as for a human).

    After this - only brain-integration will be possible - as there is no other usable/productive IO for a human.

  • User profile image
    gmiley

    I think they are shooting for optic nerves before even thinking about brain connectivity in humans. I know they do have limited brain implants currently but as far as access to the technology to the general population, I think optic nerve implants will come first, not only for image integration but also for input methods.

    Imagine, display feed directly to your optic nerve, no cumbersom head mount display. Next, to select an item all you need to do is focus directly on it for  at least a specified amount of time, i.e. 1 second of direct focus. For text input I would assume a voice to text option. You focus for a second on the begin voice command/voice record/voice dictation and begin speaking. The recording device could be a simple lapell pin or an implant in the voice box area.

    Can't wait till I can get rid of this fleshy mass and get my shiny new cyborg body... die human scum! =)

  • User profile image
    john259

    Nystul wrote:
    John

    When entering text into the editor, use Ctrl+Enter to insert a line break. Saying **** just won't do it Wink

    Kirk out.
    Thanks Captain, but I'm sorry to say that it doesn't work. Pressing Ctrl+Enter (or Ctrl+Return) does absolutely nothing (it doesn't insert anything at all). Other people seem to have cracked the problem though. John - perhaps I should have asked Mr Garibaldi instead Smiley

  • User profile image
    Richard Acton

    Big things for the future as I see it are:

    As mentioned above, portability. Smartphones all round. Tablet PCs will become more promonant as the prices drop too. See Pocket PC 2003 and the Compact Framework.

    Again, mentioned before, networking. Everything will be plumbed together to the extent that you'll be able to start your dinner cooking while sitting on the bus using, for example, your smartphone. Read up on Indigo in Longhorn.

    Usability and making things look pretty. Read about WinFS and Aero in Longhorn... and watch the Real Estate demo video!!! awesome stuff.

    However the biggest change this decade will be further integration of all the existing and new technologies in to every day life.. so my mother will take her tablet pc with her to the supermarket and cross off the shopping list on OneNote after downloading the shopping from the web service running on her Fridge Freezer.

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