April 17, 2006

What's Next to be Obsolete?

If I took a snapshot of today's technology appliances, they seem fairly useful - and with each passing year (in some cases, more frequently), companies are constantly issuing improvements that make them even more integral to our lives. The cell phone, the laptop, the television - each seems to own a corner in our home that doesn't look to be disrupted. But if you turn the dial back a few years, one uncovers "cutting edge" technology that seems comparably antiquated by today's standards - the 56k dial-up modem, the handheld pager, and even the VCR, are all relics that have been replaced by later, greater, things that have capitalized on the developments of the past, and moved forward.

In my home, our CRT television is probably the first to bite it. We're ready to move to a flat panel that hangs on the wall, and aren't impressed by the machine's girth or picture quality. And yes, our VCR in the other room needs to be replaced with a second TiVo unit, so long as we can stomach the monthly fees. Even our TiVo is a series one, so we're due for an upgrade there... but then what?

I think our wireless base stations are going away in two to three years. With cities and metropolitan areas adopting wide range wireless, sponsored by Google or Earthlink, etc, it may become redundant for us to offer 802.11 at the home. And my iPod, while nice and portable, should also be replaced with a device that offers songs and video on demand from any location, instantly. I may or may not "own" the music, but I can always get to it. The DVD player too will go away, replaced by movies on demand. It's already happening in some areas, and if you combine TiVo with Netflix, you're almost there. Also, personal phone numbers should be just that - for people, and not locations. I shouldn't identify a number with a person's home, work or mobile number - it should just get them anywhere, and the user would opt to be disturbed or not, through their own selection on the communications device.

And as chronicled previously, I've had it up to here with power adapters. If computers are to be truly wireless, we need to learn a way to get power the same way we do Internet - through the air, without exposing us to radiation and sterility. Somebody is going to figure this out and get rich.

There's sure to be more ideas, but one step at a time. I just won't admit to having the equivalent of an 8-track player once we get to that point...

Listening to ''Words (Mana Mix)'', by Paul Van Dyk (Play Count: 7)

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