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Future Place of Computers?

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May 22, 2005 11:00:14 PM

Give me your opinion. I didn't really know in which forum this would fit so I just put it here. I'm trying to find out what other people think about the place of computers in our homes in the future:

<A HREF="http://nfiniti.blogspot.com/2005/05/digital-home-part-i..." target="_new">Digital Home Part I</A>

<A HREF="http://nfiniti.blogspot.com" target="_new">nfiniti plus one - my blog</A><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Chuck232 on 05/22/05 08:00 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : future place computers

May 23, 2005 1:09:23 AM

I couldn't imagine doing everything I do at my desk, on the couch. I could see myself putting a console on my desk, right next to my pc...this could change within the next 10 years, but the control schemes for consoles will have to change drastically...playing an FPS title on a console is just ridiculous at this point.

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May 23, 2005 1:42:08 PM

They definitely would have to change some of the interface hardware for consoles. I do plan on talking about that in a second part to it.

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May 23, 2005 7:05:32 PM

No offense, but I think you've got it pretty bass ackward.

PCs will always be what they are. People have been trying to prove that wrong for decades, but it never happens. Why? Because PCs are tools and TiVos, VCRs, DVD Players, Consoles, TV web/mail boxes, etc. are just toys.

What will happen is that your PC will remain your PC. Perhaps, thanks to ever improving wireless networking, your PC will eventually become the central hub to other consumer electronics. You may see an emergence of common cute little server boxes and PVRs that network into your actual PC for a much improved storage space. Same for radios becoming wireless MP3 clients to your PC file server. The search features for these recordings will probably even be databases stored and run by the actual PC. This way the electronics in the set top devices can remain dirt cheap and sell for good margins, while the margins on actual PCs will remain as slim as always.

At most the PC will become a media server and the number of wireless media client toys will increase. So in the end, the PC will be what it always was and always will be, a highly useful general purpose tool for the skilled. And the toys will still be toys.

<pre><font color=green><i>Jesters do oft prove prophets.</i> -Regan in
King Lear (Act V, Scene iii) by William Shakespear</font color=green></pre><p>@ 188K -> 200,000 miles or bust!
May 23, 2005 7:14:38 PM

Siver Phoenix has a point...

But Chuckster, YOU ROCK!!!

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
May 23, 2005 7:43:07 PM

Mmmm... I tend to disagree.

Quote:
PCs will always be what they are. People have been trying to prove that wrong for decades, but it never happens. Why? Because PCs are tools and TiVos, VCRs, DVD Players, Consoles, TV web/mail boxes, etc. are just toys.

In the past, computers have never had the allure as they do today. While they're still somewhat scary inventions to be used and nothing more, they've come a long way. They're miniaturizing and are finding their way to many positions outside the normal PC usage.

Quote:
What will happen is that your PC will remain your PC. Perhaps, thanks to ever improving wireless networking, your PC will eventually become the central hub to other consumer electronics. You may see an emergence of common cute little server boxes and PVRs that network into your actual PC for a much improved storage space. Same for radios becoming wireless MP3 clients to your PC file server. The search features for these recordings will probably even be databases stored and run by the actual PC. This way the electronics in the set top devices can remain dirt cheap and sell for good margins, while the margins on actual PCs will remain as slim as always.

But why is that a PC can become the central hub to your A/V rack but cannot take over altogether? After all even your consumer electronics are much like simple computers. Basically they're dedicated towards a single role. That's exactly why I think computers will take over this space. They're much more ummm... what's the word I'm looking for here [insert word for 'good at many things'].

Quote:
At most the PC will become a media server and the number of wireless media client toys will increase. So in the end, the PC will be what it always was and always will be, a highly useful general purpose tool for the skilled. And the toys will still be toys.

The only reason a PC is for the 'highly skilled' is because of the path these computer companies have chosen to take. I believe these new consoles will show the PC makers that there is great potential in the home theatre type market. Quite a few people do use their computer as a multimedia station at home but if they pick up a PS3, they may soon see that a computer is almost useless aside from talking on MSN or whatever. Then computers would almost have to migrate into a set top box form factor with added features like the internet, which would make the majority of computers obsolete for the average user. They just need to make computers less complicated to use by incorporating more intuitive menus and/or self-explanatory options.

<A HREF="http://nfiniti.blogspot.com" target="_new">nfiniti plus one - my blog</A>
May 25, 2005 9:55:24 AM

chuck is onto something in that last paragraph. i was talking to a few people in intel (getting the inside scoop as it were) a few weeks ago. i had read a paper on the development of HD audio and multiple audio streams and the replacements they were developing for the AC97 to achieve this and so i got talking to a few of the tech developer types out there (their main plant is about 20mins out the road from where i live)

anywhoo, they have a whole line of set-top style boxes in development at the moment and are hoping to be able to release the first model around christmas '06. the range is to include one box which will allow wireless streaming of multiple HD audio streams to different locations in the house, another will allow the same for video. these devices will be modular units with integrated storage so that you might have 100GB of music in 4-5 different playlists in the audio box and it will stream them simultaniously to different rooms in the house (same for video). there are also plans for another bluetooth unit which will communicate with the likes of mobile phones and PDA's, automatically and instantly backing up their data and synchronising them as per the user preferences.

i personally would prefer for all the parts for these facilities to be made available to the PC enthusiast so that he/she may custom build their own unit however that doesn't seem to be on the cards at the moment. the units will initially be designed as modular devices only, kinda like the old stackable stereo systems.

... on another note, i also asked them how they felt about the war with AMD. hehehe... got all sorts of publicity approved and definetly scripted answers. t'was fun to watch some of them squirm at the questions though. :D 

________________________________________________________
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May 25, 2005 2:54:34 PM

Quote:
Mmmm... I tend to disagree.

I had already figured that much, based on your articles. :) 

Quote:
In the past, computers have never had the allure as they do today. While they're still somewhat scary inventions to be used and nothing more, they've come a long way. They're miniaturizing and are finding their way to many positions outside the normal PC usage.

I generally hate to ask this, but how old are you? Since Win95 PCs haven't really gotten much easier to use. They haven't come a long way at all. And even then Win 3.x wasn't so difficult to use either, it just sucked at multitasking.

But it's not just that. Since the early 90s I've seen DJs (and wannabes) use small form factor AT boxes with Pentium133s to encode and play audio to use as a replacement for tapes/CDs, especially at gigs where they just want to create a nice large playlist. To them the MP3 format was a godsend, even if it took forever to encode the files. Yeah, it was a lot more expensive to do that then than it is now, and it took a little more dedication, but it's been done by enthusiasts for over a decade.

Heck, I used to have my PC wired into my TV to capture audio clips. And I had a cousin doing the same for audio <i>and</i> video. And that was in '96. I knew other friends doing it in '94. (In fact, that was where we had gotten the idea.)

My point? In ten years they really haven't miniaturized much at all and they've been used for the same kind of thing all this time. Yet nothing has really changed.

Quote:
But why is that a PC can become the central hub to your A/V rack but cannot take over altogether? After all even your consumer electronics are much like simple computers. Basically they're dedicated towards a single role. That's exactly why I think computers will take over this space. They're much more ummm... what's the word I'm looking for here [insert word for 'good at many things'].

Theoretically they could. And embedded Linux has really made applications like this a lot easier than it was in years past. But there are three giant flaws to this ever becoming anything more than a PC enthusiast's pet project:

1) Computers are general purpose. Because they're not tailored to specific tasks nearly as efficiently as consumer electronic devices, they will cost <i>a lot</i> more to accomplish the same things.

2) The margins on computers and computer equipment are very low. The margins on consumer electronics on the other hand can get pretty high. So consumer elecronics just simply make their manufacturers and resellers a lot more money than computers do.

3) An idiot can turn on a radio or play a DVD because consumer electronics are typically meant for one and only one task, their user interface is as obvious as a frying pan to the forehead. Compared to that level of simplicity, computers are very confusing and/or complicated to do the same tasks.

So to sum up, computers are frustratingly more complex, cost more, and make manufacturers less money when compared to consumer electronics.

Quote:
The only reason a PC is for the 'highly skilled' is because of the path these computer companies have chosen to take.

Hardly. Computers are for the 'highly skilled' because they're just plain more complex to use than a calculator, a VCR, etc. You have to boot them up, find your program, and then run it. Even if you take out the complexities of programs themselves, file systems, logins, etc. it's still a process that daunts many people in this world.

Quote:
I believe these new consoles will show the PC makers that there is great potential in the home theatre type market.

Perhaps you're not aware that the XBox <i>is</i> a computer, through and through? The last generation of consoles proved that this could be done simply and effectively. Yet nothing has changed.

Quote:
Quite a few people do use their computer as a multimedia station at home but if they pick up a PS3, they may soon see that a computer is almost useless aside from talking on MSN or whatever.

Various nefarious gamer nitpicks have been saying this since the Nintendo NES. (And maybe even earlier than that.) Yet computers have only grown in usage since then instead of died off. I wonder why that is?

No, in truth, I don't wonder. Computers simply do more. They're a tool for a million and one tasks, all depending on your hardware and software. They're a word processor. They're an internet portal. They're a game station. They're an audio/video media device. They're a storage medium. They're a searchable database. They're a graphic editor. They're a 3D render device. They're a CD copier. And so on. And if a computer isn't what you want it to be, all that it takes is a software and/or hardware upgrade to make them so.

So not only are they a much more powerful tool than anything a console could ever replace, but they're also extensible. And as soon as you turn a computer into a consumer electronic, you greatly mitigate its extensibility.

Not only are computers-turned-consumer-electronics economically disadvantageous to manufacturers, but they're also no longer the tools that many people need them to be.

Basically, general purpose PCs and task-specific consumer electronics will always be two completely seperate and necessary markets that are only occasionally bridged by enthusiasts and areas where economic losses from hardware are not of primary concern.

<pre><font color=green><i>Jesters do oft prove prophets.</i> -Regan in
King Lear (Act V, Scene iii) by William Shakespear</font color=green></pre><p>@ 188K -> 200,000 miles or bust!
May 25, 2005 3:43:56 PM

When was the last time you where there? :smile:
May 25, 2005 3:52:25 PM

Are you from Charlottetown?
May 25, 2005 3:53:03 PM

Quote:
No, in truth, I don't wonder. Computers simply do more. They're a tool for a million and one tasks, all depending on your hardware and software. They're a word processor. They're an internet portal. They're a game station. They're an audio/video media device. They're a storage medium. They're a searchable database. They're a graphic editor. They're a 3D render device. They're a CD copier. And so on. And if a computer isn't what you want it to be, all that it takes is a software and/or hardware upgrade to make them so.

So not only are they a much more powerful tool than anything a console could ever replace, but they're also extensible. And as soon as you turn a computer into a consumer electronic, you greatly mitigate its extensibility.

Not only are computers-turned-consumer-electronics economically disadvantageous to manufacturers, but they're also no longer the tools that many people need them to be.

Basically, general purpose PCs and task-specific consumer electronics will always be two completely seperate and necessary markets that are only occasionally bridged by enthusiasts and areas where economic losses from hardware are not of primary concern.

I couldn't agree with this more... well except for the part where you say there will always be the two independent markets. I believe these two markets will slowly converge into one. You will always have the coffee maker, but it will be controlled by the computer (is this not just an extension of the computer), you will always have your TV, but it will be controlled by the computer, you will always have the gaming "station" but it will be controlled by the computer. As such the markets on consumer goods will be very much linked to the PC market, as some manufacturers will provide "AMD compatable" coffee makers, and others will provide "Intel compatable" coffee makers (these will obviously get your coffee hotter).

I, like Chuck see the PC becoming a central hub in the home. But like slvr_phoenix, I do not believe that the consoles will replace computers, computers are just too powerful, and essential to our day to day lives... if anything we are becoming more dependent on computers, not less.
May 25, 2005 6:55:59 PM

I haven't said that computers will be replaced by consoles. Hardly, I'm saying that computers will move from their current position in the corner of the home to be used only when necessary to a more central position in the multimedia centre. I'm merely pointing to that fact that the new consoles are integrating more and more of the features you normally see only on dedicated computers.

And yeah, I am from Charlottetown. Great little place to be. (no computer shops around really though :frown: )

<A HREF="http://nfiniti.blogspot.com" target="_new">nfiniti plus one - my blog</A>
May 25, 2005 7:56:56 PM

Computers will be around forever plain and simple. Why would you ask that? Opposed to consoles? Consoles are for games ONLY. Pc's have much more capabilites than a stupid console. Computers are everywhere. In everything. WHat would replace the computer A holadeck? (Startrek)

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May 25, 2005 9:23:25 PM

You asked my opinon, here it is: you're not much of a prophet. You think consoles not being able to browse the web or sending email is a sign of things to come ? Have another look at the xbox360 or PS3.

On interfaces, you seem to suggest that wireless "couch keyboards" would allow some sort of revolution.. seriously :|

Voice recognition ? that has been prophetized for more than 4 decades, and it hasnt happened, and it likely never will far beyond its current popularity. Two simple reasons:
1) people don't like to talk to devices for both obvious and less obvious reasons
2) problem is not recognizing the speech, but interpreting it.

Most of your thoughts/predictions/whishes will be obsolete in 2 years, as so far they are not yet now.

Now if you ask me where computers will go, I would guess they will mostly dissapear. That is, become invisible, like most mature techonology does. Emedded in all sorts of devices and appliances, all talking to each other and the net, a PC will become a thing of the past.

You'll still have something like a screen, but it could just as well be embedded in your baseball cap, sunglasses and projected on your car windscreen. Not "or", but AND. And you can probably fold one and put it your shirt pocket, or maybe even beam a display on any wall from your ballpoint. For sure though, you will NOT need to sit behind your desk to interact with your "pc".

You will also still have some thing like an imput device, could be a keyboard for some applications, but for most things it will be stuff like gesture recognition, voice recognition (for dictation), touch screen or projected keyboards or all of these together, depending where you are, what you need. For most common uses however, you won't need a complex input device at all. There is no point in having 102 keys to interact with your music collection. Again, you will not be needing to sit behind a keyboard/mouse to do 99% of your "PC" usage.

And lastly of course we also need something resembling the PC of today, with the processing power and data storage. Again, 'invisible' appliances will already provide a good deal of the storage and processing power you need, things like your personal communicator device (gsm/skype/pda/camera/ipod/), but also your car, fridge and even tennis shoes. and my guess is everything else regarding both data and processing will be outside your house, somewhere in a datacenter, and it will come to you through cables, radio waves or satellites where and when you need it.

In 10, maybe 20 years, asking "how many computers do you own" will be a question that is as silly as asking "how much electricity do you own" today.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
May 25, 2005 9:28:13 PM

And education will be an implant in your brain, instead of 4 or 6 year degrees, will simply be a matter of a flash update, of coarse the extent of which will be determined on your lineage and connections, for there will still be a need for dumb workers.

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
May 25, 2005 11:29:28 PM

[sigh]

In no way have I said computers would dissappear... I'm not entirely sure where you people are getting that notion. I'm saying it'll move from its current position in the house.

But whatever, I'm just speaking my mind a bit.

<A HREF="http://nfiniti.blogspot.com" target="_new">nfiniti plus one - my blog</A>
May 26, 2005 1:06:25 AM

I think everyone here has there own idea's as to where the home computer may go... they may all be right... give time anything is possible.

1. Home Entertainment Systems will likely include:

Screens: LCD, Plasma, projection...etc
Speakers: 1.1(YSP1 + sub), 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, 8.2...whatever your fancy
Console: licence of choice (no console required, simply intergated into server) input device are wireless
Tuner/Amp: power/quality of choice
Input devices: remote, keyboard, controlers...etc.

2. Computer/Server:
Hooked up to all other stations...<b>integrated into the home</b>
a) <b>Livingroom/familyroom</b> - home entertainment centre
b) <b>bedrooms</b> - similar to current home computers, plus console networking
c) <b>kitchen</b>
d) <b>office</b>
e) <b>whatever else</b>





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May 26, 2005 3:42:29 AM

Last time I was up there was in 88. Loads of family there. Love PEI :smile:
May 27, 2005 5:16:40 PM

Quote:
I want CPUs to be made from brain cells... then proceed overclocking it!

Read <A HREF="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05/27/nanotubes_neuro..." target="_new">this</A>.

Granted, I want the opposite. I want a hardware CPU that can be implanted into a brain. It can be accessed to perform calculations and querries such as mathematics, grammar, spelling, or maybe even language translation for instantanious results for the things that our brains are slower at (or less than perfect at without years of studying). And, of course, it will also index the actual organic data structures stored in the brain so that you can recall any memory instantly and with excellent clarity. And then add to that a direct neural interface for typing, mousing, sending media, etc. input into a computer and recieving audio/video output from the computer all by 'thinking' it.

That's my computer of the future. Of course it may be a century off or just plain made illegal at the rate we're going. :\

<pre><font color=green><i>Jesters do oft prove prophets.</i> -Regan in
King Lear (Act V, Scene iii) by William Shakespear</font color=green></pre><p>@ 188K -> 200,000 miles or bust!
May 27, 2005 10:00:56 PM

i see something like that being illigal simply because people suck.

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May 29, 2005 12:34:35 AM

How did I know the question of overclocking something like that would come into play here? Sheesh...

Wusy, you're always consistent for that...



<font color=blue> Did you know that 89.72% of all quoted statistics are false? </font color=blue>
May 30, 2005 7:05:40 PM

I read that within 5 years, it will be common to implant transistors in the brain to control mice and prosthetic limbs, and eventually, will be able to use this control to send electrical impulses to your own limbs to enable the person to function again using his own muscles and limbs.
This is where technology is going. They already have successfully done this to monkeys, and a few test quadriplegics.
And it works.
Thought control is where computer tech is heading!

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
May 31, 2005 12:34:20 AM

What continues to suprise me is the lack of output modules. Today's pc is powerfull enough to take on funtions like lighting control, alarm systems, temperature control, and a raft of other things. Anybody know where I can get a pci card with powerline switching outputs?
May 31, 2005 1:56:06 PM

Quote:
w00tz!
Can you overclock it?

Sure! Just be very careful about cooling it properly. It's bad enough having a computer overheat, but when that computer is implanted in your brain, overheating can be <i>very</i> bad. :o 

<pre><font color=orange><i>Jesters do oft prove prophets.</i> -Regan in
King Lear (Act V, Scene iii) by William Shakespear</font color=orange></pre><p>@ 189K -> 200,000 miles or bust!
May 31, 2005 1:57:22 PM

Quote:
Anybody know where I can get a pci card with powerline switching outputs?

I would think that USB devices would be the better route to take with that.

<pre><font color=orange><i>Jesters do oft prove prophets.</i> -Regan in
King Lear (Act V, Scene iii) by William Shakespear</font color=orange></pre><p>@ 189K -> 200,000 miles or bust!
!