Monday, December 15, 2008

greetings programs! or the force is with you!

Sci-fi cults are still the rage, seems we never want it to end after we are immersed. As a kid I was into Fireball XL5, Stingray and Super Car, they were science fiction series produced with marionettes, you know puppets instead of real actors. They had all the elements that are standard science fiction fare today, including the special effects. Google Gerry Anderson the genius behind them, very interesting. He also did Space 1999. Gerry's knack was great story telling, truly entertaining. Yeah I did the Lost In Space and then Star Trek thing, I can't recall the time frame. The most thrilling ones for me, Tron and Star Wars. As someone interested in building and furnishing design and then computer graphics, I was armoured by this visionary designer named Syd Mead. He had his hand into these movies. But the intriguing part was that the technology to produce the movies was being invented while the movies were being made. I get into the supplemental special feature discs because I just got to know how they made the movies. Tron was made before they had personal computers, before Jobs, Gates and Torvalds became names. It was a Unix world. What we enjoy today in graphics was pretty well worked out while Jobs and Gates were kids. They were progressors of the technology not inventors of the technology.

On my Linuxville (Xubuntu) desktop, I have an application called VLC or VideoLan media player. With the help of a few codecs (the stuff that reads video file formats), I can play consumer DVDs on my computer. What's so cool about that is the smaller display is so sharp, the detail is startling. The larger TV screen is fuzzier and because you sit back away from the screen you miss some details. I captured a screenshot of Princess Leia in the guest quarters of Bespin, Star Wars 5. I thought the architecture was stark but excitingly futuristic. And Tron, I might as well watch the movie again and again. Yes, I do collect YouTube videos, they are great for instructional subjects and of course jazz music. I really like to see the musicians in real-time performance rather than listening to doctored studio work. There are musicians who play the Chapman Stick instead of guitars and EWI (electronic wind instrument) instead of the traditional saxophone. I haven't the time to be fanatic, but to be able to amuse myself once in a while is fun.

A friend pointed out to me about video cams. You know how attached some are to their cellphone cams, but PC cams are not so utilized unless you count YouTube vids. My thought is that the Jetsons' have arrived years ago only we still can't get the videophone act together. To be able to call your friends, see and talk to them is wrought with problems. Oh, they can see me, am I presentable or will my exposure be misconstrued as porn peddling? Jane Jetson talked behind a mask when necessary, we all could have an avatar, a digital persona. We even have a big name for it, telecommuting or teleconferencing so as to isolate that activity from our daily telephone use. Hard to believe we are still uncomfortable with the concept of videophones. I guess we need a degree of privacy and anonymity. Still I would like to be able to call and see my parents, kids and grandkids, the phone call and occasional trip is just not adequate.

Predictions, yes, the mouse will slowly disappear, the mouse pad will become the pen pad. The wireless pen will be perfected. Walgreens will sell a matched pen set, a regular pen and a digital pen. The keyboard will be replaced by a digital display that has a virtual keyboard and able to double as pen input pad. The pen pad will be flexible of course. Ipods will be bluetooth, in fact the Blackberry will have ipod functions integrated into it. The ear-piece will access your phone/ipod/blackberry by voice and you will be assimilated. There will be no difference between TV/home theater equipment and computer equipment. All the elements will be interchangeable and reconfigurable. Your Blackberry will be a true universal remote as it becomes aware of all your bluetooth connections. The desktop computer will shrink to laptop size, yet still be component based. This new unit will extend the capability and power of a standard laptop. You will even be able to stack them blade server style, link them together for more power. Look for a read/write DVD for big files, movies but for small files, the jump drive will be here for ever. I hope the read/write CD stays around. Will hard drives vanish? Perhaps in the long term, but they are supreme for huge storage. You might see flash memory on the motherboard for the operating system and installed applications. Your Home directory or My Document directory should be put on a separate drive just for safety and security's sake. CRT's will become extinct to most users. If these thing aren't happening or don't, I remind you how hard it is for Yoda to see forward even via the force.

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