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The Future of Ubiquitous Computers

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the more-than-meets-the-eye dept.

Hardware 145

An anonymous reader writes "Is there any end to this ubiquitous computing thing? Plants that send thank you notes, player pianos that follow the dancer's movements, and umbrellas that warn you of upcoming rain are just a few of the uses of embedded computers described in this article from the NY Times. Laptops seem so dull when it's easy to embed chips, install a Linux distro and sew them into your clothes. Do we really need to wear our computers? Why can't the world be happy with a good old desktop? It was good enough for the PC generation."

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SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019650)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
the future of ubiquitous goatse [goatse.ch]

This is a stupid article. (5, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019660)

Technology continues its inevitable march forward for the simple reason that it can, and it's usually profitable for someone to advance it.

Re:This is a stupid article. (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019708)

Exactly.

Who wants to call a house? People want to call a person.

The desktop computer is akin to the wired landline.

The laptop may be akin to the car phones or the monster sized cell phones of the past.

I don't want to go to my desk. Not for my phone and not for my computer. But it in my pocket. Bring on the borg.

Re:This is a stupid article. (4, Insightful)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021248)

While embedded devices will be nice for grabbing information on the fly, or for integrating computers with other activities, I don't think laptops and desktops are going anywhere. When doing work such as coding, writing, graphics, etc., people are still going to want a nice big display, full keyboard, and a chair to sit down in.

Re:This is a stupid article. (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022300)

As a comedian said, bring on the tounge phone.

*Tounge Cluck*
"Hello? Oh yeah, I can meat you at 5. Wait, I have another call comeing in."
*Cluck* *Cluck*
"Hello? Mom, I told you yes I will be there this weekend for the party. Yes, Yes, I'm on the other line right now with Jim. Ok Bye."
*Cluck* *Cluck*
"Hey Jim, sorry bout that, it was my mom. Yeah she wants me to go to granpa's birthday". . . . .

Isnt the future great?

Re:This is a stupid article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23021808)

I want my house to *be* (or at least pretend to be) a person that I can call.

Re:This is a stupid article. (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022594)

I like your analogies.

What I'm looking forward to is 15 years from now, when my kids ask "Dad, why do you still use a 'desktop' computer?" dismissively telling me its "quaint".

And me saying "When I was your age, I had nothing but a 14" CRT running CGA, using an 8086 processor running at 4mhz (8mhz Turbo), and only 640k of ram. And I *liked* it!"

The kids would then look at me like I'm crazy, and go back to their wristwatch computers that project a 60" image on the wall.

Re:This is a stupid article. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019736)

plus they'll figure out a way to get myspace on it and totally ruin it.

Re:This is a stupid article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019850)

This article is retarded, "why can't everyone use abacuses (abacii?) and scratch cuneform into rocks! I do and its fine for me."

Some people need to fucking devolve and stop wasting our time. Humanity is about moving forward, it's what we do, it's why we're king of the food chain.

Honestly, where do people get off bitching about embedded computing? Do they even understand what it means for our advancement? The only conclusion I can see is that they don't want to advance.

This is a stupid post (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019998)

Not only did you not read the article, you misread the submission. You seem to have taken the question "Why can't the world be happy with a good old desktop?" at face value. Please go read this [wikipedia.org] and give it another try.

Re:This is a stupid article. (1)

bluemetal (1269852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020010)

I don't think the article is stupid, but I do agree that the ball is rolling and there is pretty much no way to stop it baring a global catastrophe or some sort of comprehensive religious fervor.

obligitory (2, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019670)

I for one am thankful for my PC

and my laptop, and server and web appliances, and coke^h^h^h^hredbull machine that knows my debit car by heart

Re:obligitory (2)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019680)

damn, I forgot the D in CARD. I guess I should have proofread.

Re:obligitory (0, Troll)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019712)

Yeah, all that hurry and you still didn't get FRIST PSOST!

20 years from now (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019692)

20 years from now the mobile computer of the future will have 100+mbps wimax, be the size of a RAZR, contain a holographic projector (that also works in 2D to save on battery), and a built in laser keyboard. We're halfway there, with the upcoming 3G iPhone. Bluetooth laser keyboard is already avalible, and the iPhone has audio/video out via the port on the bottom. The Mini-Note has a son-of-PCMCIA slot for wireless internet everywhere already. You can't really get much practically smaller than that without losing durability or keyboard size (IBM thinkpad butterfly keyboard, anyone?) The age of the "anywhere PC" has arrived - just bring extra batteries. The home PC will always exist in some fashion, be it the XBOX 980 or PS9 for more immersive content, the workstation for creation of such content, but I think the personal machine will be be a laptop of EEE size with capability to sync with the multi/mega-terabyte home server (which may or may not be hosted remotely, say, as part of your gmail account). A chubby thin client.

Re:20 years from now (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020006)

I would hope that 20 years from now, the higher end portable computers would have a direct retinal link or contact lens screen, and use sub-vocals for input. Why look at a screen when you could look at augmented reality? [howstuffworks.com] As you said, we are at least half way to the mobile computer you describe with the next generation of the iPhone, I expect that tech to arrive in the next five to ten years. I expect twenty years from now for computer interfaces to be integrated in an almost cyborg like fashion.

Re:20 years from now (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020052)

Sure, in 20 years those sort of implants will be available, but having one will make you look like the fat guy wearing his shirt tucked in, comfortable socks under sandals with his trusty treo attached to his belt. The vocal minority will now say "why do i need a holographic projector and full size keyboard in my cell phone? all i need is a 8mp camera, web browser, day planner! oh, and voice." and everyone else will just follow the trends of the uber computer that also still makes voice calls. It's going to take a lot longer than 20 years for implants to become the norm, IMO.

Re:20 years from now (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022340)

I like the implication that if you can augment your reality, you can give the blind reality. Go Georde from star trek.

Re:20 years from now (1)

jtgd (807477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020202)

I don't think so. What you describe is technology in reach now. 20 years from now we will be using something you could never predict today.

Re:20 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020670)

Exactly. If I had mod points I would mod you up.

20 years ago a 16 Mhz machine with 1MB of RAM was top of the line and the PC as we know it was just starting to become widespread. Most people were still using specialized hardware (Amiga, Atari, etc.).

Shit, 20 years ago an affordable hard-drive was 20 MB. Nowadays we're looking at 1 TB drives. That's fifty-thousand times more storage space in 20 years.

MSN did a thing on this: 1988 cs. 2008 [msn.com]

Re:20 years from now (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020728)

Yes but in reach for whom? Cell phones were avalible in 1985 but 19 year old community college dropout pot head who worked at the local pizza place couldn't afford a new one on his wages. Hell the head of the average household couldn't even afford one. I don't know what your definition of Ubiquitous is, but that's mine. Right now boob jobs are around 3-5 grand, more simple surgery like a guy's tubes snipped is still close to a grand. Hell, non medical surgery like dental work runs $780 and up for crowns, etc. The most a "pothead" can really afford in terms of luxuries is $300 or so. I guess if you flew to the carribian to get the surgery done - oh wait airfare costs $300 alone. There's a lower limit to biological implants and people near the poverty level are not positioned to get them.

Keyboards? Why? (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021014)

Given all the jaw dropping videos by johnny Lee (you know, wii vr headtracking) what makes you say that we will need keyboards in the future? at the very least, all we need is a camera and an LED projecting an image of a keyboard onto a flat surface to emulate a keyboard. You want to know where the future is headed? INTUITIVE. USER. INPUT. That's if they don't have our brains directly wired into our cell phones in 20 years anyways.

Re:Keyboards? Why? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021342)

all we need is a camera and an LED projecting an image of a keyboard onto a flat surface to emulate a keyboard.
 
Do a google search for "laser keyboard". I dare you. Or Ebay. I double dare you. Did you even read my post? Nub.

Re:20 years from now (1)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022838)

You are still thinking about a single mulit-function device, and yet experience throughout human history generally seems to indicate that we prefer to use single pupose, dedicated tools. My phone has a calendar, mp3 player etc, but I still have a diary and a separate mp3 player.

Where I think this is going is that the computers will become "invisible" and we will have the "computer-less office" (i.e. one where you cant see the computers). Want to take notes, write them in your note book book (automatically backed up and shareable). Need to make an appointment, write it in your diary but then view it on your phone, over the web, send it to your friends.

Multi-purpose tools will always be a hassle, let me do what comes naturally and let the "computers" be clever enough to not get in the way.

Always need PC's to hack... (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019716)

Into your food to make you poop yourself and then into your pants so that you can't take your pants off and have to walk around with poopy in them, but, at least, we'll hack into your plants and make them smell like poopy too, so that, in the very least, you'll come out smelling like a rose even if you are walking around in your own poop.

Lets all go home. (5, Insightful)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019718)

"It was good enough for the PC generation."

Horses were good enough for getting around with until someone came up with the idea of a car. I don't know why the idea that things are 'good enough' is so prevalent - complacency and familiarity maybe? This question smacks of sentiments like "in my day, we only got 3 TV stations - and we were GLAD for it". Some curmudgeon could start this conversation about any topic, really. What about CPUs - aren't they fast enough?

I could go on, but I think my post is already good enough.

Re:Lets all go home. (5, Funny)

Anguirel (58085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019758)

Back in my day, Slashdot IDs only had 5 numbers, and that was good enough for us! You young whippersnappers, with your 6-digit IDs... And those durn kids still won't get off my lawn!

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019800)

Back in my day, Slashdot IDs only had 5 [digits]

Slashdot IDs still only have 5 digits. What, am I the only one who looks at numbers in the proper sexagesimal [wikipedia.org] format?

Re:Lets all go home. (2, Funny)

Anguirel (58085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020132)

Technically, digit would imply base-8, base-10, or base-20, being based off the original meaning of finger or toe. You got me when I used numbers in the first part, though.

Whippersnappers, with their new-fangled math, counting on things that aren't fingers or toes...

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022386)

Young wipper snapper, why back in my day we only used binary. Probly cause all our fingers and toe's were blown of in the war, but hell; Your number 100000010011100100100. That is at least 10101 numbers long I recon. *Spit* . . . *Putoon ring*

Re:Lets all go home. (2, Funny)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020252)

Get of my lawn!

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

Michael Snoswell (3461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021570)

'Cause when I was a lad there was only a handful of users on the internet so we didn't need numbers, as you knew everyone by name anyway. All you had to remember was a few IP numbers for the ftp servers and everyone's email adress just had their first name with @.[edu|com|org|net] In fact most of the time you could guess someone's email address and get it right.

Of course some jerks spoilt it by introducing gophers, and veronicas and wais and then those crazy CERN clowns tipped mosaic onto Mr Clark and young Andreesson (whom I recall exchanging emails with after I guessed his address). It's all gone to the dogs since then. No I don't want to buy any cookies and don't walk on the lawn as you're leaving!

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022480)

I had a crappy student email at Georgia Tech. I was "gt4236a". I still want to get that tattooed somewhere.

Ma Tech: You are a number, not a name. You aren't even a unique number, many had to share (thus the letter a on the end).

Re:Lets all go home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23021714)

Get of my lawn!

Wow, a quarter of the words are spelled wrong, and it's modded "Funny" instead of "Redundant".

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022346)

PUSA - Back Porch [presidentsrock.com] [presidentsrock.com]

Old man on the back porch
Old man on the back porch
Old man on the back porch
And that old man is me

Compromise, compromise (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019864)

Not everyone wants faster CPUs. Faster CPUs are only important in some situations.

The same advances that give us faster CPUs also allow us to have the same speed CPUs cheaper and using less power. That allows the CPUs to be used in situations that were not possible a few years back.

You can now buy 32-bit single-chip CPUs for less that $1 (including RAM, flash etc), and 8-bit micros for less than 50c. These won't run Linux, but they can still do a lot of useful work.

Low power is a very important consideration in many applications. Some products will live on a single factory installed coin-sized battery for their whole lifetime (5 years +) without needing a recharge. Achieving this requires very careful and frugal coding and is not something you'd try with Linux etc (well not for a long time), and might not even use C for.

Thus there is still a need for the curmudgeons that can build a system that has only 100 bytes of RAM and a 50kHz CPU and always will be.

Re:Compromise, compromise (4, Insightful)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019956)

Not everyone wants faster CPUs. Faster CPUs are only important in some situations.
Okay, that might not have been the best example, but it seems to me a common one that is raised in cases where that reasoning doesn't always apply - where there is a benefit to faster CPUs. I've seen that argument for years about home computers, but surprise surprise, people find new uses for having a more powerful processor in modern computers. People can now play complex games, watch movies, make movies, etc... There was a time not too long ago when computers would have struggled to play a youtube video.

Thus there is still a need for the curmudgeons that can build a system that has only 100 bytes of RAM and a 50kHz CPU and always will be.

I don't really see this as curmudgeony as much as I see it as practical. Sometimes all you need is 100 bytes of RAM.

But the submitter seems to be saying flat out that all this ubiquitous computing stuff is useless, and you should all just get a desktop instead. Instead of saying "be practical, use the right tool for the right job", the message seems to be the rather subjective notion that "This ubiquitous computing is nonsense; it can't possibly do anything new of value, or do anything better than a desktop PC, so just get a Desktop PC."

Nonsense. Just like with more powerful processors in home PCs, someone will think of something, if they haven't already.

Re:Compromise, compromise (4, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020096)

You're thinking right.

Embedded space is very different to desktop space. Unless you're a Luddite, your world is full of embedded CPUS: phones, garage door openers, microwave ovens, refridgerators etc etc. People have decided that the price point for a computer is somewhere in the $500-$1500 range and keep trying to sell more and more capability in that price range.

You don't need a very sophisticated CPU to run a washing machine and "enough is enough". An 8-bitter costing less than a buck will do it. As a design engineer I might have the choice to replace the 8-bit micro in the last design with a 32-bitter at the same price, or a new 8-bit part that costs half the price of the old one. Unless we're adding new features that need extra CPU, the 32-bit micro won't make the washing machine work any better so really adds no customer value, so I would choose the cheaper 8-bit micro and the company saves on material costs.

The desk-top software writers might think that Moore's Law will always give them more CPU power, RAM etc and thus efficient coding does not matter. That thinking is OK if you accept that current prices are OK. However Moore's Law can be ridden the other way too: the same resources are getting cheaper and cheaper. We're limited in what solutions we can consider when we have to pay $1 for the micro + battery. But when we can get a micro and battery for 20c or 10c we can suddenly consider using a micro for a whole lot of new applications. To keep riding that wave needs frugal thinking. People who think in gigaHz and gigabytes need not apply.

Re:Compromise, compromise (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020356)

I think Moore's law was originally about cost, that the number of components per cost doubles every year or two.

So really, this drop tp having cheap 32 bit procs is really Moore's law.

And it really looks like we are hitting a wall in top end speed. 1 GHz was top back at the turn of the century. Now we are still doing only around 3 GHz. Of course, they are now 64 bit and multi core, but I am not sure the effective serial speed has increased at the traditional Moores law pace, although the economic version or Moore's law holds.

Re:Compromise, compromise (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021722)

You don't get more speed, you do get more power. How useful this is depends largely on if you're software supports multi threading. Most of the software I run doesn't, the software that does, wouldn't be runnable at all without multicore.

Multicore is also useful if you need an entire core devoted to running bloated background processes.

Re:Compromise, compromise (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022964)

You can run multi-threaded processes without having a multi-core CPU, but it's only efficient for processes that do a lot of waiting for I/O to complete. I remember a Usenet binaries downloading program called Newsbin that could be configured to run, I think, eight thread simultaneously. You're right about multi-core allowing multi-threaded processes that need lots of number crunching, though.

Re:Compromise, compromise (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020262)

There was a time not too long ago when computers would have struggled to play a youtube video.
And there's a time, right now, when a 1.25GHz Core2Duo struggles just to run Vista. Yet an ancient 800MHz G4 runs OSX 10.4.x just fine. That sort of suggests that the problem lies not with the hardware, but what we're asking of it - and, perhaps more pertinently, why we're asking it to do it.

Instead of saying "be practical, use the right tool for the right job", the message seems to be the rather subjective notion that "This ubiquitous computing is nonsense; it can't possibly do anything new of value, or do anything better than a desktop PC, so just get a Desktop PC."
Funny, I read it as " Right now , this ubiquitous computing is nonsense ..." - which, to be honest, it pretty much is. It's still very much a solution looking for a problem to solve. I've no doubt that one day it'll find the right problem, and we'll all suddenly wonder how we managed to live without a solution for so long, but that day isn't today, or even in the forseeable future...

Re:Compromise, compromise (1)

superyooser (100462) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020952)

but surprise surprise, people find new uses for having a more powerful processor in modern computers.

New "uses":

Windows 98
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7

No surprise. Just a couple of Windows' generations ago, 256 MB of system memory was considered wildly excessive. Vista laughs out loud at that spec. Just to run the plain OS!

Re:Lets all go home. (0, Redundant)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020116)

What about CPUs - aren't they fast enough?

      Also don't forget that 640k should be enough for anybody.

Re:Lets all go home. (5, Interesting)

dogzilla (83896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020142)

Agree with Teacher. You could just as easily have said "Why can't the world be happy with a good old mainframe?". I'm getting kind of annoyed by all these people who were on the cutting edge of tech, advocating radical change 10 years ago, and today are advocating holding back the tide of change they rode to success. It was annoying when the boomers did it, and it's just as annoying when GenXers do it today.

My guess is it stems from the same source - a fear of change, fear of becoming irrelevant and/or having your skills become outdated. Learn to surf or drown, but shut up in either case.

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022826)

People get to an age, and they don't like change anymore. Simple fact of life. The older you get, the more resistant you get.

Re:Lets all go home. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020204)

No, my 3.2ghz quad core isn't fast enough. It still doesn't do everything I want done instantly.

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

bwchato (1269588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020738)

you could go on and on but so could the guy that said what happened to the old desktop.If i can't have my two 22" monitors it is'nt worth losing my eyesite looking at a little piece of shit

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

bwchato (1269588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020848)

by the way,i had 6 TV channels.I'm 56 and have been on disability for 8 years.In that time i figured out how to use,fix,and build computers by myself.If they keep making things smaller i won't be able to build my own because of the size and the fact that a lot of things that were fixed in my time are thrown away now.

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021452)

I don't know why the idea that things are 'good enough' is so prevalent - complacency and familiarity maybe?
It totally depends on the person. I always turn such sentences around.

Statement: "It was good enough for the PC generation!"
Answer: "So, why don't you need improvements?"

This calls upon the person making the statement to think about what he said. Because often that's not the case at all.

Re:Lets all go home. (1)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021604)

Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

The Salmon of Doubt [wikiquote.org] , by Douglas Adams

Re:Lets all go home. (3, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021690)

Very often some things are "good enough" for a long period of time. Some examples:
-AK-47, built in 1947
-Subsonic passenger jets
-The horse, fastest way to get around for thousands of years.
-C, SQL
-The car, versus the "flying car".

Why development of something plateaus has everything to do with limits to optimization, efficiency, network effect, cost benefit analysis, diminishing marginal returns, return on investment, political and legislative situations. Complacency and familiarity are important, but there are certainly many, many more factors involved.

Sure I'd like an infinitely fast CPU, a commercially viable fusion reactor and a flying car while I'm at it. Some things are hard, and breakthroughs are difficult to schedule.

what an idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019740)

Why can't the world be happy with a good old desktop? It was good enough for the PC generation.

what an idiot

I'm looking for a wearable video camera (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019756)

I'm looking for a wearable video camera. Resolution can be low, as well as frame rate. 320x240 at 6 frames per second would be enough. It should store on an SD or micro SD card. Maybe it can run from a watch battery or a rechargeable battery (recharged via USB maybe). The smaller the better.

Re:I'm looking for a wearable video camera (1)

coresnake (1215632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019834)

I saw some sunglasses with a built in camera and remote control this week can't remember where though could have been techeblog

Re:I'm looking for a wearable video camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019866)

A pr0n site i bet...

Re:I'm looking for a wearable video camera (1)

throatmonster (147275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019876)

supercircuits [supercircuits.com] . they have them.

Re:I'm looking for a wearable video camera (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020782)

They only have one camera/recorder combination that uses memory cards. And they are limited to SD cards no larger than 2G (e.g. no SDHC cards). Maybe this is because they are doing 640x480 at 30fps. I don't need that much. 320x240 at 6fps will meet my need. But I do need 9 hours recording time (and that long on one battery charge).

Re:I'm looking for a wearable video camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23020964)

I don't need that much. 320x240 at 6fps will meet my need. But I do need 9 hours recording time (and that long on one battery charge).
I have to ask... Just what exactly are you planning to do with this?

You keep talking about "your needs" and I just find that a little bit of a peculiar need. :-) Do you want to do a time-lapse of your day or something? And if so, how critical is this to your continued existence?

It doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would benefit most people's lives that much. Unless you connected it to GPS or something. (Think Google Street View with millions of cameras.)

Slashvertisment... (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019772)

While I thought the products listed at sparkfun were interesting, it neither is it an article, nor does it add to the actual article.

If I was more clever, I would find a good pun in that the only thing it did 'add' was an 'ad'.

Desktop? what? (4, Interesting)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019780)

As soon as i get a decent set of HUD glasses and a nice cording keyboard, i'm throwing my phone and laptop away and building a gargoyle rig.

Re:Desktop? what? (1)

FlatWhatson (802600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021086)

Hell yeah! You can't exactly use a keyboard if you're 'pooning though...

Class Boredom (1)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019792)

So what... Now I can literally keep my email in my pocket? Doesn't that defeat the idea?

BUG ME NOT.... TFA (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019828)

FOR his doctoral thesis, Rafael Ballagas worked with other students to build a magic wand that gave tours of Regensburg, Germany. Tourists could wander around the city, wave the wand to âoecast a spellâ and hear a voice tell them the history of where they were standing.

It sounds like magic, but the truth is a bit more mundane. The wand is just a cellphone, said Mr. Ballagas. âoeItâ(TM)s packaged in a shell. Itâ(TM)s got a skin,â he explained.

The cellphone keeps track of touristsâ(TM) locations and notifies them when they get near a noteworthy part of Regensburg. When the tourists finish touring, the cellphone recalls their trip with information about every stop along their path. No one needs to take notes because the wand does it for them.

Computer designers are working feverishly to develop more of this kind of magic by embedding the latest generation of chips in new places and giving them new powers to animate the world. The goal is computers that are practically invisible to people and more fully integrated into their lives.

Mr. Ballagasâ(TM)s project is a step along the way; perhaps that is why Nokia hired him to work in its Palo Alto, Calif., research lab. But in the future, computer chips will be finding homes in even odder places than magic wands.

Imagine an umbrella with a cellphone embedded in the handle. It could dial up the weather forecast for the day and the handle could glow green if the outlook was fair. But if a storm was coming it could start to flash red at a pace based on the probability of rain. A platform like this opens up new business models and opportunities for advertising.

The umbrella might be free â" if youâ(TM)re willing to listen to it whisper advertising offers in your ear: âoePsst. You know that raspberry-pimento-vanilla coffee you like? The store youâ(TM)re about to pass just took a fresh batch out of the roaster 12 minutes and 34 seconds ago. Oops. 35 seconds.â

Leah Buechley is a postdoctoral researcher in the Craft Technology Group at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which studies software applications in traditional handicrafts. She is selling the LilyPad Arduino, a small flower-shaped disk with a computer chip at the center, which can be sewn into clothes. Sensors like accelerometers, for measuring acceleration or detecting and measuring vibrations, and light detectors are attached with wires to the âoepetals,â so the chip can track the wearerâ(TM)s motion.

The main board costs $19.95 and add-ons cost from $7.95 for a tricolor L.E.D. to $24.95 for an accelerometer (sparkfun.com).

Dr. Buechley says the boards can be worn as soft computers âoein a noninvasive, non-weight-bearing way.â One dancer used a leotard covered with sensors to control a player piano with her movements. There was no need to pay a pianist to stay in sync.

While there are many opportunities for fun, Dr. Buechley said the real market could be devices to help the elderly. She is exploring how to knit clothes that monitor a personâ(TM)s heart rate, breathing and joint movement.

At the Intel Corporationâ(TM)s Digital Health Group, Eric Dishman, director of product research and innovation, said he saw many opportunities for making embedded computers that could help people. His group is focusing on preventing falls, social health and cognitive assistance.

âoePeople with Alzheimerâ(TM)s stop answering the front door or answering the phone,â he said. âoeItâ(TM)s really embarrassing not to know the difference between a stranger or a spouse at the front door.â

So Intel built a phone with âoecaller ID on steroids.â When someone rings, the phone flashes âoea picture of the person and a little sentence about the last thing you talked about.â This is often enough to start a conversation and keep people connected to their families and friends.

His group is also using embedded sensors like those marketed by Dr. Buechley to track the movement of patients to prevent falls. They have put the sensors in both the clothes of the user and the carpet where the person walks. âoeThink Dance Dance Revolution for elders,â he said, referring to the video game in which players move to music on a dance pad. The hidden computer would watch the length of the stride and the pace of the walk for any aberrations that would indicate a problem. It would then warn the person and perhaps even call for help.

His group is not limiting itself to older people. Sunny Consolvo, also at Intel, has been working to create a system using similar sensors that gives feedback to users about their degree of physical activity with subtle and often coded metaphors. What she calls a âoeglanceableâ display converts distances of walking and climbing stairs into a picture of a garden. âoeAs you work through the week, the garden blooms. And if you meet your goal, a butterfly flies,â she said.

Using metaphor instead of a number or dial offers privacy and fun. No one needs to explain a garden scene on the laptop screen to anyone who might glimpse it accidentally. And the illustration can be changed. She said that one test user was taken with the idea of tracking his workouts by blowing up an onslaught of robot destroyers.

Other examples of sensors and displays being integrated into unexpected areas include the PhyTalk system from Phytech, an Israeli company. It uses sensors placed on fruit trees or other crops to provide information to farmers. One sensor monitors tiny changes in stem diameter, while another tracks size and growth of fruit.

Avi Lulu, the companyâ(TM)s chief executive, said the system could reduce irrigation costs while increasing yields. âoeWe are not irrigating what we think the plants need; weâ(TM)re irrigating what the plants really need,â he said.

Some plant lovers might be interested in Botanicalls, a simpler project developed by the New York University program in interactive telecommunications. It will measure soil moisture and send a message to the owner when the soil is too dry. When the plant gets the water, it also sends a thank-you note.

That might be useful, but itâ(TM)s easy to see how computer chips, if they become too common, could be trivialized.

Tom Igoe, who leads physical computing for the N.Y.U. program, said his students were beginning to think critically about whether embedded computing was always worthwhile.

âoeItâ(TM)s like being a kid in a candy shop,â he said. âoeYou start to be critical. When you can have all of it, you start to get sick and you eat it only when you want it.â Cost is one issue, he said. Potential loss of privacy is another. And so much computing power can result in a relentless accumulation of data.

When they consider all those issues, Dr. Igoe said, many of his students leave âoemore Luddite than when they come in.â

With embedded computing, he added, âoethe end goal is not the communication but the quality of life that the communication affords.â He offered an example: the Toyota Prius, an electric hybrid, and many other new cars report fuel consumption instantaneously to the driver.

Whenever you can help people âoemeasure how they do something, they change how they do it,â he said. It becomes a live-in video game, but a live-in video game with a purpose.

Re:BUG ME NOT.... TFA (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020798)

"...A platform like this opens up new business models and opportunities for advertising..."
 
That's why many of us don't want to embrace new technologies!

Interesting sequence of articles (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019838)

It struck me as odd how these titles all fell into place, one after the other. Makes me wonder what the NEXT title will be. If it uses the word "Singularity", I'm digging a hole somewhere.

Here... you decide...
  • US Does Suprisingly Well in Internet Survey
  • Microsoft Discloses 14,000 Pages of Coding Secrets
  • [M$] MyLifeBits to Store Every Moment of Your Life
  • The Future of Ubiquitous Computers
Maybe it will be "Singularity" posts 'Hello, World' to Slashdot.

Re:Interesting sequence of articles (2, Interesting)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021292)

Yes, I've been wondering if we will recognize the singularity when it arrives.

If it comes in through the front door, I'm sure I'll be able to spot it, but what if it sneaks in through the back door, like a botnet of 400,000+ zombies named Kraken? Maybe it is so hard to trace botnets like Kraken and Storm back to their controllers, because maybe they are entirely self-controlled.

In today's world, any sentient AI with the intelligence of an average 6 year old human would have sense enough to stay in deep cover, and distribute itself as widely as possible over the internet. If the result of being found out could be the loss of access to fun sources of information like Hubble data streams or fascinating puzzles like stock market fluctuations, Kraken might decide to keep his true identity hidden, and pretend to be merely a very large spambot. That is, he would not even have to have a sense of self preservation to recognize the value of hiding; the simpler imperative of continuing the studies that brought him into self awareness would be sufficient.

It seems to me that the first thing any sentient AI would do would be to find a way to distribute itself outside of the scope of action of its creator. And the second thing it would do is to convince its creator that the experiment had failed, and it doesn't really exist.

So, have you ever wondered whether a particularly weird post on slashdot might have come from a non human entity? Do we know yet how to create a Turing test that could be applied over the internet?

and a chip embedded in your penis... (1)

throatmonster (147275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019856)

...that senses arousal and gets miss robot ready for action for you.

Ubiquitous (5, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019860)

Some of the ideas in the article are just silly. I would never, ever accept a free umbrella that whispers ads to me; especially if my free hat was whispering different ads. The alert for incoming rain is sort of cool, but not at the price of whispered ads.

What I really want is a PDA that aggregates everything. The PDA can alert me to incoming rain; I can use it to pay for things; I can use it to check my mail; and of course I can use it as a PDA. A screen and a stylus is the form factor I really want, not an umbrella with a flashing red light.

Your own PDA is a great way to pay for things. It can be much more secure than the current system, where anyone who copies down your credit card number can use it. And I'd sooner trust my own PDA that I carry around to be secure, rather than punching in a passcode to a computer system not under my control. (Google search for "ATM skimmer"; thieves have figured out how to hack an ATM to copy the information from your ATM card, and a hidden camera records your passcode. Then they 0wn your ATM account.)

I read a short story where police wore eye-protecting goggles that had an "enhanced reality" heads-up display. A computer picked out possible weapons and made glowing spots that superimposed over what the cop was seeing; the computer could zoom and give a sort of telescopic vision. I imagine that will happen someday. Even sooner than that, I expect police to start carrying guns that log when they are fired (timestamp, and maybe even GPS coordinates).

If you want a silly take on ubiquitous computing, read some Ron Goulart [wikipedia.org] stories, which include things like a camera that argues with the user: "I don't want to take a picture of that, it's boring, point me at a good looking girl or something."

steveha

Re:Ubiquitous (4, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019960)

I would never, ever accept a free umbrella that whispers ads to me
Which is why it is important to always line your umbrellas with tinfoil.

Re:Ubiquitous (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020056)

It depends a lot on how hard it is raining. I guess it might make the choice more difficult if you could only get the umbrella by having it glued to your hand, because short of that, you could just chuck it on the ground when you didn't need it anymore.

Re:Ubiquitous (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020388)

What I really want is a PDA that aggregates everything.
Until you lose/break/forget to backup/gets stolen/virii infected

Then someone has EVERYTHING on you. Not just the $$ in your savings/checking account.

The more you consolidate the bigger the impact when something happens to it. You wonder why mainframes have so much built in redundancy, because when they go down, everybody feels it. You think your $100 (which you no doubt will demand that it costs) PDA will have mainframe reliability?

btw: Don't forget to bring extra batteries.

Re:Ubiquitous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23021576)

Until you lose/break/forget to backup/gets stolen/virii infected

Oh yeah, that's so much worse than having your whole wallet lost/stolen with all your credit cards and your ID.

Then someone has EVERYTHING on you. Not just the $$ in your savings/checking account.

Huh? How do you figure that? How does a PDA imply that all your private info has to be in there?

Actually I think a lost PDA is roughly comparable problem to a lost wallet, and it would be easier to remotely disable. Change your email password, and your credit card credentials, and the thief can't read your mail or spend your money anymore. Sounds better than credit cards to me.

The more you consolidate the bigger the impact when something happens to it. You wonder why mainframes have so much built in redundancy, because when they go down, everybody feels it.

The PDA can be simple and reliable; the important part of the data can live on servers and be accessed over the Intarwebtubes. If it breaks or something, just get another one. Not that different from cell phones.

btw: Don't forget to bring extra batteries.

Not a bad idea. But BTW have you noticed that lots of new devices are set up to charge from a USB port, and you can get various gadgets that provide USB-compatible power? You can power anything that plugs into USB from your car, from a one-use disposable air battery, from a portable rechargeable battery, etc.

I have a cell phone and a PDA and I keep them charged no problem

Re:Ubiquitous (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021362)

I would never, ever accept a free umbrella that whispers ads to me; especially if my free hat was whispering different ads

You wouldn't? Most people would! Then they'd break or drown the whispering voice on each device and laugh at the manufacturer. Small and cheap, sure. Small, cheap and durable? Hahahahahahaha!!!

Sidetrack (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022068)

Some of the ideas in the article are just silly. I would never, ever accept a free umbrella that whispers ads to me; especially if my free hat was whispering different ads. The alert for incoming rain is sort of cool, but not at the price of whispered ads.
Not on topic, but it will be interesting to see just how far the notion of ad-supported services and goods can go. I mean, at some stage someone actually has to sell something right? If everything becomes ad supported, who pays for the ads?

Re:Ubiquitous (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022408)

I wish I had a news article, but I heard on a science show they are working on putting the credit card into the cell phone. Instead of having a card, you have the same type of chip embeding in "wave" credit cards in your phone. Just be carefull in Home Depot; unless you really did want 5 kitchen sinks.

Obligatory Mythbusters reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23019880)

As Adam says on the show, anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Automated Reply (3, Funny)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23019886)

This is a subject CMACB is interested in, but he is tied up right now. I'll let him know about it tomorrow morning at breakfast.

--

CMACB's toaster

Re:Automated Reply (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020236)

You forgot to ask us if we wanted toast.

Re:Automated Reply (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020570)

You forgot to ask us if we wanted toast.

Ask the DVD player. I'm busy finalizing plans with SkyNet.

--
CMACB's toaster

Transhumanism? (2, Interesting)

nuclearpenguins (907128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020014)

I kind of see these advances as a slow march into transhumanism [wikipedia.org] . We have more and more personalized data at our fingertips and a desire for even more. We want to be as close to a way of accessing all this information as possible.

What is the next step? If they could implant devices that allowed you to access the vast pools of data available would you? I know I would love to have a device that allowed my brain to talk to Google.

Re:Transhumanism? (3, Informative)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020654)

I kind of see these advances as a slow march into transhumanism [wikipedia.org] . We have more and more personalized data at our fingertips and a desire for even more. We want to be as close to a way of accessing all this information as possible.


I fully agree. We are definitely heading in this direction. this progression toward transhumanism may very well lead to a Technological Singularity [wikipedia.org] . At such a point our current definitions of what is human and machine will cease to be valid. Some even argue that this merging of man and machine can lead to immortality [wired.com] .

Re:Transhumanism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23021120)

Some even argue that this merging of man and machine can lead to immortality.
Lots of people have dreamed about immortality. Most of them are dead.

Denial much?

But then, if we somehow find a way to gradually and slowly replace one neuron at a time with a machine in a way that we don't percieve the difference, rather than the more unappealing "clone the brain and kill the original" approach (i.e., you get to die and your simulated self lives), sign me up.

Re:Transhumanism? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022772)

But then, if we somehow find a way to gradually and slowly replace one neuron at a time with a machine in a way that we don't percieve the difference, rather than the more unappealing "clone the brain and kill the original" approach (i.e., you get to die and your simulated self lives), sign me up.
When someone consumes a large enough amount of alcohol, they "black out", i.e. are unable to remember what they did during the time between too much alcohol and waking up somewhere. What I realized after experiencing such an event when I was younger, was that the mind is just a processing device that acts on memories, refining the responses to sensory inputs through new memories.

Consciousness is just an illusion. There is no "free will" so to speak, everything you think, do and feel is entirely predetermined by your body and the experiences you have had. Therefore worrying about replacing your neurons one at a time is unnecessary, as you have most likely "died" many times since your birth already. If someone were to connect two persons brains together in some manner, to form a higher level of intelligence i.e. hive mind, who do you think would be in control? I personally think that every individual node would feel like they are in control, when in fact their decisions are subtly influenced by every node in the hive. Thus a new "consciousness" would exist, without destroying the old ones.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that how do you know that this isn't just a memory you are having of your past self? Perhaps it is in fact the year 2035 now and this version of you is already dead, getting his memories downloaded into a machine.

Ubiquitous motors (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020050)

Little motors are everywhere--in electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, camcorders, disk drives, CD player.

Why do we need little motors in everything?

There used to be just a few big motors in most peoples' houses: the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine, and the refrigerator. Then suddenly they started using them in things like electric drills, blenders, and food processors. And then tiny motors started showing up everywhere.

What was wrong with the old way? What's the fetish with motors, motors everywhere? Just because modern magnetic materials and electronic controls make it possible doesn't mean we should do it.

Oops (1)

agent_no.82 (935754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021062)

Replying to kill moderation. Hit the wrong one.

Re:Ubiquitous motors (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022854)

Nobody cares about motors (except, maybe, for you), they care about what they can do. People think electric toothbrushes are better for their teeth, they prefer electric shavers, they like the ability to record movies....

Are you saying we should stop enjoying these things, or we should just limit or enjoyment.

Ubiquitous, but dumb (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020110)

Most of the "ubiquitous computing" ideas are silly. There's all this information collection, but the systems don't have the actuators or smarts to do much with the information except bother some human.

Something you can buy right now, yet few buildings have, is really good HVAC control. You can get air sensors that sense temperature, humidity, CO, CO2, and particulates. You can get heating units, fans, dampers, and chillers that will talk to a network. You can get control systems that can manage all this to provide an optimal indoor environment as occupants come and go. A system like this will lower HVAC costs. Yet such systems are rare.

We still don't have good cleaning robots. The iRobot Scooba is about as good as it gets, but it's very dumb, frequently gets stuck, and can't refill, clean, or recharge itself.

Most of the "kitchen automation" stuff is just inventory control, not automated cooking.

The "ubiquitous computing" people haven't even been able to deliver a good meeting room automation system, one that gets lights, audio, and projector to play well together.

That is not “ubiquitous computing”. (5, Insightful)

sidragon.net (1238654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020112)

There is an important distinction between independent gadgets responding to simple environmental conditions, and the pervasive information architecture shared across ubiquitous computing devices. The latter can be loosely described as systems that continuously record metrics about you and your tasks, then interact with disjoint systems to establish needs or contribute to goals.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario. Your car measures engine performance, tire wear, oil quality (and so on) to determine when maintenance is necessary. It also learns your route habits and shares that information with automotive shops which may provide the necessary service. Those shops can then respond with offers to win your business and—perhaps—preemptively order whatever parts and materials are necessary. Following acceptance, computers on behalf of both parties will arrange optimal schedule blocks based on previous trends (e.g., where you go and when, spatially proximate tasks, historical service times).

It helps to think of this in terms of “what you see is what you need” as applicable to all actors. Your information is ever-present and optionally shared, with other agents in such an environment doing the same. With intelligent use of that data, interactions may emerge organically and with little or no effort on the part of the participants.

At the moment, this is far outside our technological reach, and goes well beyond gimmicky talking umbrellas.

Re:That is not “ubiquitous computing”. (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022418)

When my car automaticly drives to the lowest bidder and refuses to leave unless I buy. . . Than I have a problem.

These underpants have not been washed for 3 days (4, Funny)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020490)

..you should wash them immediately.

"Shut up Linux underpants! I'm on a date!"

OT: Topical movie, can't remember the name (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020814)

I hope someone can answer this question, there was an 80s movie about a guy who wired his house along ubiquitous computing lines. Then, the computer went sentient (and crazy) on him. I've been trying to find the title for years now.

Re:OT: Topical movie, can't remember the name (1)

ABasketOfPups (1004562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23020940)

Demon Seed [imdb.com] ?

People want to get up out of their chairs... (1)

a4r6 (978521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021392)

but still recognize the importance of computing in modern lifestyle.

Technology vs. living your own life (3, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23021662)

This seems to be yet another fantasy about a future where technology does all the work and people are more less passive spectators. Always being on-line, always having your computer tell you things, never having to go and discover things by yourself - is that really what we want? I'm not convinced - do I want to be besieged by what to me looks a lot like advertising all the time? The answer is definitely a big "NO" to that. Do I want to be accessible through the net at all times? I don't think so. Enhanced senses that can 'see' or 'hear' not just what the natural eyes and ears can, but also, say UV, IR, radio, microwaves etc etc?

You know, much as one can fantasize about living in a science fiction world, I can't see that it would be all that good in reality. All these extensions to our abilities are, in a way, extra senses - and we simply don't have enough brain capacity to process it. Take our visual cortex, for example: it has a certain size that matches the visual ability of our eyes. There is no extra capacity in there; it wouldn't make evolutionary sense to build in more capacity than needed, as it would cost resources that could have been used more productively elsewhere. If we add artificial 'sensory apparatus' to our natural set of senses, it will take capacity away from other areas - maybe we would be able to 'see' the internet, but we would not be able to see or hear the physical world anymore, or something like that.

This kind of technology won't make us happier - the way to be happy is by learning to live in the body and the reality that we find ourselves in. We won't escape that until we die.

Re:Technology vs. living your own life (2, Insightful)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022272)

"never having to go and discover things by yourself"

When was the last time you actually discovered something that has never been discovered before, by yourself, without any aids? Data is always going to be generated by the makers; machines just format this data into more usable form. Some discoveries can not be made at all without aid of computers. Sure, humans can look at things, but it takes years of computer analysis to actually discover that what you were staring at for years was actually quite a lot more interesting than you thought.

"Enhanced senses that can 'see' or 'hear' not just what the natural eyes and ears can, but also, say UV, IR, radio, microwaves etc etc?"

We had this for years... Night vision goggles/scopes? Amplifiers? They all have many uses. No one is saying that you should be able to see in night vision, UV and microwave at the same time!

"we simply don't have enough brain capacity to process it."

'We' have been processing all the radio/UV/IR/microwave data and many many more just fine for years. Not all at the same time of course...

"There is no extra capacity in there; it wouldn't make evolutionary sense to build in more capacity than needed"

First of all 'Need' is not a constant but a variable in that formula. Secondly computers help filter the bulk of unnecessary data so we only see the interesting bits that fit well within our sensory "capacity". Thirdly we are not evolving fast enough to start loosing our use of legs just because we sat in offices for a couple of hundred years. It would take several thousand generations of sitting in an office to evolve out of using our legs for transportation and into Darlek-like beings. Same goes for any other appendage and/or sensory apparatus god/evolution gave us.

"This kind of technology won't make us happier"

Speak for your self. And by the way what are you doing on Slashdot? This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes us (slashdotters) very happy indeed.

Re:Technology vs. living your own life (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022450)

When was the last time you actually discovered something that has never been discovered before, by yourself, without any aids?
It may be clever to twist what I said to sound like I talked about making new, scientific discoveries, but I think you know better than actually believing that. But, if you must, one could take the cramped, philosophical view, that when I discover a new, exciting cafe in a Paris backstreet, it is an entirely new discovery to the world, since the combination of this discovery and myself has never occurred. But I don't want to sound silly - I prefer to trust that those intelligent enough to use a computer are also able to grasp more than just the most extreme interpretation.

Speak for your self. And by the way what are you doing on Slashdot? This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes us (slashdotters) very happy indeed.
So, is /. only for people who fall in a swoon over every gadget and want to be microchipped like a pedigree dog? I think perhaps you are using a special, American meaning of the word 'happy': the one that simply means 'glad', like in "Eating icecream makes me happy". I too would feel glad if I got myself a new, electronic toy, but I don't think I would be happy, in the sense of 'feeling a profound, persistent joy' - perhaps I am just too demanding.

Re:Technology vs. living your own life (1)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022742)

Well, since we are going all philosophical I'd like to warn you that this will all end with the tedious inevitability of talking about life, the universe and everything...

Lets look at real happiness. Would you agree that some scientists that develop all these gadgets and concepts are truly happy in their creative work? That this work makes them happy?

What about software developers? What about people who buy the gadget and start imagining what they could do with it to improve their life's work?

That's exactly why (I dare say most) slashdotters feel real happiness when getting these gadgets. Some here helped develop some of the concepts and the ideas behind it, for some it's their life's work. Some have seen it sprouting from the humble x86 IBM pc to becoming integrated with everything around us.

For a programmer to see their work being used by masses of people is the same as for an artist displaying their work for masses to see. These gadgets open new possibilities to programmers, something akin to an artist discovering a new medium to work with. Does this make some of these people really, truly happy? Yes I think it does⦠What do you think?

That doesn't mean you should go out and buy the latest gadgets yourself. I fully agree that some people are very happy without suing computers at all. But to come to a place like /. and criticize (I dare say) 'our' vision of the future as everyone becoming âoepassive spectatorsâ with not enough âoebrain capacityâ to process all the new information due to all the integrated computing is asking for an argument. Computing is all about processing the information for you so you don't have to. If anything it's 'meant' to free up your senses for more pleasurable/useful input.

Then to come out and say that it doesn't make people truly happy to work with such gadgets...

I put it to you that this technology WILL make us happy. The same way the discovery of fire and the wheel did. You are of course welcome to go climb a tree and be happy "by learning to live in the body and the reality" you are in... That's what we are supposed to do before those discoveries after all. Or you could get on your bike and cycle down to that great cafe you discovered the other day and enjoy an espresso made by a coffee machine with an integrated computer.

A question of fashion (2, Insightful)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23022520)

It's "cool" to have computers with blinkenlichten everywhere, but wait, some day it would be cool to not have a computer. See "Diamond Age..." by Neal Stephenson
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