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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everyday tech tends to stick around...

John Brandon writes in TechRadar about tech we won't use in a decade. It's an interesting read, and some predictions seem fairly safe, but overall I don't think the times are moving that fast.

If you were already using computers a lot in 1999, the striking thing is how little things have changed since then. Maybe we weren't online all the time, but basically we used our computers in much the same way. Web-based email, IM, photo editing, computer-based video editing, etc. all existed and worked reasonably well.

Obviously I don't deny that things are improving. Syncing files between computer used to be a huge pain, and now it's just a little pain. Sharing things online is a lot easier. A home network can now be set up in less than two weeks, and it can be expected to actually work. Laptops are thinner and batteries last longer. Backupping cell-phone data on a computer isn't reserved to top coders and mad scientists anymore.

But, despite numerous predictions to the contrary, the keyboard is still there, the mouse is still there, and the basic concept of the general-purpose personal computer is still very much alive. I really doubt that this will change substantially in as little as a decade.

However, there's definitely one thing missing from the list: TV as we know it, with 100+ channels broadcasting lukewarm reruns 24h/day and a business model that requires people to tune in at 8:25 and not leave the room during commercials. There's no way that can survive another ten years.

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