The next spoke of the Digital Hub

  • Posted: 09 July 2001 12:47 AM

    I’ve been fascinated with the thought of how computers (of course I mean Macs) will enhance our lives in the near future. Judging from recent technologies, what do you think will the next big thing?

    I personally believe that Bluetooth will finally give us Macs that we can talk to. I mean that we will finally get a user interface that is based on voice. With Bluetooth, I can now wear a small mic and earphone and ask for mail, control my indoor temperature, or monitor my Internet connection. I don’t see a full conversation, we really don’t need that yet, we just need to be able to get stuff done without using our hands or sitting infrom of the screen.

    WHat do you think?


    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward

  • Posted: 07 July 2001 08:50 AM #1

    I think voice control is overrated.  Apple’s current Speech Recognition software is something everyone plays with for a few days and then throws away.  While I know there’s much better speech recognition technology out there, I just don’t see its taking the place of a graphical interface.  There are some things that we humans would prefer to see rather than hear.

    But I agree that the ability to move around the house and work on the computer simultaneously is important.  I think the “web-pad / e-book reader” is the Next Big Thing.

  • Posted: 07 July 2001 01:26 PM #2

    iShow. This free software for OS 9 & X is the most powerful and elegant all-in-one program that connects your scanner/camera/DVcamcorder to the Internet and burnable media, with work stations along the way for photo/video editing, adding music and narration, and organizing into albums. Also, obviously has hooks into iMovie, DiskBurner, Mail, iTunes, QuickTime as needed, but does away with the need to save and close from one program, and open and work in other apps.

    Obviously, includes OS X USB drivers for my Epson 1200U scanner and 750 Photo printer, which if Epson has - or will produce otherwise - they are keeping a deep secret.

  • Posted: 09 July 2001 12:47 AM #3

    Wilby: I completely understand where you are coming from. Apple’s current voice interface offering leaves a lot to be desired, but I see a VUI (Voice User Interface) as being something more than just a neat toy, and something greater than a mobile tablet.

    First, a useful VUI doesn’t have to be a robust as some might think. It would be nice to have a Star Trek like interface, but I don’t think that’s possible with current technology. However, a simplifed interface that would allow for, say, information gathering (“Computer, give the local show times for the movie A.I.), news and email reading, other uses I haven’t thought of. Imagine having your stereo connected to your Mac such that you ask for a certain song to be played and it happens. Imagine asking for a phone number instead of letting your fingers do the walking.

    There’s is room for a good VUI. Along with it I see small “terminals” that can be placed around the house such that any member of the family can have instant access to computing resources. These terminals could be pad devices or something a bit more stationary. The actual computer might even be hidden away in a closet.

    Second, OS X promises long Mac uptimes so there really is no need to shutdown your Mac except for periodic maintenance. This ability really opens up a door to uses we haven’t really considered. Automatic data mining, automatic CD cataloging (I put all my CDs in a 300 CD juke box and the computer runs off and gathers ALL the info for ALL the CDs overnight. DVDs too.), automatic syncing via Bluetooth of PDA devices. Basically, automatic everything. True batching is now possible.

    Third, Bluetooth offers some interesting possibilities too. We already have Bluetooth enabled Palm devices (starting with the M500 series, it’s an add-on), other devices will follow that really enhances the idea that one doesn’t have to sit in front of a computer in order to use it.

    There many other possibilities out there that I don’t know about. emerging technologies that will effectively revolutionize the home computer industry. The next big thing.


    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward