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Desktop Computing and Beyond

The year is 2015 and I am sitting at my desk typing on my 'computer;' I interact with it through a holographic projection of a k

The year is 2015 and I am sitting at my desk typing on my "computer;" I interact with it through a holographic projection of a keyboard etched with blue-green lasers on my desktop and a whopping 42" wide image projected onto my office wall. The walls are painted with light-reactive paint enhanced by a phosphorus polymer from the Phillips Company, a once-leading supplier for now passé LCD monitors that used to crowd desks, along with a noisy PC tower.

My current desktop environment is provided by my cell phone, as it is now my primary conduit to the world. I no longer need a wired phone line since my cell phone gives me unlimited international calling for a mere $30 per month as I can connect using VoIP and Skype over my 80211.m network that covers 60% of the United States. However, roaming is still a pain and I have a special CMDA card that I keep as a backup for rural locations. Besides desktop computing, my phone is a perfect machine for video conferences and I always have my included 20 mega pixel camera and 50 times digital zoom to capture and upload my pictures to Flicker (which eventually bought the Flicker.com domain and became the name of the once powerful search engine giant Yahoo!), rumored to be in the process of acquiring Eastman Kodak.

I log into my desktop environment, powered by Google, and go to my Gmail account. It seems as if everyone has one since they started issuing them when you get your social security number. No one uses corporate e-mail; it's just too much of a pain. In fact, Google has just signed a deal with the U.S. Post Office for an opt-in service that lets them scan your mail and deliver it via Gmail, which now gives you your first terabyte of storage for free.

I decide to write an article for LinuxWorld Magazine, Volume 13, issue 9 (which is now just known as LW since everything runs Linux). I fire up Google Desktop and it's now using an embedded Java version of OpenOffice.org 10.0 to write an article about Microsoft's role as the world's leading game provider since leaving the world of operating systems and focusing solely on home entertainment. I insert my wireless earbuds and start to listen to my audio blog feeds collated by Apple iTunes into my virtual iPod that streams audio from servers housed in one of Google's thousands of Linux-powered data centers. I look at my antique radio and laugh at how much time I used to spend tuning into National Public Radio, called National Streaming Radio since 2010. I don't miss the days of tuning in to shows, and the idea of primetime TV since I like to watch most of my TV right before dinner or in the morning as I get ready for work. Now the word timeshifting seems to be a superfluous term just as the information super highway has become obsolete. I can't remember when I had stopped using my TiVo, probably when AOL Time Warner moved to their self-programmed lifestyle format - no broadcasts other than news as everything else is on-demand.

I think to myself I need an update for my mobile phone - an operating system update and some new games to play during my ride on Mojave Airlines, SpaceshipFiveHundred ride to Europe. I travel on over to my local software co-op (housed in the old Best Buy building, a once popular computer and entertainment retailer eventually acquired by Amazon.com) and pay my local tech jockey to upload and configure some things in my GoogleDesktop account. All the software is free but they have screened programs for viruses (programs that now can cause disruptions to my phone processor, not my programs or OS) and pre-configured all my preferences as noted in my profile, including the fact that I have a slight stigmatism, prompting them to compensate my display so that I don't need to wear my glasses to play Unreal Tournament 2015 or read documents. As I leave the store, I drop my phone and realize I am cut off from the world.

Is this what the future holds? Maybe. As those of you who visit my blog (http://mark.linuxworld.com) know, I might have a little bit of an obsession with Google and their pervasiveness into everything online. However, increasingly we as a society will receive all our multimedia the way we want it, when we want, and where we want it. The thing that's going to make this possible is the increased ability to receive our news, entertainment, and other information in a digital format that is both portable and easily archived. Technology manufacturers now how access to the building blocks to develop systems and intelligence that can be embedded in our devices, automobiles, and homes due to a large supply of free and open source technology. This technology is on the right path for our evolving on-demand society. Over the coming years, the things that need to evolve are our copyright laws and the adoption of the philosophy that music, programs, and information systems need to be provided in mediums that are easily shared while still offering a viable business model for the entertainment industry. The technology is here; now we need the bureaucracy to catch up.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

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Most Recent Comments
Mike Peat 01/12/06 09:13:06 PM EST

It's 2015 and Americans are still measuring things in inches! It's good to know that some things at least will never change... however persuasive the reasons. ;-)

news desk 12/26/05 11:39:31 AM EST

The year is 2015 and I am sitting at my desk typing on my 'computer;' I interact with it through a holographic projection of a keyboard etched with blue-green lasers on my desktop and a whopping 42' wide image projected onto my office wall. The walls are painted with light-reactive paint enhanced by a phosphorus polymer from the Phillips Company, a once-leading supplier for now passé LCD monitors that used to crowd desks, along with a noisy PC tower.