" /> BP's Weblog: July 2001 Archives

« June 2001 | Main | August 2001 »

July 03, 2001

The Future of Computers

I don't consider myself a computer geek. I can never remember the difference between the two different types of memory and gosh darnit, I still call the tower a hard drive case. But none the less, I've used computers a lot longer than most of the non-computer geeks out there. Note:A humourous diversion into computer past and future....

When I was just two, my dad introduced the family to his new pet- the Texas Instrument's computer that he had bought. It didn't have a hard drive, nor a floppy drive. The graphics were crappy and it made really weird beeping sounds that I'd probably smack a machine for making now, but, it was uber-cool when I was little. I used to play the counting game with the magician who pulled a rabbit out of his hat when I'd get the numbers correctly with great enthusiasm.

The best thing about this marvel of technology was Hunt the Wumpus. I never figured out what a wumpus was, but, I knew it was big and scary and I didn't like it. Today, the theme music for Hunt the Wumpus is still something that my mother and I will respond to with great fondness.

When the computer got a hard drive and a floppy drive, it magically learned how to display better graphics and a slot machine. My dad programmed in a Wizard of Oz game in which Toto peed on the witch to make her melt. Truly amazing stuff. We were even more impressed when Dad drew a police car and made the computer spit out noise that sounded vaguely like the theme to Hill Street Blues. Eventually, we upgraded to a computer which had Windows on it. That was a totally new experience all together. The graphics were really great and, as I headed into my teen years, the Internet invaded my house. That opened a new world of possibilities for me and I met my best friends. Sometime during that computer's life, I harassed my dad into getting a sound card. I can't express my joy at hearing my computer emit sounds that sounded like...sounds!

After that computer, we got a Compaq that was pretending to be a Mac and the inovations just kept on coming! Soon, the Windows default sound was in stereo! Movies could be played on the computer! Modems went at 33.3 baud! It was an amazing time. The World Wide Web showed me more things than I thought possible, such as virtual bubble wrap and how to whack a Spice Girl.

And finally, my newest computer, my dear companion, Julian, a two year old Gateway, does everything I could possibly want. He plays music in the form of MP3's (no more MIDIs for me!) and displays movies of great length and in beautiful quality. I can balance my checkbook, write my 10-13 page English papers, check my e-mail, and pay my bills on-line. And that's all at the same time! So, what could make this experience even better?

Well, the computer industry has conquered my higher order needs. With my computer, I can reach self actualization, communicate with my friends, build healthy relationships, etc. But, what about those lower order needs? What can my computer do for those? You might say that through technology, I can order food, pay my rent to ensure my shelter, buy clothing to make sure I won't die of exposure. But all those things are indirect consquences of what I can do with my computer. I want my computer to do something directly to provide for my basic needs!

The most basic of my needs is food. We all need food to survive. Even the computer needs "food" in the form of electricity to sustain itself. Why can't my computer provide food for me? This endeavor should be the next thing that the computer industry works on. Forget faster processors! Screw encryption! We need waffles!

Yes, you read correctly. Waffles. Think about it- they'd be the perfect food for the computer to process first. By expanding the tower slightly, one could store the ingredients for waffle production. The heat from the computer's normal functions could be harnessed to cook the waffle. And why couldn't a drive such as a CD or DVD ROM be modified to spit the waffle out to a grateful computer owner? Think of all the starved computer programmers and college students that could benefit from this technology!

Eventually, technology could improve to provide toppings for the waffle. Of course, the waffle making computer would have to start off by only producing plain waffles. But later, as the technology developes, one could theoretically have hot maple syrup and fresh fruit on her waffle. Just as the Pentium chip has evolved over time, so could the waffle producing computer.

And of course, waffles would only be the first step. Other foods could be produced beyond breakfast foods. Soon, lunch and dinners could be made. Think of the day when your computer could deliver a hot, steaming plate of mashed potatoes and roast beef right from it's case!

So, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself. Someday, your computer could be making your meals for you!

What, it's July, already?

Wow. I've been really lax about adding to this thing. Maybe it's the whole being busy thing. Well, maybe not. Who can say?

Anyway, here's the quick recap on my life: slowly cleaning up the house, buying necessary things (can you believe I didn't buy a broom until this past weekend? So many more things like that, too). But, life's good.

Lately, I've been seen biking to work (a bit over 2 weeks now), biking to other places (mmm... cheap electronics at Frys), occasionally borrowing my sister's car (thank you Brenda!), occasionally visiting with my sister and her boyfriend, and generally just getting used to California.

That brings up another thing. It occured to me recently that, when interviewing and visiting to find an apartment, California seemed really, well, "foreign". Actually, it wasn't so much that I realized how I'd originally thought of it as foreign, it was how I realized that, of late, I don't find it the slightest bit abnormal. Heck, I'm even beginning to understand the local geography, learn some road names, and get errands done. It's amazing.

DSL is up. Not only that, but so are the fabulous 8 static IPs that went along with this particular version of it. Good deal. Been too long, and a big chunk of IPs is going to be handy. Soon, I'll get a machine from work, and I'll be all set to get plenty of work done from home. Wonderous. :)

I sort of implied in a recent mass e-mail that I'd keep this set of pages updated, so expect me to at least be much more annoyed whenever I start an update after too long. Maybe I'll even eventually get this whole process included into my daily routine, and it won't be any big deal. Here's hoping.

Last thing - I've finally begun the attempt at making the fine VNC product far more secure. No code's been written yet, but I've stirred up some mighty nice discussion. If you want to know more about this (or, better, are interested in helping), drop me a line.