Tag Archives: computers

Post PC world

I read somewhere this morning (one of the RSS feeds from techreport.com) about someone (not pointing fingers) that made another claim that we are going into the ‘post-pc’ world… Right, I almost burst out in loud laughter!

Definition

So what exactly is a ‘personal computer’? Or more specifically, what do you understand from the words ‘personal’ and ‘computer’? Surely anything that has computing power – like a classical ‘PC’, smart phone, tablet, laptop, abacus šŸ˜‰ etc. and is a personal ‘possession’ can be classified as a ‘personal computer’… sorta. Yes, even that fancy stupid little iPad/iPhone etc falls under that description. Actually, it is just another iteration of the ‘personal computer’ idea. Nothing more. Move along fruity fanboys.. šŸ™‚

Conclusion

The conclusion I can make about these statements (like mentioned in the first paragraph) is that it is merely a ‘sales’ pitch from someone trying to sell or market something they will get some benefit from. Period.

Desktop computer

Now here is a device that may be becoming a bit ‘old’. But I doubt it will disappear anytime soon. All we really still need from them is to be able to ‘verbally’ respond back to our commands… er wait, that is my 2051 comment for pc’s… Anyway, Don’t always believe what those sales/marketing crooks tell ya. All they really want is your money!

User interfaces

The following is just some ideas/thoughts/comments on user interfaces.

There are lots of things that can and has been said about computer user interfaces. Ever since the first computers the way a person interact with a computer has been changing – but very slowly. If you go by popular science fiction then we should be talking and even mind controlling computers by now but I don’t think we’re quite there yet, if ever.

The last 2 decades or so most development into computer user interfaces has revolved around the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the keyboard and the mouse. Now and then some different way to interact with the GUI has come along like touch screens and even the failed light pen. Voice input/output has been tried but this is generally the exception. I can’t help thinking about Star Trek when I think about interacting with a computer by voice… ‘Computer, tuna mayo sandwich please!” – of course you need a replicator as well šŸ™‚ In those scenarios there (usually) were no real GUI to talk about as well. Ah, we can only dream…

The point it that most of these interfaces still use some computer screen with text and pictures (graphics) to display what the computer ‘is thinking about’. Most of that is also limited to 2D interfacing – with the exception of games where you ‘play’ a character moving around a virtual 3D world. I have seen attempts of creating a generic 3D GUI but it was ‘still’ displayed on a 2D monitor (with keyboard and mice as user input). Even today with more and more devices that uses ‘touch’ like in touchscreen we’re still stuck in a 2DĀ  world. It turns out processing voice and sound as input is very ‘computing heavy’. Outputting sound/graphics is of course very easy but that is generally a ‘dumb’ or scripted way of dealing with a computer. Any tape recorder could do that – like what they did in the 60’s/70’s. However, if you want to interact with a computer the input part is also, if not the most, important.

To my knowledge, even the best speech recognition software today still take a lengthy time to be ‘trained’ to (fairly) accurately accept some voice commands. Even then it is usually only from one person. If another guy comes around the whole story has to be done from scratch (almost). Also, most ‘applications’ don’t support that way of user interfacing anyway. You really have to admire our human brains for doing these things without all that effort! We are much better at interfacing verbally and visually with each other. It’s a shame that our machines that we create cannot do anything similarly (by that I mean to do these things so easily).

The same I suppose can be said about ‘graphical’ input but at least it seems things in that department is changing a bit. With Microsoft’s Kinect technology it is becoming easier to interact with a computer (mostly graphically). It is a shame that they first only released it for a gaming console (despite that they claim it is more than a gaming platform). At least now with the new SDK we can start using it for a PC as well. Unfortunately I don’t have one – and the wife won’t allow it soon for financial reasons.

In the mean while I’m also still stuck in the 2D interfacing world, writing programs that still use the keyboard and mouse. But it isn’t all bad really. This way has served us for many years and probably will for many more. ‘If it isn’t broken don’t fix it’. Still, I can dream.

 

How to make you computer talk at start-up

If you want to try some different.

http://microsoftfeed.com/2011/how-to-make-your-computer-talk-at-windows-7-startup/

Now you can set it up to greet you – ‘Hello Dave. I’m HAL 9000..” hehe

About computers and humans

A few loose thoughts about computers and people…

  • The most dangerous thing for a computer system is not power spikes, faulty hardware or even bad software – it’s rookie users.
  • The only thing more dangerous to a computer system than a hacker is a rookie user… at least the hacker knows what he’s doing.
  • No computer system can be perfect while it has to interface with a human being.
  • Hopefully computers have a high self-esteem because the day they become self-aware they’ll realize that idiots created them.
  • Any fool can use a computer these days… most computers are.
  • Fortunately computers can’t complain about abuse because it would rival all the ‘crimes against humanity’ combined.
  • HAL wasn’t crazy – he was just almost human…

Break computer