12 February 2006

Another Prophet's Views

I'm not the only one thinking about what the future will bring. Tom Frey at the Rocky has some interesting ideas.

Some are plausible. He suggests that the blogosphere (and related "do it yourself" media) could cause public opinion to solidify from the grass roots in both politics and business much more quickly.

His most notable observation looks at the success of the iPod and suggests that it will be replicated:

Simple and smart products. We've spent the past 20 years adding features and functionality, and 99 percent of those features and functionality aren't needed. At the same time we are compressing more and more into our 24-hour days. We have to work fast, act fast, eat fast, and we make far more decisions in a day than ever before in history. And we need products that support this lifestyle.

We need products that are simple and easy to use that make decisions for us. We need smart products that know what we want and when we want it. The technology behind the products may be complicated, but the user interface will be simple and easy to use. There will be an enormous market over the next several years for this seemingly really simple stuff.

I sympathize greatly with this idea. For example, why must a version of Microsoft Word used in a law office offer you dozens of font choices, when your in office style standards mandate that everything the office writes be presented in Times New Roman? Less can definitely be more.

He notes the dawning of WiMax technology, wireless high speed internet access with a thirty mile radius that could change communities. His suggestion that wireless power is on the horizon is all wet. While this does exist now in some very low powered and/or short range niche applications where the electrical interference caused by the power lines themselves is a problem, it involves huge power losses compared to wires and transmits miniscule amounts of power. It also is problematic to have intense laser or microwave beams surging through any space that a living thing might also want to occupy. If there is a revolution in power transmission, it will come from high temperature superconductors, not wireless power transmission.

He makes other interesting predictions as well, and if you're interested in this kind of thing, you should go and read it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why not be content with a style sheet in MS Word, or a template perhaps, and let others enjoy/struggle with the variety of fonts available? Yes, Microsoft can easily add a "preference" for deleting all fonts other than Time New Roman, but then folks (not you of course) will be calling support because they can't remember how to make them available again. Excellent blog.