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Editorial Technology

Five PC Innovations the Industry Should Get To 764

Posted by Zonk
from the why-not-a-little-innovation? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Flexbeta.net has an article which describes 5 great technological advancements in computing that just about every PC user wants." From the article: "Why has there been such a sudden lack in innovation as of late? Are we in a technological drought? I like to stick to my own diagnosis of the industry as being too concerned with keeping a steady cash flow over social experimentation with new products but then again that's just an opinion from a little guy."
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Five PC Innovations the Industry Should Get To

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:51PM (#13090285)
    1. Better fans. Fast fans are going to make noise. There are quieter fans, and newer technologies like tip magnetic driven fans.

    2. Better Cases. A BOTTLE OPENER?! What the hell? I stopped reading there.

    3. Wireless everything. Sounds great until you realize wireless everything will probably conflict with your neighbor's wireless everything and the fact that encryption to keep your wireless everything will be another burden most users won't bother with. And of course, you still need power, so you're either back to wires or you have a lot of batteries.

    4. More USB storage key uses. Already on the way via some new portable application standard. And, no, game keys won't work because you can still copy the files to other USB keys and thus the game's copy protection is worthless. They want you have to the actual CD (with their patented copy protection) because it makes piracy more difficult.

    5. Store re-haul. Your hard drive is the same physical size because you probably want a lot of capacity that's really fast. If you could be happy with 5 gigs of storage that's pretty slow, you could have a smaller drive. And, yes, they're working on bootable flash drives.

    I can't believe this is on Slashdot.
    • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:58PM (#13090326) Homepage Journal
      the site wasn't loading, and I thought your post was a joke.

      then I looked at Network Mirror [networkmirror.com]

      I completely agree with you. Worst. Article. Ever.

      Now, some REAL innovation I'd like to see (which I've been talking about for YEARS):

      1. GPS built-in to laptops. So you can use mapping software more easily on the go.

      2. digital clock on laptops. I'd love to have an external LCD display showing the time, even when the machine's not on. hell, that'd even be useful on a desktop machine.

      3. touchpad on the side of a laptop. Sometimes I'm holding my powerbook in my arm and I wish there was a way to control the mouse from there. One idea I had was like an inverted optical mouse with the laser sensor that would detect thumb movements. That'd even work for the side of a PDA for scrolling

      4. how about an integrated mouse in a laptop? it could snap on/off and you could use it on the side, then just have the cord retract and it would re-attach to the machine.

      5. I say bring back the keyboard/CPU combo for small-footprint computing.

      c'mon, whadaya say?!
      • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:08PM (#13090379)
        Sometimes I'm holding my powerbook in my arm and I wish there was a way to control the mouse from there

        You've read too much Slashdot if you dream of mousing while cuddling with your laptop.

        Get a room you pervert!
        • You've read too much Slashdot if you dream of mousing while cuddling with your laptop.

          The technology of "cuddling with machines" is probably a lot more advanced than any of us care to admit. This type of technology is more the domain of the Leisure Suit Larry crowd than the Dilbert programming crowd...so I am not sure if the jab at the /. crowd is fitting.

      • digital clock on laptops. I'd love to have an external LCD display showing the time, even when the machine's not on. hell, that'd even be useful on a desktop machine.

        Basically, for laptops, this amounts to have a second small external LCD like some mobile phones have. I'm not sure that I need such a thing on my laptop, as I already have it in my mobile phone. For desktops, what I really would like is a small single LCD screen on the keyboard. This could display the time when the computer is turned off

      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:13PM (#13090400)
        I completely agree with you. Worst. Article. Ever.

        That's a pretty broad claim to make. I liked this recent piece [slashdot.org], a post by an anonymous high-schooler about how useless he thought floppies were, described as an "editorial". And there have been some completely [slashdot.org] false [slashdot.org] stories published without apparently anyone bothering to read the linked articles through. But, yes, the vapidity index for this one is pretty high.

        • I completely agree with you. Worst. Article. Ever.

          That's a pretty broad claim to make. I liked this recent piece [slashdot.org], a post by an anonymous high-schooler about how useless he thought floppies were, described as an "editorial".

          You might not be suprised to find that the floppy "article" is from Flexbeta.net, just like this "article". Can people please stop submitting this sort of rubbish?

          • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday July 18, 2005 @03:45AM (#13091623)
            You might not be suprised to find that the floppy "article" is from Flexbeta.net, just like this "article". Can people please stop submitting this sort of rubbish?

            It's perfectly fine for people to submit articles from anywhere; however the job of an editor is to winnow the wheat from the chaff. Not to post the first six stories in the queue and go back to playing video games.

      • by lenulus (737004) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:17PM (#13090424)
        Better yet...

        1.) Faster HD access (the real limiting factor in PC computing these days)
        2.) More memory (e.g. Terabytes as opposed to gigabytes)
        3.) Immediate start PCs (e.g. Press a button and they are on)
        4.) Mulit-core chips which are readily available and cheap
        5.) A printer which can print $20 dollar bills (my personal favorite).
      • 5. I say bring back the keyboard/CPU combo for small-footprint computing.

        Keyboards are essentially disposable. CPUs aren't. In the non-IT-guy world, people treat computers like playschool toys.
      • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:34PM (#13090519)
        1. GPS built-in to laptops. So you can use mapping software more easily on the go.

        Yet another feature for employers and others to use to track you and invade your privacy further. I can see uses for this (LoJack for laptops?), but I can see it being abused right out of the gate. "Sorry, in order for you to connect to the corporate LAN, your GPS needs to be enabled."

        2. digital clock on laptops. I'd love to have an external LCD display showing the time, even when the machine's not on. hell, that'd even be useful on a desktop machine.

        Someone has figured out how to write software that displays on the LCD touchpad of some of the recent laptops (a penguin of course). Perhaps you could use that... but if your lid is already open so you can see the touchpad, why not just have a clock on the screen? I use osd_clock and osd_cat to keep 6 different timezones in the corner of my screen, so I know what time it is where my colleagues are.

        3. touchpad on the side of a laptop. Sometimes I'm holding my powerbook in my arm and I wish there was a way to control the mouse from there. One idea I had was like an inverted optical mouse with the laser sensor that would detect thumb movements. That'd even work for the side of a PDA for scrolling

        4. how about an integrated mouse in a laptop? it could snap on/off and you could use it on the side, then just have the cord retract and it would re-attach to the machine.

        The Toshiba Librettos had a very slick little mouse device on the lid of the laptop, which worked surprisingly well. You can see an image of it here [paulbristow.net].

        Basically your thumb sits on the grey "dot" on the lower-right, and your first finger and middle finger "pinch" the lid there, and where your fingers rest behind the lid, are your left and right mouse buttons. It was amazingly intuitive.

        But back on point, IBM has a foldaway mouse that fits in their UltraBay slot. I Googled but couldn't find a good image of that.

        The technology exists, but the motivation to produce it does not. Vendors are too busy producing garbage that they THINK we'll buy, instead of listening to our needs and producing what we WILL buy.

      • by Christopher Bibbs (14) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:34PM (#13090520) Homepage Journal

        2. digital clock on laptops

        Seriously, I wish a fewer things had clocks on them. If you really have the urge to constantly know what time it is, buy a watch.

      • by istaz (694207)
        I want my laptop's keyboard luminous so that I can use it a total darkness and also built-in radio receiver.
      • by Dachannien (617929) on Monday July 18, 2005 @01:13AM (#13091052)
        I'd like a computer that can automatically defeat any and all DRM that it's subjected to, so that I can make legal, unencumbered use of content that I pay for.

      • I completely agree with you. Worst. Article. Ever.

        From the article:

        About the author
        Clarence Ladson is currently a college student (emphasis mine) in Tocoma(sic), Washinton and works in robotical and anatomical engineering. His hobbies include contributing programming skills to various console homebrew developements and orchestrating local LAN gaming events.


        So now apparently what are essentiall slashdot comments (by the slashdot primary base of college students) are worthy of becoming entire ne
      • 2. digital clock on laptops. I'd love to have an external LCD display showing the time, even when the machine's not on. hell, that'd even be useful on a desktop machine.

        And for some reason I picture that a lot of them will be blinking "12:00".

    • by iwadasn (742362) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:33PM (#13090512)

      How about a few of relevance....

      1) P ?= NP
      2) Memory protection through typesafety alone. Would give all computers a 30+% boost to performance if the security was handled by the compiler, and not the hardware.
      3) IPv6, static IPs for everyone...
      4) Diamond semiconductors. Smaller features than silicon (the carbon atoms are physically smaller), able to withstand immense temperatures, higher performance, more efficent...pretty much just better in every way.
      5) Non volatile ram that doesn't burn out. Instant on computers, and more...

      How's that for a top 5 list of things to do before 2025?

      • Eh?

        "If the security was handled by the compiler" . . . so when some guy goes and writes a binary by hand, it doesn't have to worry about the system security?

        Not that anyone would do that. Only virus writers and adware writers would want to bypass the OS security!

        Does this sound like possibly the worst idea imaginable to anyone else?
      • Memory protection through typesafety alone. Would give all computers a 30+% boost to performance if the security was handled by the compiler, and not the hardware.

        This is not possible without crippling the programming language. For example:

        • You would have to eliminate arrays, because it is impossible to do all array bounds checking at compile time.
        • You would need to eliminate the concept of a NULL pointer because checks for NULL pointers cannot be always done at compil
        • by pHDNgell (410691) on Monday July 18, 2005 @03:43AM (#13091618)
          This is not possible without crippling the programming language.

          Such languages exist, and I certainly don't consider them crippled. OCaml does lots of type safety checks at compile time, and the resulting applications run fast relative to what I can get any other compiler to do.
        • Safe languages (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:25AM (#13092457)

          You're thinking too classically, like a C programmer. With a higher-level language, more design intent can be expressed directly by the programmer, and used by the compiler for safety and optimisation purposes.

          Sure, you can't check all arrays access for bounds violations, but if you think about it with your human level of understanding, very few accesses can ever really be dangerous. The trick is to be able to convey that level of understanding to the compiler, so it can perform the necessary checks, and no more.

          As for NULL pointers, there's really no need for them at all if you have a serious type system. Recursive data structures are trivially dealt with if you have concepts like disjunctive types and pattern matching.

          In fact, as useful as they can be at lower levels, pointers generally are only useful as reassignable references to objects. There's no need to relate pointers and arrays, nor to provide arbitrary pointer arithmetic and the NULL concept, with a moderately powerful type system.

          There is a reason that many languages make a point of saying they don't support pointers, even if they have a more limited variation of the concept, as with things like Java. The killer isn't the concept of indirection, or changing the target, it's the arithmetic, and assignment of arbitrary values. That leads to a world without proper type safety, and it leads to aliasing concerns that have horribly negative effects on optimisation.

      • by Khyber (864651)
        I agree hardcore on static IPs for EVERYONE.

        When I ban you from accessing my server, I want you gone. Oh, and while we're at it, make those dial-up IP's static, too. And get rid of all the fucking proxies.

        Here's what I want to see. A hardware OS. Fuck software. Hrdware. Faster access, faster loading times, make the OS an actual hardware card with perhaps upgradable firmware for security patches, bugfixes, stability issues, etc. People always talk a 'plug and play' OS, why not make the OS itself plug-in an
      • 2) Memory protection through typesafety alone. Would give all computers a 30+% boost to performance if the security was handled by the compiler, and not the hardware.

        Not possible, because you don't control what compilers other people use before they ship you their application/driver/whatever. The closest you can get is to check at install or load time (like Java's bytecode verifier) instead of run time, and there's still a lot of work to be done before that approach becomes useful for all kinds of pro

    • by GuitarNeophyte (636993) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:33PM (#13090514) Homepage Journal
      I don't think just about everybody wants those things. I think, for the most part, "just about everybody" don't realize options in computers.

      The average user doesn't realize that fans can be quieter, or that a computer even needs to run cooler.

      The average user just says, "That's the computer." when looking at the case. They don't think of a way that it could be better in any way. Sure, slashdotters do, but "just about everybody" isn't one of us.

      The average user doesn't know how to plug things in (I just tell people plug things into the hole that it fits in and then plug the speaker in the hole with a picture of a speaker next to it and then they get it on their own), but they don't think of wireless everything. I tell (middle age adult) coworkers that my computer has a wireless mouse and keyboard and they're very impressed. They don't think of extrapolating like that.

      The average user doesn't know what a USB key is.

      The average user doesn't know much about hardware inside the computer at all (my website, ChristianNerds.com [christiannerds.com] has a question and answer section, where they email me questions about computers and I try to answer them, and I get at least one person every week asking what a printer is... A Printer! "Um, it's the thing that prints out your stuff onto paper."). The average user doesn't know enough to know what else to want. They like faster and they like flashier graphics. That's about it. Oh, and music.

      Luke
      • I would like to see some of the proposals from the I2O group adopted. Specifically, the separation of device drivers into two components - a category driver in the OS and a hardware-specific driver in the device. The driver in the device's firmware would handle everything implementation-specific and provide an abstract interface to the OS. OS developers would only need to write one driver for each type of device (e.g. graphics card, printer, etc).

        The end user would benefit, because they would see signif

  • Before you seek inspiration, lets see what you'll get:

    1) Quiet case fans
    2) Cool cases
    3) Wireless
    4 & 5) Slashdotted by the time I got to them... but my guess is that they're equally... innovative and astounding... I guess.
    • 1) Quiet case fans
      2) Cool cases
      3) Wireless


      Ooookkkaaayyy. Anyone who's shopped for a PC as of late knows that 2 is pretty easy to come by (even on Dell PCs) and 3 is pretty standard on laptops. 1 is included in all Macs, with the PowerMac being the ultimate quiet cooling solution. (It's a combination of lots of low RPM fans with heat pipes.)

      Honestly, on the hardware side we're seeing plenty of innovation. It's the Operating System/Software side where things are crawling. I have my own thoughts [blogspot.com] on how to a
      • For the record, I think "Wireless" means everything wireless. Mouse, keyboard, monitor, power supply (...)
        • For the record, I think "Wireless" means everything wireless. Mouse, keyboard, monitor, power supply (...)

          Fair enough. We have that technology today with Bluetooth devices. The problem is that wireless isn't necessarily better. Wireless means batteries, which occasionaly need to be replaced or charged. Chargable batteries result in a lower lifespan for the device. Wireless also means interference, causing problems at weird times.

          The IBM PC Jr came with a wireless keyboard. It was, to put it in a word, an
  • Server is toasted. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mOoZik (698544) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:52PM (#13090291) Homepage
    Does anyone have a mirror? I think it's important to first make the existing problems go away rather than jump head-first into groundbreaking technology without considering potential problems, though that's how it has always been. I'm referring to spyware, viruses, and general malware. Of course, fixing the operators will most likely do it! ;)

    • "I think it's important to first make the existing problems go away rather than jump head-first into groundbreaking technology without considering potential problems, though that's how it has always been."

      I hope you are joking... so you really think we should just stop making and buying computers until the bugs are worked out. Or is your theory not limited to computer technology and you wouldn't allow us to have cars until they can make one that can't crash or heat our houses until they can make a furnace
  • by VeryProfessional (805174) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:53PM (#13090293)

    Servers that survive /.ing...

  • Innovation (Score:5, Funny)

    by GGardner (97375) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:55PM (#13090308)
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by varmittang (849469) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:56PM (#13090314)
    Patents, and Lawyers.
    • Both patents and lawyers are utilities and have no motivation of their own. While they may stop innovation, they are no more proactive or caring than a wall placed to move water in a certain direction.

      The wall, in this analogy, is placed by someone else. That would almost be the legislators, were it not for the heavy handed corporate lobbying that drives them, who are in turn driven by expectations of greater profit, and fear of lost income, in the absence of their protectionist lobbying. Even that is over
  • by MinutiaeMan (681498) * on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:57PM (#13090319) Homepage
    Okay, some things like the USB key to function as a verifier (to avoid needing to plug a disc in for games) are a good idea, but I really think that he's asking a bit too much, too fast. I'm not fully versed in the development of today's hardware, but I do know for a fact that miniaturization costs money. That's the big reason why laptops still cost much more than desktops. Additionally, the wireless data transfer standards are still not sufficiently fast to support purely wireless connections. Sure, there are certain examples, but these are specific (like building 802.11b/g cards into printers?), but in general, stuff like Bluetooth can't handle the kind of speeds that consumers demand these days. And wireless monitors for near-consumer prices? Forget it!

    I don't fault this guy for dreaming -- that's the stuff innovation is made of -- but I do fault him for thinking that companies seem to owe him this technology for some reason...

    (Note: Slashdotted already?)
    • This is already used, in very expensive high-end software. When I worked for Texas A&M Civil Engineering we had one or two packages that required a USB dongle (used to be serial or parallel dongles) for them to run.
    • OK so I want this new system and this new game. Oh OK I just plug in this USB key, I see. Now how do I plug in my joystick? Oh, its a wireless joystick! Everything is wireless now? Cool! ... now where do I plug in this USB key?
    • by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:05AM (#13090700)
      Actually, instead of requiring either the CD or a USB key to verify games, let's have a system that works equally well - nothing!

      Seriously. That's one area where what the industry needs isn't innovation, it's common sense. There are tons of artificial limits on what we can do that really don't have much basis in reality. There are tons of easy fixes that could be made, and tons of compatibility that could be added, but that for some political reason or other, isn't. Game publishers should stop making me waste five minutes installing the No-CD crack that they know will exist, they should just let me play without a disc. Microsoft should halt its failed attempt to own the web and spend the few months to make IE standards-compliant. Microsoft and Apple both should quit their format squabbles and ship with support for Ogg Vorbis (no effort on their part, the glue is already written). (DRM could be applied at the file level, there's no real advantage to owning the format.) On that subject, the music industry should get the clue with which iTunes's success has been beating them over the head - DRM only works when it's so dilute that it effectively doesn't exist, and therefore it's just an expensive bit of bloat that limits their market.

      And so on. The general idea is, for a variety of really stupid political reasons, from an outsider's perspective, technology is going backwards in a lot of cases. When hard drives were 60MB and games came on 2 floppies, you could install them and then play them without the floppies. Now we have 2000 times that capacity, but you can't do that.

  • Aw, somebody already did get to that [artlebedev.com].

  • by techrunner (897148) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:03PM (#13090354)
    Someone will soon offer an operating system for free. Not Linux, but something like the Mac. Most likely, Google is going to release their own operating system. It won't have more features than Microsoft Windows. It will however, be more stable, and similiar to the Mac which is based on a UNIX core.

    Since it is free, Google won't need to protect a monopoly unlike some other companies. That will encourage further innovation

    I've used Windows, Solaris, and Linux. But if google made an os, I would switch to that pretty quickly.
    • I've used Windows, Solaris, and Linux. But if google made an os, I would switch to that pretty quickly.

      Yeah, you didn't drink the Google koolaid. I mean, you already pledged to switch to Google OS before it is even announced (and likely before they are even working on it).
    • by bogie (31020) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:17PM (#13090421) Journal
      "Most likely, Google is going to release their own operating system."

      No they won't. I think when people say this they haven't really thought about what's involved in marketing a new OS. Google isn't stupid enough to get involved with pushing an OS to compete with Windows, and there is much more money to be made in managing data then putting out an OS that Dell and every other OEM won't touch with a ten foot pole. I know people love to guess on what Google will do next, but trust me it won't be a Free OS that compete with Windows and OSX.

      btw everything you described already happened. Recently someone developed and put out a Commercial OS for Free that was kinda like a Mac, had less features than Windows, was more stable, and had a somewhat Unix-ish core. It was BEos. It was a total failure.
      • by vhogemann (797994) <victor&hogemann,com> on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:03AM (#13090691) Homepage
        The funny thing is...

        With so many efforts to bring more usability to both KDE and GNOME, does Google really needs to release an OS? Does they need to worry about what Microsoft is doing to Windows? I don't think so, all of their web-based applications run well on Windows, and even if Microsoft does something nasty to IExplorer there will always be Firefox and Opera.

        The OS itself is becomming less, and less relevant. The applications are what really drives the user needs. And Google has provided lots of web applications that are OS agnostic.

        Thats whats driving Microsoft mad, Google is slowly making Windows NOT relevant.

        Now, imagine a Google plugin that integrates OpenOffice with Gmail, one that allows you to perfectly preview and make simple modifications to your attached documents online. With almost 2.5GB of online storage I could keep all my documents there, and access them from whatever OS I'm using at the moment. This can cause some severe damage to Microsoft, one that wouldn't be easly recovered.

        As long as you can edit, preview and print your documents... does it really matter what OS youre using?
    • Most likely, Google is going to release their own operating system


      Most likely not. More likely is a Google presentation layer sitting on top of an existing OS.
    • "Google is going to release their own operating system."

      Why would they do that?

      When you write software that runs on any operating system like Google does, you don't care about operating systems.

      As applications become more abstracted from the OS by implementations of standards, operating systems matter less and less. Why do you think MS is so big on "embrace and extend"? They have to control the standards so they can funnel people into Windows.

      Google is aimed squarely at the next chunk of value
  • I got ripped off (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quick Sick Nick (822060) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:03PM (#13090355)
    "Why has there been such a sudden lack in innovation as of late? Are we in a technological drought?"

    They are 100% right. I have a new dual core processor, with two 7800 GTX's running in SLI, 4 10,000 RPM Raptor Hard Drives in a RAID array running Windows x64 edition.

    But the the real innovation these days is in quieter fans.
    • Re:I got ripped off (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ShyGuy91284 (701108)
      True. The only thing that lacks innovation these days terribly is batteries. They are working on fuel cells, but they are far from being as convenient, because they can't be easily "recharged".
    • You kids... (Score:3, Funny)

      by msimm (580077)
      All your fancy-smancy gismos. Why don't you overclock my abacus!
    • And the thing is (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:46PM (#13090603)
      Quieter fans are out there. A couple years ago I kinda hit a wall with my case, I'd had the same case for like 6 years, and it just couldn't do the kind of cooling I needed without some fast fans. So I got a new case, figured while I was at it since the noise annoyed me I'd get some silent fans. I went from having 1 case fan to having 4 case fans, and the overall system noise dropped to less tahn half of what it was previously.

      SilenX and Papst both make some excellently quiet fans that aren't too exspensive. They don't move quite as much air as some others, but still plenty to keep your shit cool if you properly plan airflow (good cooling comes from good airflow, not just sticking fans in randomly).
  • Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfloy (899187) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:04PM (#13090356) Homepage
    The key with innovation is that it usually doesn't come directly from companies, but rather academic and research based groups. Large companies merely buy and build upon interesting research work in order to create large profits.
  • a better list (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iggymanz (596061) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:04PM (#13090359)
    1. permanent read/write random-access storage that doesn't spin
    2. ubiquitous ten-megabit wireless networking coast to coast
    3. direct computer to brain link
    4. batteries with 10 times existing capacity, or fuel cell that runs on common cheap organic liquid such as wood alchohol.
    5. common-sense AI knowledgebase/engine to check spreadsheets, documents, databases for obvious errors.
  • Anyone (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cytlid (95255) * on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:05PM (#13090364)
    get the feeling this guy smoked a little too much dope during a Jetsons marathon?
  • little guy (Score:3, Informative)

    by sewagemaster (466124) <.sewagemaster. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:06PM (#13090367) Homepage
    " but then again that's just an opinion from a little guy.".

    no one's going to listen to you if you're a dick ;)
  • faster load up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aendeuryu (844048) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:08PM (#13090382)
    I want faster load ups. I want a machine that turns on and boots instantaneously. I want games to start running the moment I double-click on them. I want my 2 GHz chip with its generation of software to perform quicker than my 400 MHz chip did with its generation of software.

    Ok, I understand we can't all get what we want, so I want to know why what I want isn't happening.
  • How about? (Score:2, Funny)

    by elgee (308600)
    How about websites posted in slashdot that would not get slashdotted? Now that would be innovative.
    • I think by definition that's impossible. Hell, on the day of the London bombs, Reuters' website was slashdotted, so it happens to the best of us....

      It wouldn't be hard, however, for the /. devs to put in code that automatically converts all links to coral cache. :)
  • If I was motivated, I'd patent this and make something of it, but too lazy. the Power and maybe data cables of computer cases should be integrated into the case. This is mostly due to my like of windows (The physical, not binary type. Linux all the way) and modding a case, and that too many wires uglify the inside of my case. I think it's a good idea. Just have contacts somehow built into the drive bays so that you can just plug a drive in, and it'll run without having to fiddle with wires.
  • Slashdotted (Score:3, Informative)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:16PM (#13090417) Homepage
    It's slashdotted, but here's my top three wishes:

    1. PCs that finally boot from USB and FireWire.
    2. PCs that can boot into target disk mode.
    3. PCs that go to sleep and wake up instantly.

    My Mac laptops have had this for many years -- a decade already? -- but I still can't find any PCs that have this standard. This is brain dead stuff that should be there but isn't. Come on PC manufacturers, catch up before you try and "innovate".
    • Agreed (Score:3, Informative)

      by lullabud (679893)
      I hadn't even heard of target disk mode until I got my powerbook, and now I frequently come across instances where I wish I had it for my PC's.

      As for booting from USB and FiriWire, I know the new Dells have USB as an option on their F12 boot menu, and they'll show USB key drives as regular drives even when booting to older DOS prompts, like the Win98 CD.
  • by Dangerouslycheesy (900550) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:16PM (#13090418)
    Hey all, I'm the writer of the article and I just want to make a few things clear:

    This list is just mainly things I personally have gripes with in the industry, not so much a "What's most important to do in the next 5 years" article.

    I agree with you guys on the fact that there are many leaps and advancements in a lot of the technology sectors but I must say that in many ways, innovation and new ideas are not coming out like they used to.

    It's great that they are building on the present technology but how many years do we expect them to re-tool the "same" thing over and over again until we demand something better and completely new?

    Call my article bad or the "worst article ever" but again, this is just a playful list of things I personally would like to happen in the next 5 years and I would of included at least 10 more things but I'm a lazy bastard and I wrote the thing at nearly 3 A.M. before passing out on my desk.

    Just...take it [the article] for what it is and try to honestly and truthfully discuss your ideas and wants for the future, because if no one talks about this sort of thing then things will just keep looking the same for the next decade without any real considerable change.
    • Call my article bad or the "worst article ever" but again, this is just a playful list of things I personally would like to happen in the next 5 years and I would of included at least 10 more things but I'm a lazy bastard and I wrote the thing at nearly 3 A.M. before passing out on my desk.

      If you really were the person that wrote the article, which I am not disputing, perhaps you should have been drinking Sparks [drinksparks.com] instead of whatever it was you were getting inebriated with.

      Secondly, you spelled satirical w
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:54PM (#13090652)
      I can't read your article, so apparantly #6 should be "A server that doesn't suck" but from the mirrors of the first page I've seen and the /. comments, most of what you want is already out there.

      Fans are easy, go buy quiet fans. There are plenty of companies out there perfectly willing to sell you quiet fans for your system. Mine is totally outfitted with them.

      IF you want shit on your case, put it on then. Yuo can glue a bottle opener on, or add a tape deck, and so on. Some of your ideas aren't possible, like a soda dispenser (soda dispensers require large tanks of syurp, CO2, and a water hookup) but if you want your case to do more, make it do more.

      Wireless everything, well go for it. You can get all your controllers wireless, and your speakers too. Your monitor, well sorry, but we don't have the technology to do 3+ gigabits over the air yet. PEopel keep working on faster wireless, but it's not at the level for monitors. Of course, even if ou do go wireless to the tower, you still have to have wires for power, or battries. You can't transmit enough power through the air to power a device efficiently, and physics is the problem there, no amount of innovation will solve it.

      As for USB key uses, agan call it done. Many dongles for pro software are USB. Not done on consumer software because it would be more expensive than it's worth.

      I don't know what your fifth was, and can't glean it from comments.

      At any rate, it sounds like most of your personal beefs can either be solved now, or are things to which there are real, physical limits that prevent it from happening.
    • Slashdot UIDs over 900000 make me seem authoritative.
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:16AM (#13090753)
      Hey all, I'm the writer of the article

      Since your server is fucked and none of the usual mirrors have a complete copy, how about pasting the whole artilce here? Then we could abuse you for what you actually said.

  • A better mouse trap.

    (For the mice with legs, and teath)
  • by paiute (550198) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:31PM (#13090500)
    There is a long list of PC features that you may want, but are you willing to pay for them?

    How do you expect to see innovation in products which are commodities engaged in a race to the minimum price?

  • World Domination (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:34PM (#13090526)
    If you look at the rate of progress throughout the '70s and '80's and the first half of the '90's in the personal computing industry, it seemed as if there was a new miracle on sale every month.

    This is because there was intense competition between a number of personal computer and workstation and server vendors using an array of technologies and platforms.

    Then, as smaller companies died off, instead of being replaced, thay were smothered outright by platforms seeking "world domination" - Linux is partly to blame, killoing the market for specialized server and workstation hardware, but really, most of the problem was and is Microsoft and Intel.

    For a while, the Gaming industry bouyed the rate of innovation, but the game consoles are getting better and better, and the market for spiffy new peripherals for spiffy new games is slowly shrinking.

    This isn't to say that there's nothing new under the sun. The computer industry outside the PC/Server market is berzerk with innovation at the moment: the next gen consoles, FPGA SOC's, 24 megapixel DSLRs and cheap 5mp digicams, HDTV solid-state digital camcorders, amazing new mobile phone technologies being rolled into smaller and sexier phones on almost a daily basis, PMP systems ranging from the simple and stylish iPod to HDTV DVR's.

    It's just that the personal computing field and the server/workstation field has collapsed into singularity. You got your choice of Unix-derived OS's running GUI environments on top, running on the latest version of the bog-standard IBM PC Clone. Everything else has died off. No wonder it feels as if no more innovation is possible... of course new innovations are possible. It's just that the barrier to entry is now insurmountable.

    So microprocessors to make cars and pacemakers go will be getting hot new tech, and cell phones will get smaller and easier to use and last hundreds of hours on a single charge, but your Linux workstation or iMac or Windows tablet, 5 years from now, will be featured and equipped exaclty as it is now. It might be marginally faster at doing what it already does... but it won't be doing anything new.

    World Domination is never a good thing.

    SoupIsGood Food

    • Re:World Domination (Score:4, Interesting)

      by reflective recursion (462464) on Monday July 18, 2005 @01:45AM (#13091197)
      Have to agree, sadly.

      I'm big into language and OS design research, but a new OS becoming a success is a pipe-dream. Rob Pike has a good essay on this.

      Briefly, a new OS will never happen because as you said the barrier to entry is massive. I slightly disagree with where to place blame, though. It's not so much the fault of Microsoft/Linux/Apple dominating the scene as it is apathy and laziness in users.

      Hypothetically, if OS/2 crushed Windows we would all be split between OS/2, OS X, and the Unix variety. Once an OS gets a decent amount of apps written for it, it's nearly impossible to leave it. This is also the cause for the backwards compatibility insanity of today. I've written an x86 assembler and was dumbfounded by the crap one must go through just to do what appears to be a simple task (translating mnemonics to binary). ModR/M+SIB is hell and deserves the Ugliest Hack of the Universe award. Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Linux, etc. They are all bound to backwards compatibility. That alone puts a big block on innovation. I'd love to just toss out the traditional WIMP interface some time. It will likely never happen.

      I must say, I'm more than a little concerned about languages as well. There have always been many languages around, but not like today. COBOL, Fortran, C, Lisp, BASIC and a few others with small userbases were around 15-20 years ago. Today it is looking more and more like the Tower of Babel.

      I'm tempted to say that the language design insanity (Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, JavaScript, etc. etc.) and the excessive search for the silver bullet is a response to the stagnation of software innovation. Why I say this, is because it is completely misplaced.

      Perl is a response to a platform (Unix) that has hideous structured information. Or, rather, it has no structured information. Everything is unconnected text that sits in files. The closest thing to the ideal Perl replacement today would probably be SQL and a RDBMS. If properly integrated into the OS, I wager that 99% of the problems Perl solves would disappear. Hence, Perl would be unnecessary.

      TCL, Python and Ruby (with Perl overlap)? Those are there because people tire of using low-level languages. C *is* Linux and Linux (Unix) is C. And of course, much of it politics which completely kills innovation. Python/Ruby aren't that far removed from Lisp, yet we must reinvent for political and egotistical reasons.

      Look at Java for the worst example of NIH ever, and I don't see how any of it solves a single practical problem. The portability problem will never be solved by a VM, because everyone knows that the quality of the VM implementation is the key factor and varies widely. There is no difference between porting a C compiler to 100 platforms or porting a JavaVM to 100 platforms. The portability benefits are equal. Except Java has a seperate layer of indirection which adds further complexity and is a source of inefficiency. Sure, you can't distribute C apps like Java. But Java definately isn't the pinnacle of distributed applications.

      The biggest area of innovation will happen vertically as it is today. Things like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Firefox, etc. They will continue to go off on their own direction. But essential system-level innovation is dead, I'm afraid.

      On a side note, Linux employs the purest form of democracy seen to date. If you want something, you stick it in the system. This unfortunately does not make a well-designed system. A single person or a small team design the best systems. There are simply too many cooks stirring the pot to make it unifed and coherent. What we end up with is a pile of hacks on top of hacks. Nothing really well thought-out. It wouldn't be such a big deal if Unix was a system designed for evolution. It's not.. it's a big static ball of bits. Linux (and many other things) seem to require a recompile on the simplest changes to the system. And rarely does anything adhere to the Unix design philosophies (everything is a file, simple programs that
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:59PM (#13090673)
    The only successful PC vendor these days is Dell.

    Dell is a manufacturer, not a technology company... they assemble boxes cheap. Companies like Compaq, HP & IBM used to actually create new technologies that would either catch on or inspire Taiwanese boardmakers to clone similar features cheap.

    The last real PC vendor that actually included new or unique technology into their products was IBM... but of course they're gone now.
  • by bstadil (7110) on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:14AM (#13090740) Homepage
    On a more serious note, Dell computer is the bane of innovation in the PC area.

    They do not invest in R&D (>1%) and competes on price. This forces everyone else to pretty much follow (except Apple) as there is only so much delta price people is willing to pay for innovations.

    With Dell being the low-cost producer mainly due to Intel's discount this effectively means that the Innovations is being priced out of the industry.

    Innovations is left to the componets suppliers and they pretty much only knows how to make things faster and smaller.

    • by flabbergast (620919) on Monday July 18, 2005 @01:35AM (#13091141)
      Dell is not the cause, its a symptom of our times. People want $500 laptops and $200 computers and Dell has the power to give it to them. So, it does. Its not Dell's fault that its built itself into a powerhouse of low cost computing, its simply serving a public that wants everything at the lowest price possible regardless of the overall cost, in this case, innovation.
  • by suitepotato (863945) on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:21AM (#13090766)
    CLUSTERING
    By now, you'd figure the Linux would might have gotten this down and perfected or at least out of the distro useable. We need mirroring failover, load-balancing, load-distributing, and task-distributing clustering all in one package. Some machines become on boot failover mirrors opertaing in synch with the others. Some machines on boot become drones for the first group balancing out loads without mirroring everything. Some more will become auxillary drones for overall load spreading to keep the core stable. And the last group will take various code to execute as needed by the first three layers.

    THIN CLIENTS
    There's no reason to stick insanely powered PCs in every corner of my house and inside every piece of audio-visual equipment, complicating heat disposal, electricity distribution, and network connectivity. Still all the guts in one place and put interfaces elsewhere. The Enterprise didn't run on thick clients with computers everywhere, it had a giant multiprocessing core and every lesser powered computational device around the ship was essentially an interface and some sensors and tools. We'll never see this future if we doggedly insist on sticking something comparable to a Cray of ten years ago in every little box. Our houses will go into electrical meltdown and our electric bills will become comparable to mortgages.

    ENERGY EFFICIENCY
    Sometimes around the end of the 1982 recession the world seems to have forgotten the lessons of the nonexistant phony baloney energy crisis: it is possible to do things that we need and like with less energy and without inane politically motivated changes in our lifestyle. It would be far better to have lower power processors and support chips, with multiple cores and each core hyperthreading on board and the chips working together if we needed the horsepower and the ability to turn those processors down when we weren't using them. We could also use lower powered graphics processors. We could use more efficient power supplies. The list goes on. With true hot plugging, we could in the OS software tell the mobo to turn down slots that had cards without any task at the time like a dial up modem only being used as an occasional fax. Tell the USB or Firewire drives to turn off until needed. As opposed to the current power saving systems that don't actually tend to work consistantly and without farking hard drives and the data stored there.

    MODULARITY I don't call USB and Firewire everything modularity. I still have most everything jammed onto a single mobo and whatever isn't gets stuck in a PCI slot or one of the above mentioned busses. I would like to be able to power down, pull something like an Atari 2600 cartdrige out, and pop in another with a different processor. I'd like to be able to pop in more boards with no excess things I don't need. Like, say... a blade server. But it shouldn't cost fifty thousand dollars. We've had modularity, slots, etc. for a very long time now. Why is it that it costs insane amounts and is positioned in a way that discourages its use? Why must we be so monolithic? If my car was made that way, I'd not be able to stick a different air filter in without buying a new engine.

    INTERFACE
    How hard is it to understand that only somewhat accurate voice recognition, crappy voice synthesis, 3D and multi-monitor displays only for the well-heeled isn't cutting it? Instead we get convoluted eye candy keyboards, shiny mice and trackballs, we get geek candy. I want a speech recognition system that is speaker independent and given the Internet and sheer numbers of users, a wide range data base synthesizing the results together of millions of users should have by now come about. Nope. I was doing software based speech synthesis on a frigging 6502 with 64K RAM more than twenty years ago. Best we get is that voice of the MS Office assistants. Big deal we've had multi-monitor displays for years. No sign of them becoming the standard. So much
  • by melted (227442) on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:31AM (#13090808) Homepage
    1. Better color fidelity in laptop screens. I want to see _all_ 16M colors, no clipping in the skies.

    2. Lighter laptop batteries with 5-10x the capacity.

    3. High DPI laptop monitors and OS that natively supports scalable output (Longhorn is supposed to take care of that, if that's not yet been cut, too).
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday July 18, 2005 @12:54AM (#13090950) Journal
    but it seems that many here are mistaking improvement for innovation. Innovation is doing that which has not been done, nor was expected via the conduits of common sense.

    Innovation in computing will take some doing. There are plenty of companies that are trying to find and accept new business models and methods, trying to adapt to new threats, both malicious and competition based, but there is no innovation per se'. Unless you want to count multicore processors, low voltage processors, battery and power technologies that are leaps and bounds above previous. These are arguably derivitive works, but they build cornerstones for true innovation.

    Innovation in computing, by definition, must change how we use them in some way. The spreadsheet was an innovation. The DOS was an innovation. GUI OS was an innovation. What do we need now?

    We need more human like interaction with computers. Grandma doesn't need to know what icon to click if the computer asks her what she wants to do? Little sheila doesn't have to know the innards of Google if all she has to do is ask what is the three main properties of an isotope?

    There is an entire new (as yet unexplored) world of computing that is a huge layer between the user and the actual workings of a computer. All the recent 'innovations' in computing and technology bring us that little bit closer to the world of Star Trek computers. The people that help bridge what we have today over to what Star Trek and other futuristic folks have promised are the people that will bring innovation.

    The computer is a tool. We use it in different ways, but it is a tool. It really doesn't matter what OS you use, it is still a tool. I envision robots interacting with humans, and in the background use the computer/Internet to help or assist humans. How many times have you asked somebody who that movie actor was? or what is the word that means so and so? or asked people around you what is a word that means blah blah blah? We are born, and grow up, and by accident of birth, we learn and experience what it is that makes us much of what we are (so psychiatrists say) but with the computer and Internet, that can change. When you can ask your robot or PDA what is the identity of the bird that I just heard, then you have innovation. When you can be shopping and ask your robot or pda if this camelback couch is a good deal or not, that is innovation.

    When you can type out a shopping list for the grocery store, and a kid shows up when you get home with the items you wanted... that is innovation.

    The point is that technology isn't innovation. Innovation is how we use the technology. You can surf progressively faster and faster, but if you continue to surf the same way, there is no innovation.

    Perhaps some will argue with me (and TFA is unavailable) but innovation is not new batteries or a different design of laptop. Innovation is how we use the technology and information (that wants to be free by the way).

    Innovation is how software makes the information more useful. Right now we still pay lawyers to do patent searches... computers should tell us if there is prior art or patents without paying a lawyer. Information is just information. Sure there are those that want you to pay for it, but any free information should be available in ways that is just not possible now... that is innovation. When your child can ask the computer how many bones are in the human hand, and be shown a picture of them on the 'face' of their personal robot, that is innovation.

    Information doesn't want to just be free, it wants to be freely integrated into all of our lives. When there is even just one place in a rural 3rd world country where information like this is available, it doesn't take much to imagine that even the uneducated can ask for help finding a new way to solve a problem and finding how it was solved in all of history in other places. Say a third world company wants to build cars... and they ask the computer for cross reference of their design against all of the worlds minimum requirements for safety? If they got the answer, that is innovation. ... well, that is what I want. I'm not holding my breath.
  • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday July 18, 2005 @01:48AM (#13091214) Journal
    It's the AIR the fan is pushing that makes the noise. So I guess he wants quiet air..

    Pull the fins off your fan and see how much noise it makes. It won't make much. Unless it's old and shitty, but that's not a valid arguement.

    So, the "innovation" won't be in making quiet fans, it will be in making top of the line FAST chips that don't require them.
  • Hardware Dongles... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jtshaw (398319) * on Monday July 18, 2005 @04:39AM (#13091751) Homepage
    I've used lots of software in my time that used hardware dongles and the only word I can think of to describe it was EXTREMELY annoying.

    This USB key idea is pretty much exactly the same as the old parallel port dongle idea people once used.

    I'm sure he would realize what I meant the day he had to start looking for that USB key about the size of a quarter he left on his desk somewhere... or the day he had to juggle what devices he had plugged into his computer.. after all, not everyone has 10 USB ports available to them.

    Having one company in charge of the whole thing sounds like a disaster too... lets add a whole new layer of licensing fees to the mix...

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