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The All Seeing I

The All Seeing I

What will the future of computing look like 100 issues from now?

I am celebrating this 100th issue by looking ahead 100 issues more, to describe the technological landscape of 2015. Using my "All Seeing I (in IT)", I predict great changes for IT and its impact on businesses and homes, which I'll now reveal. (You'll need to imagine the swirling mist and eerie background music as you read on).

Following the usual business cycle of doing the opposite to what was done last decade, companies have eschewed consolidation for a new buzzword. They're dismantling the centralized monolith, as it's now called, and replacing it with Dispersed Computing, where computing power is collected from hundreds of external specialized servers throughout the world. Managing Dispersed Computing is more difficult, but fortunately all management and managers have been dispersed as well.

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Readers have returned to paper magazines and newspapers because although they aren't quite as up to date as Web publications and cost more, they have the overwhelming advantage of lacking annoying online advertisements that constantly pop up, flash, spin and never go away.

We also thought SPAM would never go away, but it rapidly declined once micro-payment schemes were successfully adopted by users who charged $0.001 for every e-mail received from anyone not in their address book. It killed off SPAM remarkably quickly, as given their precarious business models, the SPAM senders couldn't justify paying for e-mail marketing. For a while, some enterprising people (mainly students) created hundreds of bogus e-mail addresses just to collect money from SPAM mail. It was ironic that after all the hoaxes about AOL, Microsoft and IBM paying you to receive e-mail, people finally made some money out of it.

Technology is much more freely shared between companies in 2015. The steadily increasing litigation culminated in a landmark court battle at The Hague of "Everyone vs Everyone", where at one point Microsoft had itself in the witness stand defending its own charges. In the end, Everyone decided it was simpler, and a lot cheaper, to just work with Everyone.

The biggest technology change would have to be wireless power. With power cords eliminated, we finally have true portable computing. Devices are recharged automatically by a network of electricity kiosks called Terminal Terminals. Care is needed not to walk through high voltage beams, but the injury rates are now at acceptable levels (at least, acceptable to the retailers).

IP has become the default for all communications, be it data, image, voice or streaming, and households are increasingly signing up for Everything Over IP (EOIP). Coincidentally, "eoip" is also the sound people make when they get zapped from walking through a wireless power field.

The first Petabit bandwidth service has just been launched, with experts predicting Exabit networks into homes by 2020. People are increasingly paying for bandwidth through salary sacrifice, and Bandwidth Loans are being offered by the more creative banking institutions.

There was a communication crisis in 2011 when all available frequencies were fully utilized. The crisis was averted by making higher frequencies available, but health groups have expressed safety concerns given they now extend into the microwave band, citing numerous cases of burns to office workers where these new frequencies are in use. This has led researchers to work on an innovative technology called WirelessLess, where dangerous signals are conducted directly from the network device to the computing device via a securely shielded communications conduit. They're calling this remarkable breakthrough "Communications Avoiding Bursts of Lethal Energy" or CABLE for short.

The business computer has fully merged with the "MoPho" (mobile phone/Pocket PC described last month), having skipped pen-based computing altogether when it became evident that only 10 percent of people could write any more. Most exciting is the Matrushka (Russian Doll) design, where a fully functional laptop separates into successively smaller removable devices, each with reduced functionality but increased portability, while sharing the same data and interfaces.

Disk storage has embraced holographic storage of data in the layers of the substrate, not just on the disk surface. As a result, disks have gotten smaller but thicker, so they're now purchased in cubes. These are particularly popular for Internet fridges, which have finally gained public acceptance, as the disk cube doubles as a fridge magnet, where it not only stores your kid's paintings, it also holds them up.

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