What da hell has technology really done?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by EricChunky, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. EricChunky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I ask this question on Google Answers as well, only 20 bucks so i cant hope anyone taken it seriously, anyway here's the questions (i'm being more specific on the computer technology, rather than technology in general)

    I believe the personal computer industry has made little progress in
    the past 10 years. Why?

    As a university professor in electronic physics, my mum is now using a
    brand new IBM x60s with Office 2003. She use this little expensive
    computer to surf web, checking mails, preparing PDFs and Powerpoint
    slides for lectures, play MP3s and sometimes had a SkyPe chat with me.

    These things are EXACTLY the same as she was doing 10 years ago, with
    Office 97 and a Pentumn II IBM x21. Technology developed, true; Ram
    and hard rive size got bumped, true; CPU speed followed the Morse Law,
    true; but the interaction between human and computer, the experience,
    does not really improved that much.

    We still have to "type" every word and to use a mouse clicking around
    to operate the system. Nothing is particularly easier or more
    comfortable compared with it was 10 years ago.

    We still surf the web via search engine, check mails, edit documents
    and play media files EXACTLY like what we did 10 years ago. There are
    indeed some slight improvements among these things, like Google now is
    better than Yahoo 10 years ago, but these changes are not significant
    enough when you put it into a 10 year timeframe in the fastest
    developing technology industry.

    I came across this idea when I was looking for a portable device, with
    10"-12" screen that can let me read PDF files (plus light weight
    editing), take all my lecture notes (hand writing) and organize my
    schedule. The thing should be light weighted and has long battery
    life. All requires maximum 2001 technology, but no-one makes such a
    thing. When you see people leaving the classic 3Com Post-it notes on
    30" Cinema display, you really feel the ironic.

    (This thought might not be appropriate, but just trying to explain my
    ideas a bit in example).

    I did notice in business the technical advancements do benefit a lot,
    quick database, more bandwidth etc. So why such a sharp comparison
    when technology comes to personal use? Or, does it mean, technology is
    not for life?

    Have you ever thought that we might be able to do A LOT more with
    CURRENT technology (like the hand-writing PDF e-reader stuff I talked
    about earlier)?

    My point here is, the whole PC development has gone to a wrong
    direction, and it has reasons:

    When computer (pc) was first made available, it only aimed at techies,
    the market gradually moved on to business in 80s and early 90s. The
    real Personal Computer does not really exist until the late 90s. So
    the whole industry is still sticking with the wrong market and refuse
    to embrace the new market. Instead of making computer more “human”,
    companies are trying to educate every customer into business user or
    techies.

    It might also due to that most PC companies have been playing with
    techies and business consumers for too long that they can't adjust
    themselves properly to the switching trend. Sometimes it is not they
    don't want to develop more “human” technologies, is the tech people
    within the company don't have the ability to do so.

    An interesting thing should be brought up here – the reborn of Apple
    computer. Apple seems to be the first company that realize the next
    generation of computer market (the home users), and produced a series
    of hardware / software that is more user friendly and intuitive
    compared with PC. That’s why they still manage to survive when they
    are producing computers with much less computing power (PowerPC was an
    energy / efficiency joke) and selling it at higher prices. (Pre-Intel
    era).

    It is also interesting to look at Apple’s recent switch to the Intel
    chips. While the platform remain closed for compatibility, stability
    and usability sake, Apple seems to emphasis more on “speed” rather
    than its traditional goodies such as stability and quality. (See
    overheated MacBook Pros and the large amount of Random-Shut-Down
    MacBooks).

    To sum it up, what do consumers really want? Are the current
    technology offering really satisfied their need Or are those
    technology companies keep being ignorant and try to “Create” new
    demands?

    I’m preparing my final year dissertation on this, but I can’t really
    find anyone to chat about this in depth. I tried to Google but few
    satisfying results returned. What I need (as this is Google Answer)
    are two things:

    1. Statistics that might support my idea
    2. Existing literature concerning this matter. (I can’t find any
    relevant books while this is not very likely to be a completely new
    idea)
    3. Any studies (website / organizations) are dealing with this matter

    Thank you for reading this.
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    what has technology really done?

    depends on your usage.
    if all you do is internet and word processing. it hasn't done much except more bandwith.

    if you're a graphic designer, well i think things have improved greatly.
    if you do 3D animation, things have progressed dramatically.

    things have to be put into perspective, and remember its not as if all households have/need/use computers.
     
  3. EricChunky thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #3
    I don't have the statstics, but I do know there are a lot of people (and it is increasing at highest speed compared with others segements, think about $100 laptop project by MIT etc.) that use computers simply for internet, word processing, organizer and multimedia playback.

    Why can't we invest more, to have something like this:

    http://ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=j_han&flashEnabled=1

    rather than to use billions for that extra one core or 0.5 Ghz in our CPU?
     
  4. Grakkle macrumors 6502a

    Grakkle

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Earth
    #4
    Yes! I totally agree. Technology may be advancing, but I can't belive how essentially primative it still is. It's true that computers are faster and can do much more, especially in design than twenty years ago, but the ideas and operations are still based on the same premises. We need radical change!

    I want true voice recognition, an intuitive (a REAL intuitive!) search engine programme, and an end to nonsensical user interfaces. (Though OS X is really fairly good, as far as that goes.)

    I imagine a computer as a living organism, using biological processing and bio-memory, actually responding as a person. If it could actually be self-aware and thinking, so much the better. But A.I. isn't necessary to improve our current computers dramatically.

    Humph.
     
  5. EricChunky thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #5
    Hi Grakkle

    You did mentioned a lot of si-fi style good points. However, have you ever thought that we might be able to do A LOT more with CURRENT technology (like the hand-writing pdf e-reader stuff)?

    My point here is, the whole thing has gone to a wrong direction... and it has reasons:

    When computer (pc) was first made available, it only aimed at techies, then it moved on to business in 80s and early 90s. PC does not really become personal until the late 90s (i mean, very late, like Pentumn 2 stuff with mmx). That's when we finally have real personal computer. So the whole industry is still focusing in wrong direction, and Apple is kind of the first company that realize the change (started with the steve branded new iMac).

    Other companies, they have been playing with techie and business consumers for too long and can't adjust themselves properly to the trend. It is not they don't want to, is the techie ppl within the company don't have the ability to create more "human" computer.

    maybe during the past few years things started to change, but the current situation is still bad..

    anyway, anyone answers my question? Which Books can i pick up n read ????
     
  6. Spock macrumors 68000

    Spock

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Vulcan
    #6
    Im not sure I want a self aware computer. When my old iMac acts up I hit it, I would hate for it to get mad at me and not want to get my email for me or worse, it could hit me back!
     
  7. mleary macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    #7
    It's all about how you use the technology. Yes, 10 years ago personal computing was at a point where you could edit letters, browse simple content on websites, etc. Think about all the things you can do with a computer now that were not possible ten years ago. True not everyone uses technology to it's full potential, that will always be the case.
     
  8. Grakkle macrumors 6502a

    Grakkle

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Earth
    #8
    lol! I guess that is the sort of thing you'd have to watch out for. 'Be polite to the computer James. I want to do some work tonight.':D
     
  9. Frogurt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    #9
    10 years ago...

    Could you buy movies online and have them nearly instantly?
    Could you get a computer fast enough to decode that great movie?
    Could you start a video chat with someone across the world on a personal computer?
    Could you load up the family vacation photos and send them to grandma in seconds instead of weeks?
    Could you edit you own movies on a $500 computer?
    Could you take a picture with your cell phone and send it to a friend?
    Could you watch a movie in the palm of your hand?
    Could you share photos on the web for free with everyone in the world?
    Could you translate any web page in just about any language for free?
    Could you carry hundreds of songs in a space smaller than a wristwatch?
    Could you connect your home computer, your car stereo, you phone and your PDA with the push of a button?
    Could you surf the web while sitting at the beach?

    Technology has progressed so much in people's lives in the last decade. This thread borders on ludicrous.
     
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    You do understand that the answer to most your questions is "Yes," don't you?
     
  11. stevehp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    It's not a house, it's a home.
    #11
    I guess we just all have to wait for Quantam Computing!

    In fact, it's already available in the testing phase isn't it?
     
  12. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    Intel Giveth and Microsoft Taketh Away.

    Hardware advances are met one to one with increasing demands of larger and more feature laden software with messier code.
     
  14. EricChunky thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #14
    Exactly my point...

    Think about the PC Gaming industry as well

    a multi-thousand bucks 20" LCD Gaming PC Set Up versus a sub $200 PS2+ say 27" Old Sony Trinitron TV from Mum.

    which one's better?
     
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #15
    People might say, it has given people more information quicker to allow them to do their job.

    But, that info overload and the immediacy people expect replies for unimportant crap -- it has also reduced productivity.

    The info at the fingertips has also reduced face time, and created bigger sofa/deskbound spuds than ever.
     
  16. EricChunky thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #16
    Could you buy movies online and have them nearly instantly?

    I can’t do it now if I’m not a big fan of Apple and iTunes.

    Could you get a computer fast enough to decode that great movie?

    Why you need a computer to decode movie? You do know there are standalone VCD/DVD players don’t you?


    Could you start a video chat with someone across the world on a personal computer?

    I did that like 7 years ago.

    Could you load up the family vacation photos and send them to grandma in seconds instead of weeks?

    Oh yes, we can do that some 15 years aog.

    Could you edit you own movies on a $500 computer?

    Look, how many people are editing home movies? I bet you are not the only one who uses computer in your family, but you might very likely to be the only one who do this. For those who don’t, NO DIFFERENCES.

    Could you take a picture with your cell phone and send it to a friend?

    Statistics says that 80% of the cellphone users here in UK never sent a MMS in their life. And less than 4 percent sent MMS on regular basis. See? Rubbish Technology = Technology that few use it.


    Could you watch a movie in the palm of your hand?

    Again, how many people want to watch a movie on a 3” screen?

    Could you surf the web while sitting at the beach?

    And how many of us need to surf web while we are sitting at beach?

    etc. etc

    Anyway, you didn't get me. I'm not saying that Technology hasn't change, I'm saying the technology changes does not serve our lifes well! The development of technology is not following the demand path, it is following the techies dream!
     
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #17
    This is the wrong answer. The fact is that you could edit a home movie on your home computer 10 years ago. The computer would have cost more than $500, but the price was more a matter of economics than technology.
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #18
    I blame Microsoft. Really, I do.

    Their products are regarded as the industry "standards," even though Microsoft moves notoriously slowly, and forward only when they have to. Now, if 90% of computer users are prepared to accept the idea that slow-motion from Microsoft is entirely good enough, then how can we expect rapid progress in computer technology?
     
  19. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    I think that you might be missing a very valuable point in all of this. The change in technology is less important than the proliferation of the technology. You say that these changes have served our lives well?

    I think the cellular phone is a great example of how technology has served my life well. I can now contact virtually every one of my friends directly, nearly instantly, no matter where I am at any particular time. That is quite the advancement!
     
  20. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #20
    Actually, after trying the whole download thing my wife and I decided to go with Netflix. But 20 years ago there was a Blockbuster Video less than 5 minutes away just about anywhere.
    Would we have needed a computer fast enough to decode a movie? Quicktime was running very nicely on systems back 10 years ago... but for pretty much the same quality using Apple's iPod video format, you need 8 times the processing power. That is hardly an advancement.
    My SGI Indy came with video conferencing back in 1993, and was around on Macs by 1996.
    Yes. JPEG and e-mail existed back in 1996.
    If you found the right deal on a used Power Macintosh 7100/8100/7500/8500, you could capture and edit video on a $500 computer. You could even do it on a Quadra 840AV or a Quadra 700/900/950 (with a capture card). I do all my video capture using either my SGI Indy (again, from 1993, captures at full frame rate at full frame size) or my 8600 (from 1997, captures at quarter frame at full frame rate... same as the play back on iPod video). Before I had the Indy I used an 8500 (1997 to 1999, again, captured at quarter frame at full frame rate).
    After having both a cell phone and a pager back in 1997-2000 I won't touch the things today.
    Could do that more than 20 years ago (hand held TVs have been around for quite some time).
    Free means giving up your rights to your own images... hardly an advancement. But yes, I was sharing photos on the web for free (I wasn't having to pay) as early as 1994.
    When were web based translators not free?
    No, but I could have access to hundreds of thousands of songs in a size not much bigger than an iPod more than fifty years ago. Maybe you've heard of it. You know... radio. And tape players and CD players have been around for a long time (and weren't that much bigger than an iPod). Currently I still use one of the first iPod shuffles (one of the first sold anywhere)... it rarely has more than 45 minutes of music on it.
    I could connect my computer and my PDA... the rest, I still wouldn't want to.
    The technology already existed... there wasn't a demand for it then. But I could connect my computer to my PDA, or to other computers, wirelessly back then.

    Actually, what is amazing is that you weren't aware that most of this stuff existed 10 years ago.

    What has advanced in 10 years is not the technology, but the acceptance... actually, the dependance, on that technology.

    What is scary is that people (like you from what I see here) honestly believe that the only way to do anything is with a brand new, top of the line system from today. I can do more things with my computer (the newest of which is from 2000) than most people can do with their new computers today.



    The only advance that I see that was worth the wait is the availability of information. When I was growing up, if something major happened, you heard about it on TV/radio or you went to the library to research it. And while the web requires a certain amount of filtering of the information, it is still far better than what life was like before it.

    The best technology that I learned of about 10 years ago was PDF. I now carry what would normally have been more than a few hundred pounds of paper documents in a computer that weighs less than 5 pounds... and that computer is more than 10 years old! :eek:
     
  21. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #21
    I wouldn't just blame information... you have a whole generation of gamers who never see the light of day. Add that to the increased content (24/7) on TV and you have a lot of people not moving much (and getting heavier because of it). :eek:
     
  22. eb6 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    yo yo yo
    #22
    What are you wanting it to do? Is this all because you can't find a 10" pdf reader? Thats not technology making progress, its a different size screen. And if it only takes "2001 Technology" then why do you want it to progress anymore than it has? Technology is already overwhelming. What more do you need done for you in your life? Do I want technology to read my mind, raise my kids, and wipe my butt?? No.
     
  23. Grakkle macrumors 6502a

    Grakkle

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Earth
    #23
    Actually the technology to wipe your butt already exists. It's called a bidet.:D
     
  24. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    51st State of America
    #24
    So far people have only skimmed the surface here as to what has caused or stopped our progress. Most people blame Microsoft, fair enough but what about government interference, patents copyrights and proper funding?

    Forget computing what about my moonbase? Why are we still living on one planet or one intersteller body? Why haven't we gone "out there".

    I think what it boils down to is lack of competition (a strike against MS) and the fact the public by and large are really more interested in porno and video websites.
     
  25. EricChunky thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #25
    I ask this question on Google Answers as well, only 20 bucks so i cant hope anyone taken it seriously, anyway here's the questions (i'm being more specific on the computer technology, rather than technology in general)

    I believe the personal computer industry has made little progress in
    the past 10 years. Why?

    As a university professor in electronic physics, my mum is now using a
    brand new IBM x60s with Office 2003. She use this little expensive
    computer to surf web, checking mails, preparing PDFs and Powerpoint
    slides for lectures, play MP3s and sometimes had a SkyPe chat with me.

    These things are EXACTLY the same as she was doing 10 years ago, with
    Office 97 and a Pentumn II IBM x21. Technology developed, true; Ram
    and hard rive size got bumped, true; CPU speed followed the Morse Law,
    true; but the interaction between human and computer, the experience,
    does not really improved that much.

    We still have to "type" every word and to use a mouse clicking around
    to operate the system. Nothing is particularly easier or more
    comfortable compared with it was 10 years ago.

    We still surf the web via search engine, check mails, edit documents
    and play media files EXACTLY like what we did 10 years ago. There are
    indeed some slight improvements among these things, like Google now is
    better than Yahoo 10 years ago, but these changes are not significant
    enough when you put it into a 10 year timeframe in the fastest
    developing technology industry.

    I came across this idea when I was looking for a portable device, with
    10"-12" screen that can let me read PDF files (plus light weight
    editing), take all my lecture notes (hand writing) and organize my
    schedule. The thing should be light weighted and has long battery
    life. All requires maximum 2001 technology, but no-one makes such a
    thing. When you see people leaving the classic 3Com Post-it notes on
    30" Cinema display, you really feel the ironic.

    (This thought might not be appropriate, but just trying to explain my
    ideas a bit in example).

    I did notice in business the technical advancements do benefit a lot,
    quick database, more bandwidth etc. So why such a sharp comparison
    when technology comes to personal use? Or, does it mean, technology is
    not for life?

    Have you ever thought that we might be able to do A LOT more with
    CURRENT technology (like the hand-writing PDF e-reader stuff I talked
    about earlier)?

    My point here is, the whole PC development has gone to a wrong
    direction, and it has reasons:

    When computer (pc) was first made available, it only aimed at techies,
    the market gradually moved on to business in 80s and early 90s. The
    real Personal Computer does not really exist until the late 90s. So
    the whole industry is still sticking with the wrong market and refuse
    to embrace the new market. Instead of making computer more “human”,
    companies are trying to educate every customer into business user or
    techies.

    It might also due to that most PC companies have been playing with
    techies and business consumers for too long that they can't adjust
    themselves properly to the switching trend. Sometimes it is not they
    don't want to develop more “human” technologies, is the tech people
    within the company don't have the ability to do so.

    An interesting thing should be brought up here – the reborn of Apple
    computer. Apple seems to be the first company that realize the next
    generation of computer market (the home users), and produced a series
    of hardware / software that is more user friendly and intuitive
    compared with PC. That’s why they still manage to survive when they
    are producing computers with much less computing power (PowerPC was an
    energy / efficiency joke) and selling it at higher prices. (Pre-Intel
    era).

    It is also interesting to look at Apple’s recent switch to the Intel
    chips. While the platform remain closed for compatibility, stability
    and usability sake, Apple seems to emphasis more on “speed” rather
    than its traditional goodies such as stability and quality. (See
    overheated MacBook Pros and the large amount of Random-Shut-Down
    MacBooks).

    To sum it up, what do consumers really want? Are the current
    technology offering really satisfied their need Or are those
    technology companies keep being ignorant and try to “Create” new
    demands?

    I’m preparing my final year dissertation on this, but I can’t really
    find anyone to chat about this in depth. I tried to Google but few
    satisfying results returned. What I need (as this is Google Answer)
    are two things:

    1. Statistics that might support my idea
    2. Existing literature concerning this matter. (I can’t find any
    relevant books while this is not very likely to be a completely new
    idea)
    3. Any studies (website / organizations) are dealing with this matter

    Thank you for reading this.
     

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