Remember Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live in the 80’s? During the “Weekend Update” he dressed up to look like an old man and sit there telling the Kids: “Back in my day…” He would always end the line with being bloody and beat up and “WEEEE LOVED IT!”.
This week I was asked the question: Will the student now using a Mac be able to adapt to a PC environment in the workforce? I said Yes and went on with my college story: I used a MAC until 1995. After that, it was a PC until 2005 when I learned Mac environments for work. But even the Windows or Mac of 1998 is not the same of 2008. It really begs the question: What will the machines of 2018 look like?
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We have those thoughts of people looking at monitors and controlling them with their minds. While it would be nice, I think we will take a more practical and realistic approach to this. We might go a little off in technology for this, though.
As I was contemplating this subject I ran into an old 2001 segment on “The Screen Savers” – a popular show on the now defunct “TechTV” channel. In this segment, a viewer emailed that he wanted to swap out his 30 gig hard drive for a larger one and wondered if there was anything bigger. Patrick Norton and Leo Laporte said: while the technology is not past 80 gb right now, it would soon be. They then went on to show the user how to RAID a drive to get a larger capacity. 4 – 40 gig drives to make it 160… well 158 gigabytes.
Nowadays, the largest consumer hard drive is 1.5 Terabyte, and Solid State Hard Drives are really starting to creep into the mix. Also, nowadays we can put 4 of those 1.5 TB drives in a device that will RAID stripe the data and use a network to get to it. Nowadays 1 Meg takes less than a second to download and 1 gig is not too far behind. Nowadays we can put Microsoft on an Apple, and – god forbid – put an Apple on a PC. Nowadays we can connect our TV, lamps, garage doors, windows, cars, thermostats and in some cases even pets to a computer. Nowadays we can control those things from a phone or machine in any place feesable – even 20 thousand feet in the air.
I couldn’t do any of that in 1998.
Microsoft Windows 98 is nothing like XP or Vista. Mac OS 8.5 was on a PowerPC. Then again, we were finally moving from 486 architecture to Pentium. USB ports were being implemented – nobody knew what a flash drive was and very little printers could use the USB port.
The biggest thing it shows us is that 10 years from now, it really won’t be the same computer and OS as now. There are lots that can change in 10 years.
For instance, let’s take video cards. In 1998, AGP was being implemented. PCI video was at 4 MB. Now, AGP is being retired for PCI express and dual core video cards running multiple gigs.
Where does that leave video in 10 years? I would guess we would be at multicore terabyte video cards. If the PCI Express architecture is still around, I would guess it would be in its 5th or 6th generation and really not the same as cards nowadays. Even AGP went from 2x to 4x to 8x slots.
Microsoft even said that soon, we might not even have a mouse on the computer. Multi-touch screens could emulate a keyboard to type on so you could turn your keyboard into a second monitor – maybe to read the machine in the style of a book or to flip it so you and another can see the mirror screen action.
The question would be back at “Windows or Mac” software. There are some that believe Windows will lose to Open source software like Linux – or Ubuntu. Others say your PC will not really be on the box sitting on your desk. It will instead be up on a server somewhere in the Cloud. Virtualization will make the hardware not as important for the Operating system. Mac on a PC? In a Virtual Environment, maybe.
Still, going back to the OS, we will see many changes. There may still be a “Start Button” and an Apple menu in 10 years, but will the Control Panel look like that in XP or Vista? Will you even remember the DOS or Unix commands of 2008? Will the systems even have an MSDOS emulator or Unix kernel? I hope so – I really like to play my “The Incredible Machine” from time to time.
The reality is – even in 5 years, we will be switching from XP and Vista to “Windows 7”. Mac will be on 11 point Something – or even 12. Maybe the new Microsoft Office Ribbon will be defunct. One thing is for sure. We used to used IBM PCjr’s with Chicklet keyboards and bang on the keys until our hands were bloody stumps and we loved it. WE LOVED IT.