Posted on January 31, 2011
Actually this is a 2011 prediction by blogger, author, and PBS TV personality, Mark Stephens who is better known by his pen name Robert X. Cringely. Consider the following points.
First, Apple’s future is hugely dependent upon an unfettered Internet. Yet ISP service is dominated by the CATV and telephone industries which have powerful economic reasons to discourage Internet growth. The telephone companies still make tons of money from circuit-switched landline telephone subscribers. Similarly, CATV operators generate the bulk of revenues from conventional Pay TV services.
As computing devices from smartphones to desktops get steadily more powerful consumers increasingly want to use them for high bandwidth applications including the consumption and distribution of Digital Media. The trend crashes head-long into conventional telco and CATV services. For example, inexpensive and versatile services like Skype could obsolete circuit-switched telephony overnight if ISP holding companies adopted the spirit of net neutrality. Instead they respond by providing a more limited-feature form of proprietary IP telephony whose principal advantage is greater bandwidth allocation. Read more…
Posted on January 26, 2011
Historically computers evolved from rarely seen mainframes, to personal models on every desktop, to laptops convenient for offices, students, business trips, and homes. But most recently smartphones and tablet models are pushing the industry into a new mobile computing paradigm characterized by (1) ubiquity, (2) intuitive & integrated operation, and (3) personalization.
We recently prepared a White Paper for Digimarc explaining how mobile computing devices are becoming cognitive prosthetics. Much as amputees routinely use mechanical prosthetics as artificial limb extensions, habitual smartphone and tablet owners are starting to use the units as handy intelligent aids. For example smartphones can obtain price comparisons merely by scanning bar codes and other implanted signals of shelf merchandise.
Gartner predicts smartphones will outnumber personal computers in two years. Forrester forecasts 82 million Americans will use tablet computers by 2015. Pew Research Center estimates 60% of Americans accessed the Net on their phones last year as compared to only 25% in 2009. Read more…
Posted on January 9, 2011
How it Happened 150 Years Ago
As the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War gets underway, many wrongly assume the first shots were those forcing the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter to surrender in April, 1861. Actually, there was an incident over three months earlier on January 9th. It also occurred in the Charleston, South Carolina harbor but was potentially far more consequential than generally supposed.
Six weeks after Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina became the first state to secede on December 20, 1860. Yet there were Federal troops routinely stationed in the state, including seventy-five artillerymen at a place called Fort Moultrie located at the mouth of Charleston harbor. Moultrie faced the water from the mainland north shore and wasn’t designed to withstand attack from the landward side. Read more…