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People just don’t understand technology

I really love how people broadcast their own vision of the future because it really shows how naïve some people can really be – “the technology I use is what the next generation will be primarily using” is pretty much the sentiment. And not failing in this regard is Avram Piltch’s article in Laptopmag.com called “15 current technologies my newborn son won’t use“. Is everyone living in a science fiction novel?

Wired Home Internet

Do a little research to find out what exactly it’ll take to allow for wireless broadband Internet to everyone. It’ll take a lot: access towers all across the globe. This also means a ton of power – providing wireless signals sucks up more power than wired signals. Wired home Internet will not be going away ever for this reason, nor will it be replaced by cellular Internet access. There will always be the wires.

Dedicated Cameras and Camcorders

Why does everyone seem to think that camera phones will replace cameras? It’s not going to happen. Here’s what I wrote to Facebook:

I’m sorry, but anyone who tries to say that camera phones even come close to being able to compete with digital cameras, let alone DSLRs, is living in a fantasy world. As one person in the comments to this article correctly said, camera phones take “snapshots”, digital cameras take photographs.

Now this isn’t to say you cannot get any good photos from a camera phone. If you pay attention to all of the details of your shot, you certainly can. But until they start introducing an *optical* zoom on camera phones, digital cameras will remain in the market. Oh and if you try to tell me that digital zooms are “just as good” as optical zooms, you need to wake up.

I also addressed this notion last year (here) and two years ago (here). Please stop spreading the myth that camera-phones will be replacing dedicated still and video cameras. It won’t happen.

Landline Phones

Okay this one might actually be reasonable to predict. Cellular is spreading and the number of households without landlines is growing every year. Does this mean that landlines will be gone in a generation? Likely not. They will probably only exist as payphones, but they’ll still be around.

Slow-booting computers

If you’re computer cannot boot in under 60 seconds, you need to have a technician look at your computer to see what is causing the slow startup. My home laptop – which doesn’t have a solid-state drive – boots in less than 45 seconds, and it runs Windows 7. I also don’t have it loaded down with everything under the sun.

Plus if you install everything under the sun onto a computer with a solid-state hard drive, you’ll still slow it down. Some of my colleagues can attest to that.

Windowed Operating Systems

While what you might think of as a “window” in an operating system might go away, the only thing Microsoft has done with Windows 8 is give another definition for a window. As a Windows-centric software engineer, let me put out this little tidbit: every graphical element in Windows is a window or derives from a window. This is how Microsoft designed Windows, and the other windowed operating systems are likely designed in a similar fashion.

So windowed operating systems aren’t going anywhere. The only thing that’ll change is what you might consider a “window”.

Hard drives

Okay this person has no idea what a hard drive is as he tries to term a solid state drive as something other than a hard drive. A solid state drive is a hard drive. We have solid state hard drives right now, and they are growing in capacity each year, but they are much more expensive than the “platter” hard drives with which most people are familiar. Hard drives are only called “hard” drives because of their original technology counterpart which will likely be completely gone in a decade: the floppy drive.

Please learn your technology terminology before writing an article about it.

Movie theaters

Movie theaters aren’t going anywhere, and it’s stupid of anyone to suggest such. They might decline in popularity, but they will still be around. As long as there is consumer demand for the theater, it’ll exist.

The mouse

Raise your hand if you think touchscreens are going to replace the mouse? Yeah, I thought so. Mice provide much more precision with manipulating the pointer cursor than your finger, and as long as that precision is needed, mice will be around. It might be relegated to a few industries, such as photo editing and video production, but they’ll still be around.

3D glasses

The glasses are a pain, and people actually speaking favorably about using them are few and far between in my experience. In my opinion, I think the 3D craze with regard to movies is going to be short-lived, but I could be wrong.

Remote controls

Again this is a matter of a change in perception. What is considered a “remote control” to most people might go away, or it might not. Personally, I’m leaning toward the latter. You can already buy rather intelligent remote controls – I have a Logitech Harmony and love it – and they’ll likely only continue to get more intelligent, but they’re not going away.

Desktops

He’s actually pretty spot on, with the exception of his ending phrase:

By the time my son is in elementary school, PC vendors will have stopped producing most desktop computers, though all-in-ones with large screens, high-end workstations for people who do industrial-strength computations, and servers (probably in blade form) will remain. As someone who loves to build desktops from parts, I hope the market for PC components remains intact so my son and I will still be able to custom build a computer together, but I fear that option may disappear too.

Laptops are already replacing desktops simply because recent years have seen good laptops priced lower than their desktop counterparts. Laptops have typically cost more than their equivalent desktops, but only recently did that change, and we can expect the trend to continue. Does this mean the desktop is going away? So long as there are PC gamers, no.

Phone numbers

Again this is a matter of a change in perception. What we call a “phone number” today will likely not exist in a generation. Instead it’ll be replaced with something else. Will VoIP replace cellular? Don’t count on it.

Fax machines

This is probably the only section of his article with which I agree in its entirety. Fax machines are going away, folks.

Optical discs

Here’s what he has to say:

Yet with the growth in downloadable and streaming video services, all physical media is on the fast track to extinction.

It’s amazing how many people think the Internet will spell the end of the physical media. Any person who knows anything about the Internet, especially the current cloud-based offerings, knows the fallacy of this statement. All I can say to the rest of you is to just do some research. Optical discs might go away, but it’ll be replaced with a different physical media. Physical media for entertainment distribution will never go away.

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