Rohan Jayasekera's thoughts on the evolving use of computers -- and the resulting effects

Occasional thoughts by Rohan Jayasekera of Toronto, Canada.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The "Sixth Sense" wearable device

Back in the mid-1970s I decided that the type of computer I really wanted was one implanted in my body and attached to my central nervous system, so that I could interact with it via nerve impulses back and forth. I wouldn’t be able to really use it immediately as I would have to learn to emit signals along certain nerves, those that instead of being connected to various physical muscles were connected to my computer, replacing input devices like a keyboard or pointing device. In the other direction, I would learn to process the signals emitted by that computer, as I process the vision and sound emitted by my eyes and ears. In time it would happen without thinking, just as I don’t have to think about what nerves to activate in order to turn my head to the left, or how to interpret the signals from my eyes in order to form an image.

I suppose the computer-to-brain direction could be called a sixth sense. (But it wouldn’t allow me to see dead people.)

The “Sixth Sense” wearable computer recently developed at MIT introduces a new method of practical interaction that doesn’t use a conventional physical screen. It’s not an implant, but it’s a big step along the way. Watch the video of the TED 2009 presentation here. 8 minutes 42 seconds of mindblowingness.

Monday, March 09, 2009

More on the evolution of netbooks

Finally there’s an article I can really recommend on the evolution of netbooks. It’s at the blog: Netbooks Offer a Chance to Challenge Windows' Long Reign.

I can’t, however, recommend the reader comments at the end of the article, as they’re mostly negative ones from Windows and Linux loyalists who cannot imagine that, in an online world, most people would be better served by something other than Windows or Linux or Mac OS.

There is a more reasonable comment that the article should also have listed Google’s Android OS. While no official Android netbook implementation has been announced, it was recently reported that Asus is working on an Android-powered Eee PC, possibly with assistance from Google Taiwan.

Meanwhile, here’s an update on my December post in which I wrote that I and others think Apple should introduce a netbook that’s not a small Mac but rather a large iPod Touch. (Admittedly, such a device would differ sufficiently from current netbooks as to warrant having a different name — and I have a suspicion that Apple would loudly say “it’s not a netbook”.) Earlier today Silicon Alley Insider wrote about the mounting evidence that Apple intends to introduce such a device later this year. (The reader comments there are much better!)