Saturday, May 24, 2003

More on swiss army knives

My P800 mobile phone is a bit of a swiss army knife. I wouldn't move to any other phone on the market right now, but that's not to say that it's perfect. In the good old days, when I had a mobile phone and an Ipaq (or even a Palm) ... anyone wanting to book a meeting would call me and, whilst I was on the phone, I'd power up the Ipaq and check my diary, entering the appointment in the right place. Likewise, if someone left a number on my voice mail and I needed to jot it down, I could do it all on the Ipaq. Now, with everything integrated, I can't do that. I have to say "hold on", open up the calendar app, look at my diary, hold the phone back up to my ear and repeat until we find a date that matches. Now I know that some of that would go away with an earpiece, but have you honestly tried to keep your earpiece in whilst doing everything else you're supposed to do during the day? Greg Papadopoulos, a senior guy at Sun, says this way better than me ... here are 3 key points he made at a recent conference: The first is the law (formulated by Gingell) that networks continuously morph logical structure through a process of decomposition, distribution, specialization and re-integration. The second is a basic observation that all consumer-facing technologies become fashion. And the third is a qualitative extrapolation of the physics of computation (Feynman, Landauer, Wheeler) to a world where atoms and bits become more intricated over time, leading to the concepts of "infra-destructuring" and "bitmass." What he means is that we've integrated all the components now because we have to - the services and technologies we've got today aren't ready for a distributed, wireless accessible calendar for instance. But pretty soon, we're going to smash that model apart and distribute the components again - so the camera in the P800 will be part of my sunglasses, the phone will be on my belt, the phone directory will be in the ether (so it's accessible from any device I've got) and the pad that accesses it all will be a wafer thin screen that sits in my top pocket. Everything will communiate with everything else because (i) it can, (ii) it's not expensive anymore and (iii) because people will demand it. Profound words.

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