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The Computer for the 21st Century
"Machines that fit the human environment, instead of forcing humans
to enter theirs, will make using a computer as refreshing as taking a
walk in the woods."
- "Personal computer" is a misplaced idea: computers should
not be owned by people, but rather should disappear into the background framework.
The use of the computer should be unconscious - all attention should be given to the
task at hand.
- Ubiquitous computers come in sizes suited to tasks:
tabs, such as active badges, perform calendar, diary, personal
identification and location, etc. tasks. Pads are "scrap computers"
that are a merger of paper and laptop computers - they are the antithesis of
windows. Boards serve as video screens, bulletin boards, whiteboards,
flip charts, etc.
- Architectural trends will assist ubiquitous computing: CPU
speed, high-res display technology, auxiliary storage size increase,
etc. can be predicted to continue their current growth trends and enable
all of these classes of devices.
- Network, software and OS support will evolve: migratory,
shared, and adaptive applications or OS's will need to be developed. Gigabit
WANs, MAN wireless, and ad-hoc wireless LANs will become commonplace.
- The obvious security and privacy issues must be resolved.
Mobile computing represents a major paradigm shift, replete with new usage
models and with technological and design difficulties to be conquered. This
paper is prophetic; whether or not Mark Weiser's prophecies will be realized
is anybodies guess, but the issues described in the paper are nonetheless
central to the future of mobile computing.
This paper is more fiction than fact; Mark Weiser tells a great story, but
readers should always keep in mind that it is merely a story.
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