General discussion


Consumed with IT

By house ·
Hardware devices, that provide a more narrow functionality, are quickly being replaced by home computer solutions. Telephony service is rapidly being transformed into the highly configurable VoIP technology. I bought a DVD player last year, and now I am reading about the new blue-ray technology. People are ripping off satellite television service at an alarming rate. Say goodbye to the media monopolies that have been taxing us over the past century, and say hello to the more controllable, yet still unreliable, alternative options that have been introduced through the advent of the "information super-highway". There is no love lost regarding these media giants, but my main concern, is that there are many people who will not be able to keep up with the coming trends. These poor uninformed folks aside, we all stand to make a killing off of their lament and ignorance. Is it ethical? If so, what does it mean for the future of IT? If not... well who cares... it is happening, and it is happening now.

VoIP has been taking the industry by storm for a few years, but it is now cropping up in "home" solutions for the common user. Aside from the home telephone systems, there has been much talk and action regarding the integration of VoIP into common chat clients. I fear it won't be long until we see more people abandonning their more traditional forms of communication, for that of an internet and IP solution. What standards can be developed regarding privacy, legal rights, and quality of service, when the technology that is in question moves so much faster than any courtroom or political organization could possibly imagine? Right now, I could change my phone number with the click of the mouse. I can add forwarding services, answering services... I can actually disconnect my main feed into my home, and provide VoIP service through all of my phone jacks in my house. Are we going in the right direction here? Is the internet itself ready to handle the forecasted influx of communications media?

What does your home theater consist of? Despite the subpar sales results of the Windows Media Center, it is a known fact that many people are now using PC solutions for their home entertainment. Many of us have actually owned a DVD-Rom before we've invested in a DVD player. Some of us link our video and sound directly to our stereo. I've even seen wireless AVI links from a PC to a home theater. What does this mean to home entertainment? What does it mean for those of us who have an investment in Information Technology as a career? I know for a fact, that not everyone is interested in tackling the myriad of issues that we face in configuring and maintaining our equipment. There are so many codecs available to us in regards to audio and AV, and so many different pieces of software to manage, convert, and mount these formats. I have always been a subscriber to the fact that hardware solutions are generally better than software solutions. We are heading in the direction of the software solution in all forms of media. Quality and control are being replaced by quantity and personalization, and I'm sure that I am not the only one who choses the latter, in full hypocrisy of my 'hardware' statement.

As the years roll by, and as technology grows thicker, the specialization of our class grows weaker. When I don't understand "the way things work", I will invest my time and effort in deciphering the technology, so that I can acheive a higher level of knowledge, and provide support to my clients. I am now entering a new dimension, where I am faced with an overwhelming crossroad. An ultimate understanding of information systems and communication media will soon be unattainable by even the most dedicated of geeks within our industry. Ten years from now, my calendar will be built into my refrigerator. I will retreive my grocery list via palm PC. I will walk into the room, and my thermostat will adjust the temperature according to my own body heat. I will shake my buddy's hand, in order to pass on a personal message, or to simply swap files. I will send my girlfriend a message when she is sitting four feet away from me. Despite the complexities, it sounds like a barren wasteland to me. I will definitely need to invest in an amphetamine chip for my nervous system, or perhaps a brain buffer so that I may retain this knowledge after a good night's sleep.

I've gone a little off topic here, but I was not interested in composing a proper essay anyways. Is this too much? Are you consumed with IT?

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by dafe2 In reply to Really ?

Forgot to read before responding.

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Alright... alright... alright

by house In reply to Yes, I thought that it wa ...

Ok.. ok.. ok.. You guys got me. I should check my sources next time. I have an old Sybex A+ book that lays out the history of manageable software. Gates was creditted with the invention of the BASIC language. For the past 5 years, I have been under the impression that this was a fact.

My mistake. :)

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by AcesKaraoke In reply to Alright... alright... alr ...

Inventing things does not make you a genuis, and, unfortunately, being a genuis doesn't mean you're smart (sounds like an oxymoron, but let me explain).

Often inventions are made by necessity, serendipity, or pure accident. Though I'm sure there are many geniuses creating things daily, I believe that more often you'll find inventors just have drive and curiosity and that even when they don't get the result they expected, they document what result they did get and sometimes proceed from there.

Often invention just stems from a problem put forth with a need for solution. A prime example being the internet (ARPA and the ARPAnet at first). Some truly gifted minds were commissioned by the government to get some big computers in a few universities and the government to communicate with each other. These individuals broke down the problem into pieces; what languages would the computers communicate in, what sort of physical connection would there be, how would transmissions be initiated and carried out, etc.

They approached the problem logically and made it happen. Logic rarely embraces genius, and genius is rarely logical. Admittedly, there may have been a bit of both involved in the project. One of the biggest inventions of importance to the advent of the internet of today- email, was just created as an afterthought (serendipity).

True, now we have thriving e-commerce, huge amounts of information at our disposal, and search engines to sort through it all. In the beginning, it was hard to communicate from one computer to another and you really had to know what you were doing to find information; even once these things got refined a bit there wasn't much that would draw the average user in, much less make them want to spend the kind of money it took to buy a computer.

Something about e-mail is appealing- both personal and impersonal at the same time. It can be both professional and playful. Imagine if the internet today had no e-commerce, no glitzy websites, no search engines, AND no e-mail. How many average users would turn on their computer to do anything more than write a paper, play a game, or do their taxes? If it was just about information, the internet wouldn't be the phenomenon it is today.

Geniuses not smart? OK, I haven't forgotten about that. Of all those guys who were commisioned to create that first basic internet, how many are well known for it (except in very eclectic circles) or made a dime off their inventions or contributions? You guessed it...none of them...sad really, but I do think it illustrates the point of a genius not necessarily being smart.

Do I have a point? Yes, I almost forgot (it's 3am and I may be rambling a bit). Bill Gates may not be a genius, but he IS smart. He has the gift of recognizing POTENTIAL and thinking of ways to market and exploit it. He may run out of options if he doesn't find a way to adapt to, overcome, or Borg-style assimilate Linux and its rising importance in business and home use.

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Steal isn't the right word

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Funny, I thought it was P ...

As Xerox showed both Gates & Jobs their prototype before they junked the "Lidia Project" in favor of their core business.


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Steal is such a harsh word

by jdclyde In reply to Funny, I thought it was P ...

We prefer to think of it as borrowing with no intention of returning or giving credit where credit due.

It is all in how you look at it.

For some people the glass is half full for the rest it is a monopoly.

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Borrowed it is

by dafe2 In reply to Steal is such a harsh wor ...

I was going to go for 'aquired' but.....

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by FluxIt In reply to READ THAT TOO

is that MIT developed the OOP concepts that x-windows was built on during the 1960's. However, the computers of the time were unable to do that kind of operation. It was not until later circa 70's that corporate america began experimenting with the concepts developed at MIT.

This is why I posted a thread that so many think they know it all and yet know nothing. I was speaking to a teacher recently who teaches history. She was telling me all about the internet and how Al Gore started it. When I told her it was an outcome of Sputnik and the space race beginning in the 1950's before Congress funded the idea in the late 1960's she became absolutely obstinate with me not much different than some people here.

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by dafe2 In reply to MY UNDERSTANDING...

They where HONEST questions.

I'd thank you for clearing it up your thought but I feel I may hurt the only feeling you brought here today.

Get a grip.

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Well Mr Miami Al Gore I'm impressed

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to MY UNDERSTANDING...

She honestly really didn't say that did she?

That reminds me of the Evangelical Christians who sing Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heavens Door as a Gospel Song, they too do not really understand what it means but at least they are good for a laugh.


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by FluxIt In reply to Well Mr Miami Al Gore I'm ...

The dialogue did occur and she was very obstinate that she knew it but the Al Gore part just added the right seasoning. I was hoping that so left wing nutcase would fly off the handle so I could run up my posting meter having some fun.

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