Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A touchy truth

I was looking at laptops again over the weekend. I realise that a lot of manufacturers are now opting for touch interfaces, instead of the old tactile ones that we have become accustomed to. Gone are the good old button bashing days. This made me start thinking that the current craze of our generation is being ‘touchy’. This started with the I-phone and several me too wannabe’s followed.
In truth is touch such a great thing. Is it as reliable the age old button? Touch screen phones for examples can’t compete with full QWERTY phones. Yet we now have ‘multi-touch’ keypads on laptops. I still can’t figure out how useful that will be. True the next version of Windows is supposed to support it, and in Windows vista the two finger drag acts similar to holding the ctrl key down and scrolling, but what is the big deal?
On the plus side, for the fans of Star Trek the Next Generation, maybe we can expect some kind of futuristic ‘L-Cars’ interface system becoming possible. And if we take a bigger leap, Minority Report like gesture interfaces are unlikely to be in minority in the years ahead!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Technological Evolution

What is the next step in human evolution? The thought struck my mind when my trusted R-52 Laptop finally decided to give up on me. The loss resulted in me checking out and reading about laptops and netbooks. I decided to venture forth to a nearby store and took a gander at typing out the age old ‘Quick brown fox jumped over the lazy brown dog’ on a couple of new laptops.

The two netbooks in my consideration were the most popular models from Lenovo and HP. What struck me at first was the reduced keyboard. My typing test lead me to believe that the HP was more suited for typing out stuff, the Lenovo being a little bit cramped. In the laptop segment I am eyeing Sony’s new budget Viao which has a nicely spread out keyboard and HP’s DV6 apart from Lenovo (due to my trusty think pad).

All this leads to me to wonder how is the human race going to evolve in the near future. Years ago, if a person walked down the street talking to himself he was likely to have a date with a padded cell. Today I see society completely content with others talking to thin air as they have Bluetooth devices concealed under curly locks.

With keyboards shrinking in size are we going to evolve into having shorter hands and if everything is voice activated in the future then maybe our hands as we know it are going to devolve. I remember watching the TV show Star Trek Voyager where one of the crew members is exposed to something that makes him evolve quickly eventually turning into some kind of lizard, along with Captain Janeway.

Lets hope technology is a catalyst for positive evolution and not degeneration in the years ahead. The leaps and bounds in prosthetics (pun intended) is a great example of that positive first step. At the end of the day we have a choice that determines how we evolve.