Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

The New Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Jerry Stratton, June 6, 2011

Alien Apple: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with a bite out of it. (Original don’t panic image from Dan Gerhard at Wikimedia Commons.); Douglas Adams; Apple

“Don’t Panic.”

The new version of iOS with the cloud is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people and companies. But if there’s one person I wish were around to talk about it, it’s Douglas Adams. An iPad with iOS 5, iCloud, and an always-up Internet connection is the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The only problem is that this device is going to burn through that one month’s gigabyte in less than a week. This is why Apple needs to get a universal iPad out, that can use either Verizon, or AT&T, or anyone. We need real competition for our data service—to be able to choose when we need the data which service we’re going to use, and easily switch on a monthly basis or even a daily or on-the-spot basis.

This is an advantage of mobile vs. wired, like cable: there is no physical highway-like analogy that keeps us tied to a single provider, as with our cable service. There’s no reason we can’t have two, three, four, or more mobile data services operating in the same area; if we can get to the point where we can choose which service we use after we choose our device instead of before we choose our device, market forces will inevitably make mobile data better than wired data.

And when it comes to home computing, Lion’s integration of gestures is interesting now—but wait until computer screens can detect motion near them. Or some other gesture-based device. Lion is ready to take advantage of them. Wave your hand in front of your screen, no touching necessary, and make things move.

In my unpublished FlameWar, I highlight the outdated nature of an archaic computer by having the character actually do a “save as”. The future where that is archaic starts now. Lion moves much closer to the promise of Time Machine by allowing apps to integrate it fully into their documents. You can roll back and forward through versions of documents as easily as rolling through older files in Time Machine.

Permanently-networked pocket computers, gestural interfaces, roomfuls of music on a wafer. A work environment that takes full advantage of remembering previous states so that you can always roll back—in full or in pieces. This is science fiction. For all the crap going on in other parts of our world, we are living in the future.

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