You may have heard about pen-based computing, but I guarantee you haven’t heard about pens-based computing. Yes, pens, plural. Your old pocket protector will never be the same again.
I’m not talking about toys like the Fly Pentop Computer, which is actually pretty cool, but about a prototype of a real, full-featured computer comprised entirely of transmogrified pens.
Alert SNS Reader and Hall of Fame Member Bill Lehnertz strikes yet again with a pointer to this amazing prototype computer. Here’s what he sent me:
Because you never know these days, I checked this out at the Urban Legend Reference Pages, your first stop in debunking anything that smells fishy. Sure enough, this is a real development.
Turns out this is a really OLD innovation, having been shown at the 2003 ITU Telecom World exhibition held in Geneva! That’s a whole two years ago! Here’s the NEC blurb on the project, weirdly and unfortunately named PISM:
A Pen-style Personal Networking Gadget Package
It seems that information terminals are infinitely getting smaller. However, we will continue to manipulate them with our hands for now. We have visualized the connection between the latest technology and the human, in a form of a pen. P-ISM is a gadget package including five functions: a pen-style cellular phone with a handwriting data input function, virtual keyboard, a very small projector, camera scanner, and personal ID key with cashless pass function. P-ISMs are connected with one another through short-range wireless technology. The whole set is also connected to the Internet through the cellular phone function. This personal gadget in a minimalistic pen style enables the ultimate ubiquitous computing.
There’s a bunch of other cool gadgets on their showcase page.
The P-ISM prototype cost a whopping $30,000, so it’s not going to replace your boat anchor anytime soon. It’s based on some technology from Canesta, which seems to have de-emphasized their virtual keyboard technology in favor of some cool-looking machine perception tech.
NEC doesn’t seem to have made any strides toward commercializing this concept, at least not publicly. But what I want to know is . . . does it have to run Windows?
- Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: I was interviewed for ManagementFirst’s Feature of the Month and got to toot my horn for a bit.
The WiMAX Guys’ main business is new installs for people who want to set up wireless hotspots such as hotels, warehouses, apartment buildings, and office buildings or hotzones that cover cities. We also sell a knowledge-based Web portal called the MAX K-Base. Check out our main Website at www.TheWiMAXGuys.com.
The first chapter of my wife’s novel, Knowing What You Know Today is up on her Website. The other chapters cost money, but are well worth it, believe you me. Check it out at www.debellsworth.com.
Many issues ago I debuted SNS Begware, an opportunity for you, gentle reader, to express your appreciation by tipping your server via PayPal. See the sidebar for more info. Total in the kitty so far: $111.48. Thanks Bill!
And now that I’m partnered with one of the largest advertisers on the planet, Google, that should be kicking in serious coin to the StratVantage coffers. Let’s see. The current total is: $45.05. Great. BTW, I am informed that I can’t ask you to read this issue on the Web and click on the ads due to Google’s terms of service. So don’t. You can, however, shop at Amazon, pay nothing additional, and send a spiff to me.
- The Raw File – SNS is dedicated to delivering the scoop on the latest and greatest. However, I collect lots of information that never makes it into the newsletter before it gets old. I’ve collected all this aging info into a page called The Raw File. This page is the raw information I gather for SNS articles. It’s not pretty, and some may be a little incoherent, but chances are there are still things in TRF that might be news to you. So therefore, use The Raw File at your own risk – it’s 45+ pages of the best stuff that didn’t make it into SNS.
The Raw File
- Feedback for ME: I’ve started posting SNS on other venues like MySpace (sure don’t know why this is such a hot site; nevertheless, I am there: http://blog.myspace.com/mikeellsworth) and Gather (a pretty cool community with lots of interesting writers: http://www.gather.com/viewArticles.jsp?memberId=12681).
One of the nice side effects of this is some interesting and thoughtful comments, such as this from Gather member PJ Brunet about my story What's Google Up To?
“As for Google Adsense...Yahoo called me the other day about their ad program... I haven't called them back yet. I'm afraid that if I pull my Google banners down I will lose priority in Google's results. I get good traffic from Google. Also, Yahoo's TOS says something about not using the ad code with content about "religion"... I'm not sure what to think about that... if I mention God will I be kicked from the program? Is Yahoo for agnostic advertisers only? Sounds complicated to me...”
Here’s what PJ had to say about Why Do We Have Personal Computers?
It's already happening ;) I'm a big fan of the thin client! People that are into video editing, 3D animation, whatever...will probably be waiting a while for the "AJAX" versions, but the majority of people I think will find a slimmer, silent, cheaper device more attractive... I don't think speed will be an issue in most cases, the new CPU's are amazingly fast, the client can still think for itself too...it's not like you have a dumb terminal that needs the server for every little thing... we're not in the 1980's anymore. Honestly I'm not a thin client expert, but I'd imagine that you would have *some* storage space on your device, just not in the form of a noisy, whirling drive. I think you will see AJAX File Management pretty soon as standard for most new web hosting accounts...Cpanel is the new desktop ;)
Gather member Benjamin Marty had this to say about the same article:
“I suspect that existing devices will evolve into the thin client devices described here. And I don't think we have to accept some of the limitations supposed by "the raver". You can play high powered games on some forms of thin clients. I would consider game consoles to be thin clients (since some don't even have hard drives, it's very hard to introduce the mystical problems that some fat clients have). Consoles are introducing internet connectivity now, and should soon introduce more flexible, general purpose internet access if they haven't already (if the providers can get past their scheme of selling consoles below cost and profiting only from the games).”
Here’s how I replied to these gentlemen:
Benjamin, I agree about the morphing of other devices into more general computing appliances, and certainly game consoles are a prime candidate. You can already watch DVDs on them and even hook up to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Next is email and other basic functions to connect you to other gamers, and then who knows beyond that?
The TV itself definitely becomes a computing device once HDTV becomes ubiquitous, and IP phones are already thin clients. I've written before about how computers will fade into the environment, much like the electric motor did in the early part of last century. I fully expect this, and the moment in which we no longer buy a computer since computing is all around us.
PJ, I agree the thin client will have persistent storage, perhaps in the form of silicon rather than a hard driver. And, yes, these devices won't be '80s style dumb terminals, but neither will they be stand-alone computing platforms. I also agree with the points you made in your blog about Web 2.0 being about thinner computing. AJAX is the leading edge of an effort to remake software and computing into a kinder, gentler thing. And about time, too! I just struggled all weekend to revive my son's aging Dell laptop and fought every step of the way with Windows 2000's inflexibility.
Finally, I think the most important trend on the horizon is something IBM has been touting for years: self-healing systems. These systems will diagnose and fix themselves, making lost weekends like I just had a thing of the past. I can't wait!
- Well, What Happened on January 6th? In the last SNS, I noted rampant speculation that Google would announce a Google computing device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early last month. Sadly, we were all underwhelmed when on January 6, Google announced Google Video store, Google Pack beta, a free collection of safe, useful software from Google and other companies, and Google on Motorola handsets. Ho-hum!
- Top 10 Funny Spammer Names – I recently received spam from the following preposterously named individuals:
10. Unclothing J. Discontinuation
9. Citizenry I. Sanitarium
8. Hardtack H. Nightie
7. Decaffeinate McLeod
6. Foreshortened E. Alertness
5. Disconcerts R. Handbill
4. Nobodies H. Deposition
3. Faiolest D. Yesteryear
2. Astonish McConnell
And the number 1 Top Funny Spammer Name:
1. Explicitness A. Fantasy
- FISH of the Day: Alert SNS Reader Bill Lehnertz sends along the latest Forwarded Internet Serial Humor:
1.) Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. will merge and become:
Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace
2.) Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become:
Poly, Warner Cracker
3.) 3M will merge with Goodyear and will become:
4.) Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become:
5.) FedEx is expected to join its major competitor, UPS, and become:
6.) Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become:
7.) Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become:
8.) Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become:
9.) Victoria's Secret and Smith & Wesson will merge under the new name:
[Well, this one’s too rude. Use your imagination, or email me for the name]
- Yet Another FISH: Bill Lehnertz is on a roll. Check this FISH: Technology for Country Folk.
- I’m Riding on Sunshine, Waa-ooh! Alert SNS Reader Bill Lehnertz spotted yet another interesting prototype
Thought you might like to see the next generation of tires. They had a pair at the Philadelphia Car show. These tires are airless and are scheduled to be out on the market very soon. The bad news for law enforcement is that spike strips will not work on these tires.
This is what great R&D will do and just think of the impact on existing technology:
- no more air valves
- no more air compressors at gas stations
- no more repair kits
- I Can’t Promote: I am now allied with Google, the Do No Evil Company, because I present their AdSense ads and reap a bounty ($45.05 since September!). Because of this, I am bound by certain terms of service, for example: “Sales or promotion of certain weapons, such as firearms, ammunition, balisongs, butterfly knives, and brass knuckles” due to the terms of service of Google’s AdSense service.
OK, this is a very strange list. I understand firearms and ammunition, and these are rather general categories. But what the heck is a balisong, and why call out butterfly knives and brass knuckles specifically? Turns out a balisong is a Filipino butterfly knife. So what is this obsession with a certain kind of knife? Can I promote switchblades? How about Ginsu knives?
- If You’ve Made it This Far: I have declared Alert SNS Reader Ken Florian the winner of our Obscure Reference Contest due to his dogged persistence and a truly regrettable error in the contest. The prize is one stick of totally obsolete PC memory and it will soon be winging its way to Ken. Wait for the presentation ceremony picture in a future SNS.
The next Obscure Reference Contest is an easy one. What is the name of the song that I mangled a bit elsewhere in this newsletter? You also need to tell me who was the artist, when was it released, and, if you can tell me who did my favorite cover of the song’s chorus you’ll get double points.