Ubiquitous Computing

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One of Xerox Parc's "future predictions" was for "ubiquitous" computing.

 

The idea was that you wandered around the place, and computing devices nearby registered who you were and brought your personalised content to you - a wall in an office might summon up your email, or a speaker might play back your answer phone messages.

http://sandbox.parc.com/ubicomp/

I've just taken possession of the latest Android phone (HTC Desire). It's a very powerful, and extremely personalised device. It pulls in Facebook, twitter, your email, your SMS and answerphone messages into a single feed.

It provides some kind of ubiquity as it goes where you go - but you have to carry the device around in your pocket.

Perhaps in our decentralised, security-conscious world, this is the only thing which is possible.

(In fact - how could I access facebook in the middle of a forest, otherwise?)

Having said that, it does of course rely on the "cloud" - the huge server space where all our data is held. This means that we're not as decentralised and security-conscious as it might seem.

Postscript: the end of "unlimited" 3g plans indicates that the mobile phone may not be so good for ubiquitous computing after all.