Thursday, May 31, 2007

The future of computing

Lots of new toys are going to be hitting the market soon; thanks to, here are several that have crossed my path recently:

  • Palm 's Foleo: So according to the video at this link, this is supposed to be a device that you use with your PDA when the small screen and lack of keyboard are an issue. If that's the case, then why on earth would I buy a PDA to begin with? Just slap all the abilities of the PDA in the Foleo and be done. Now, instead of carrying my laptop, my cell phone, and my PDA I'm carrying four things?? I don't think so.

  • Microsoft Surface: This is interesting. First of all, it seems to be one of the first times that Microsoft has gotten into computer hardware beyond keyboards, mouses, etc. (Don't quote me on that.) And they are using a paradigm that was developed and video released several months ago (alas, cannot find that link, darn it). But there are issues with this: (a) it's so incredibly bad ergonomically speaking to be looking down at a computer like that; (b) no keyboard is shown, so I'm guessing you use a virtual keyboard, which takes some getting used to; and I'm sure there are many more such problems.

I think the paradigm shown on the Microsoft Surface (yes, think Minority Report) is great for people who aren't computer geeks. It's a really nice interactive way to work with concepts, but the horizontal surface makes it more limiting to me. Now, it is reminiscent of the way people would look over photos at a coffee table, so I can see it hearkening back to an earlier time. The interaction with cell phones and credit cards is nice but no credit card can do that now.

The Foleo is just stupid. I can't see a use for it at all. I simply can't. If it's too small to see on your PDA, then just look at it on your laptop. End of story. If taking a laptop around is too difficult, then the Foleo will still be too big.

Give me the Surface, but put it in my kitchen and let me use it for recipes, directions, etc. I start my day in my kitchen. Don't ever hand me a Foleo.