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It’s clearer now thanks.

Right. Sorry, but my ‘disagree strongly with the sentiment expressed‘ remark in the last post really needs explanation.

It seemed that David Smith of the Observer managed to drum up a quote from one Steve Prentice at Gartner Research, suggesting that the mouse wasn’t going to be around in 40 years time (I know, a bold claim, and obviously not made to provide a soundbite, No, of course not). My counterclaim is that the mouse will be very much around in 40 years time, as we haven’t invented anything that works any better (just try and type, copy and paste or surf the net with a touchscreen – cute, but no mouse), and don’t appear to be capable of thinking far enough out of the box to create anything that might offer a viable alternative.

That’s it. We’re just not going to do it.

And then Mr Prentice pops up on the BBC, spouting the same brand of hyperbolic garbage that I’ve come to expect from research agencies and their analysts:

“Just look forward five years and computer screens will be built into the walls of our homes and that would make it difficult to drive with a mouse. That’s where all the new technology like multi touch and facial recognition comes in. This is where the computer stops being a computer and becomes part of a building.”

“Push things back 30 years and we would never have said we’d sit in front of a computer or that computers would hold all our music when everyone bought gramophones. Computers are not just computers anymore, they are part of our lives,” added Mr Prentice.”

Steve. I’m a technologist, and not for one moment do I believe the ‘computer screens built into the walls of our houses’ crap that you people continually spout. Before you head off making half-baked remarks about the future of our collective culture, can I suggest that you do some research. The mouse is 40 years old, and is representative of a genuine innovation. Everything that has come since with regard to the mechanics of human-computer interfaces (with the possible exception of the ‘pinch’ on the iPhone) is a copy of the actions made manifest by a mouse. That’s why it’s not going anywhere, and that’s why you’re dead wrong.

Now get back to school. They’re teaching history today. If you manage to pay attention you’ll see just how wrong your ‘30 years ago’ statement is.



One comment for “It’s clearer now thanks.”

  1. Too true. Another way of making your point is that we’ve gone from the Apple II which had only a keyboard as an input device to the current Apple computers which all build in a trackpad (itself a mouse descendent), camera and microphone, all in *addition* to the keyboard.

    Judging by history the personal computer just gathers input devices, like a ship does barnacles, rather than replace them.

    There’s no doubt that computers have become pervasive in modern society, but it’s extremely doubtful, as you said, that they’ll appear as “wall computers” or the like.

    They’ll appear, as they do now, as our toasters, fridges, lamps, televisions, radios and cameras and will use the interfaces and input devices native to their role.

    Steve Prentice’s vision of the future seems misguided.

    Anyway, back to listening to Xploding Plastix on my magic iphone thingie.

    Posted by Baldur Bjarnason | December 4, 2008, 5:58 pm

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