Two Technologies Under The Radar

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Most of the talk around the Intel Development Forum has been about dual core processors and dual card video systems.

Neither is going to have a big impact immediately, partly due to availability in the case of processor, more due to cost when one or the both come out. For 2005, it’s hard to see how a dual-core, dual-video system won’t add at least $750 to the cost of today’s current hot boxes.

What shouldn’t be overlooked are two technologies talked about which are a bit further down the road, but promise to have much greater impact on computer users, speed demon or not.

Intel Votes For WiMax

Intel has indicated that it will offer WiMax connectivity in Centrino machine in (presumably late) 2005 or 2006.

Why is this so important?

A Conversation With A Joe

I had a conversation a few weeks ago with one of the Joe Sixpacks in my life, one of those people a significant proportion of the techie crowd never seems to ever run into.

He’s a salesman, and out of the blue, he got the notion in his head that it would nice to have a notebook so he could use the Internet while he’s in his car.

I told him, “You can’t do that.”

He said, “What do you mean, I can’t do that? I heard that you could. I can do it with my cellphone”

I explained to him, as simply as possible, that wireless Internet access points have limited range, and that given what he does and where he does it, he would only rarely be in range.

The reward for my efforts was the “OK, Grinch, you stole Christmas again” look I’ve grown all-too-accustomed to.

He doesn’t want to hear about stopping at MacDonald’s, much less Starbucks for Internet access, and W would be more willing to hand U.S. surplus nukes over to Osama than he is learning anything technical.

To him, something like this should work everywhere, all the time, with absolutely no effort on his part.

Most of the computing public is just like him. Really, I swear.

WiFi is never going to satisfy him (them). He (they) are not going to huddle in little techghettos for their Internet fix. It’s too hard, it’s too inconvenient, they’ll stick with what they consider to be real technology like cellphones.

WiMax will change all that. WiMax will bring cellular-like coverage to him and them and us. It provides coverage measured in miles, not feet.

It will truly free computer use, and just like people now use cellphones at home and disconnect the fixed line, so to will WiMax and its descendants eventually reach the desktop. Ten years from now, you’ll probably access a much faster fiber-optics Internet connection wirelessly.

This will be one of the disruptive technologies of the next few years, and Intel’s decision to include WiMax in its plans will give a kick-start to the process.

Yes, WiMax will have growing pains, and there are other possibilities that might end up winning. But he (or them, or even most of us) won’t know or care about that. What will be important is that something is coming that will do the same thing WiMax is promising.

The Two “Ls” In P2P Hell

Intel spoke more quietly about LaGrange technology. LaGrange is Intel’s version of hardware circuitry which enables serious DRM.

All Intel said about it was that LaGrange technology was going to need Longhorn operating system support to work.

All this is part of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance initiative. It’s important to understand what this really is. TCPA is technology’s dragging-kicking-and-screaming contingency plan if governments force them to come up with something to protect copyrighted materials, as in “Do this by this date, or no more equipment sales.”

In other words, they’ll do it if they have to, but only if they’re made to.

Will they be made to? Yes, eventually (though “eventually” may take two-three-five years). If I had to predict the biggest news story of the next five years in the computing world, this would be it: the real world imposing its rules on the Magic Kingdom.

And to many in geekdom, it will make events like RIAA lawsuits look like lovetaps.

LaGrange and Longhorn. Down the road, they’ll become the two LLs of P2P hell.

Ed

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