Monday, March 31, 2008

Full Circle

I read something on Kotaku that just tripped my Deja Vu sense. Kotaku link here, via Reg Hardware and PC World.

Sandy Duncan, a former Xbox exec is predicting that within the next 5-10 years we will no longer have consoles as we know them now. All consoles will be replaced by thin client boxes that will deliver images and sound to your AV system. All actual calculations and hard crunching will be done by REALLY powerful cluster computers in office buildings far removed from your living room. Getting games will simply be connecting them to your account.

IBM was predicting a very similar future for computing in general... back in the 1940s. At the time, IBM was in the business of building some of the first and largest supercomputers. Office building-sized affairs that were connected to via thin client terminals. The terminals only handled I/O, with the mainframes doing all the crunching.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers
-Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

Have we come full circle, or is this just predictions that are spiraling out of control? Has hardware advanced enough (or will it) to finally fulfill the vision of just a few massive computing centers that everyone can use? Will it be just for games, or will most of our computing be done this way?

After all, I can just type this post directly into Blogger. Or I can use any one of a number of online office suites to write, edit, and publish it. Adobe Photoshop can be used online now. What else can be calculated somewhere else and delivered for display?

The only problem is that you lose everything if the network line goes down. Like last night, for me. No cable, no internet, no way to blog.

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