In 2009, Microsoft produced a video imagining the world of 2019. They did well with the software aspects of touchscreen interfaces and machine vision, but overshot the runway on bezel-less devices and the general ubiquity of touchscreens themselves. There's a touchscreen coffee mug! All the depicted applications (such as flexible high-FPS color e-ink) are shown without a batteries or other power sources. This is a mandatory omission in all such future fantasies.
The clip is a general reminder of how predictable developments in basic consumer technology were over this time period. Microsoft was on solid ground exaggerating what were already, in 2009, obvious and entrenched trends, and then imagining what the rich would be doing with touchscreens on everything. Consider that a 2009 iMac is virtually identical, from the front, to a 2018 model. The evolution is in the details: thinness, high-DPI panels, faster hardware, software refinement, and so on. Still no touchscreen Macs, mind you...
Yet everything has changed with how we use this technology, and Microsoft didn't imagine any of that. Check out the Harry Potter newspaper: they went for blandly positive business headlines. This safe bet (also constrained by having to avoid controvertial predictions) turns out to be the most ironically inaccurate prognostication of them all.
But it's not as if they're going to show all their wealthy business travelers weeping before their crypto investments, glumly cycling through the same algorithm-selected tweets again and again, or explaining on YouTube that racial slurs are just gamer talk. Microsoft wasn't thinking of the "beige basement" crowd, after all.
The overall impression is of a "white mirror": this is the soft of dreamy, pleasant, cannily commercial short step into the near-future that surely inspired the dystopian satire, from tone to touch.
Last night I saw HBO’s The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company/cult, Theranos. It’s very good and surprisingly unsettling. UPDATE: I’ve looped her intensely unpleasant stare for 10 minutes and set it against a nice slow performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Enjoy the […]
The parking spot has “NO PARKING” and tow-warning signs, and is so notorious for enforcement that legitmate customers tell anyone parking their car there what is going to happen. This is all being filmed, from 60 angles, by people who have seen it happen many times before. Because they are the people who make it […]
Flushin’ Frenzy [Amazon] is a toy wherein you push a plunger until a poop pops up. All the fun of clearing out a blocked toilet! The game’s tagline is “Poop there it is!” Game night just got gross – in the best way! Flushin’ Frenzy makes being a plumber fun! Push the toilet handle to […]
If you’re a Mac user, you thrive on simplicity. Everything in its place and a place for everything. Unsurprisingly, there’s a ton of great organizational apps out there for Mac, and now someone’s had the great idea to bundle them all together. Whether you’re running a demanding business or just getting through the day to […]
Seems like drones are doing a lot of jobs these days, from reconnaissance to delivery. Now, we can add “keeping the Death Star safe” to that list. Whether you’re a drone enthusiast or a Star Wars fan, these Star Wars Propel Drones are undeniably the coolest toy around. Yes, that’s a fully functional drone replica […]
It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use […]