Personal computing is not about a device, its about a mashup. I contend that all of the components of this mashup are necessary for real personal computing. Three of the components are well known although they each have different degrees of maturity, but I think the fourth component is the real secret sauce. Here is what the mashup looks like:
personal computing = hardware + software (apps) + Internet + intelligence
What do I mean by intelligence? The fundamental problem with computing today is that it requires users to interact with it in very specific and unnatural ways. Programmers have to know a specific syntax in a programming language to write apps. Users need to learn how to navigate menu options, memorize commands, and type in order to interact with the computer.
Real personal computing will be achieved when we don’t have to learn anything special in order to do it. What might this look like? First, we will be able to talk to the personal computer, ask it for information or for it to do something, and it will understand no matter how we speak. Siri is a good first step, but it still requires users to know how to use it, so there is still room for improvement. Some call this understanding context, but I think for a computer to correctly understand any request that requires intelligence.
By the way, don’t interpret the mashup as to mean all of it is on a device. Remember, the “computer” on Star Trek is a mainframe running on the Enterprise, and the users mostly interact with it using a communication device. A simple press of a button, a spoken question, and an answer is the personal computing of Star Trek. The network, what we call the Internet, is a key foundational component of personal computing.
Another important point is that voice will not be the only form of interaction in personal computing. Just like our conversations with others can be by voice, written notes, or e-mail, personal computing will involve handwriting and typing. The form of interaction will be dictated by the circumstances and preferences of the user.
So, the focus of this web site will be on the emerging personal computing era that I have laid out in my first post and in this post. I will be writing about the mashup of hardware, software, Internet, and intelligence that I think will make personal computing real. As I said previously, each of these components are at different degrees of maturity, so I will write about each individually and together as appropriate.
In the spirit of weblogging, I mostly plan to use this site to share what I find about each of these components that I think are interesting. I really do think that we are on the verge of something very interesting and I am looking forward to writing about it here. My simple request of you is that if you find something here of interest, whether you agree or disagree with my opinions, to share it with others via whatever means is easiest to you.