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December 11, 2005

Computer of the Future

A while ago I had this idea for a computer. Actually it wasn't a computer, but more of a new paradigm in personal computer hardware architectures. Let's start a couple years in the past, maybe 2000 or 2001, a friend of mine was working as a sys admin for a small computer company. They had the need of switching computers from developer to developer. For example, developer A would be working on workstation A, but the next day he would be working on workstation B. For some reason they couldn't deploy a dumb terminal or roaming profile architecture, I can't remember why so what my friend did was make all the workstations the same hardware wise and use removable hard drives. So these guys could keep their work secure when not using it and they had the option of moving around different workstations.

Now something like this could be replaced with USB drives (solid state or otherwise) to achieve a similar effect. However, the problem I see with this kind of architecture using USB drives is the reliance on a computer with the exact or very similar setups.

My idea is to have something like a PDA that can act as a platform host for raw computing resources. For example, this PDA-like gadget would provide a limited interface (touchscreen, small LCD, networking, etc) much like today's PDAs and SmartPhones. However these would "plug" into a system providing a keyboard, mouse, additional resources such as coprocessors, additional networks, etc.

These plugin platforms could be hosted throughout homes, cafes, even businesses. Using these concepts a user would literally have 24/7 access to their work only limited by the input/output interfaces they have available to them. Of course the operating system running on the host PDA would need to be dynamic enough that it could cope with a core set of hardware and a dynamic set of extended hardware.

I'll see if I can come up with some concept sketches (a picture's worth a thousand words). BTW, this idea (right now) is Public Domain, but I might decide to patent it.

Posted by Guy at December 11, 2005 4:06 PM