In The Year

At various times in man's history all human kind including the Computer Man have been bitten with the bug of a time warp, a space warp, and time travel. Sometimes it was to travel back in time in an attempt to change historical facts and outcomes one did not like. Other times it was a search for a mode of travel into the future in an effort to understand what the seers of earlier generations predicted and when and why such things should befall us. So, wherever you stand, buckle your seatbelts if you are not a technophile. The Tennessee Mountain Man and Remote Helpdesk 1 are going to try to take you on a swift run through time to the year 2020.

Admittedly it is not that far away and the glimpse at the future may not be as shocking as it would have been just seven short years ago at the turn of the century. Dacomputerman recalls when Seagate introduced the first hard drive available to the general public in 1980 if you could afford it. At that time the best minds thought it was not possible to build a bigger one for micro computers. The Seagate hard drive held all of 5 Mega Bytes of data! It had been beaten to the market seven years earlier by the Winchester which in 1973 had built a larger sealed hard drive boasting a 30MB capacity for commercial use.

After all, who could or would ever need so much data storage capacity? Each time a capacity milestone was breached, it was believed that it could not be surpassed. But alas we know the end of that story. Not only was mass storage capacity ever on the increase but accomplished on smaller and smaller hard drives. Unfortunately, we also know the engineers have been so obsessed with capacity that they have not made the necessary improvements in performance. When I purchased my first 1.2 gigabyte hard drive I thought I had reached Heaven.

I promised my wife no more expensive toys. I assured her I could never fill that hard drive. Now I run four (count them.four) 500 GB hard drives on my desktop plus a USB external, and, yes, four of them are about 75 percent full. The "c" drive is about 50 percent of capacity. My laptop runs a 100 G with a 500 G USB external.

My wife has long since stopped believing I won't want, need or buy anything bigger, faster, newer. That is both comforting in that she is off my back and frightening as there are so many advances coming so swiftly that the old computerman could live long enough to spend a lot more money on these contraptions. They really are addictive, you know? They are also scary. Scary mainly because of the less stable among us. Teenage and young adult males have traditionally been the threat then in the early 80s the law enforcement community noted that females were swiftly becoming more and more aggressive. Then came the fundamentalist religious wars with Islamic Jihadist winning the recruiting war among the world's disenfranchised.

Filled with hate they were soon using children and women to carry out their nefarious activities on unsuspecting and trusting civilians world wide. The advances in physics, modern medicines, nuclear sciences, and computer capabilities have allowed them to strike from a safe distance while inflicting maximum damage. Today there is bird flu, suit case nukes, a deadly variation of the common cold, and a manual few have heard of first published in 1998 on bio-hacking and oriented towards those who gave us the computer virus. Remote computer repair now fixes your computer over the internet. Just as easily a hacker can now destroy your data while you sleep or work or even while you watch helplessly.

How long do you actually think it will be before they can do much worse? even things that can burn or explode your house or office? give you a dreaded disease? or kill you from a safe place half way around the world? In July, 2000, Chris Oaks, in an article hosted by Wired dot com put it this way: "The hardest trick could be to stay sane amid a snowstorm of paradigm shifts. "People (being able) to learn throughout their lives is going to be absolutely crucial if we're going to keep abreast of this -- and keep our mental health," said Stanley Williams, director of the quantum structures research initiative at Hewlett-Packard Labs. Watch for struggles with human identity as machines on the other end of the phone acquire the thinking and responsive capacity of the human brain. Be prepared for a time when your doctor will be able to map your personal genome as fast as he draws blood.

And as far as our darling computer is concerned -- well, you and your spanking new Pentium IV aren't so hot. "I can safely say that the age of computing hasn't even begun yet," Williams said. "We're still playing around in essentially Stone Age times technologically." " He continued, "In 2020, "our electronics will be 10,000 times as capable as they are today," Williams said." Needless to say by the year 2020 there are things on the horizon that our grand and great grandchildren must face which makes our history with electronics and technology seem as little more than pablum, and that is where I am actually headed. Someone has said, success is when preparation meets opportunity.

With cloning and human organ purchases at hand, I wonder what we will call it when man's greed and his dark side meets technology? Next time.
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