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The Signposts Timeline of Future Technology and Social Change 2003 AD-2008 AD

Children begin shaping the world via the web, even as newborns enjoy significant increases in life expectancy; some real estate bubbles begin to burst

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2003 milestones: Fullerene nanotubes cost roughly $45,400 per pound; HDTV remains unready for the consumer mainstream; Junk email is costing $800+ per employee; Digital shoplifting is enabled by cell phone cams; Air travelers may risk nude security scans; Many firsts in the USA this year: Hispanics now outnumber African Americans; Notebook PCs outsell desktops for the first time; Rental DVDs outdo video tapes for the first time

-- Hispanics Are Nation's Largest Minority (washingtonpost.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9464-2003Jun18.html?nav=hptop_tb"] By D'Vera Cohn; June 18, 2003

-- Notebooks outsell desktops for the first time in U.S. - Computerworld ["http://www.computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/hardware/story/0,10801,82712,00.html"] by Linda Rosencrance; JULY 02, 2003

-- Report: Spam costs $874 per employee per year - Computerworld ["http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/software/groupware/story/0,10801,82705,00.html"] by Paul Roberts; IDG News Service; JULY 02, 2003

-- New cellphones used in 'digital shoplifting' ["http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=qw1056959460701B215"]; June 30 2003; Sapa-AFP; iol.co.za

-- HDTV Sets Aren't Quite Ready for Everyone (TechNews.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7497-2003Jul3.html?nav=hptoc_tn"] By Rob Pegoraro; July 6, 2003; Page F07; washingtonpost.com

-- DVD rentals top videocassettes for first time ["http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2003-06-20-dvdi-kicks-vcr_x.htm"]; Reuters; 6/20/2003; usatoday.com

-- New airport scans could expose travelers - Jun. 26, 2003 ["http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/06/26/seethru.security.ap/index.html"]

There's about 454 grams in a pound...so at $100 per gram, you get one pound for $45,400.

-- Jefferson Labís Free-Electron Laser explores promise of carbon nanotubes ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-01/djna-jlf012703.php"]; 27-Jan-2003; Contact: Linda Ware ware@jlab.org 757-269-7689 DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


"He is the worst president in all of American history."
-- Helen Thomas, US journalist, 2003

-- Doubting Thomas offers her press veteranís take on state of presidency ["http://dailybreeze.copleypress.org/content/bog/thomas19.html"] By John Bogert; dailybreeze.copleypress.org; The dates of January 19 and January 28, 2003 were both present in this article.

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator"

-- US President-elect George W. Bush, December 2000

-- Bush's Hill tour comes to a close By Mark Sherman/ Cox News Service;12-19-2000

-- BusinessWeek Online: WASHINGTON WATCH A Gentleman's "C" for W By Richard S. Dunham; Edited by Beth Belton; JULY 30, 2001

[Supporting references for the above number in the thousands as of early 2004; to see a small sampling of such references, click here.]

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


"This is, quite simply, the most frightening American administration in modern times, one that is appalling both to the left and to traditional conservatives"

-- Eliot Weinberger; 2003

-- What Is Happening in America? ["http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3807.htm"] By Eliot Weinberger; 08 June 2003; Information Clearing House; citing Vorwarts in Germany.

[Supporting references for the above number in the thousands as of early 2004; to see a small sampling of such references, click here.]

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2004 milestone: Child entrepreneurs and activists are changing the business and political landscape via the web

Studies indicate that teenagers will control the direction and fate of the net. Some demands the teens may make of future business and government are: Plentiful and accurate information must be available 24-7, anywhere; Privacy is a valuable commodity not to be given away for free; No-strings attached freebies are routinely required from entities wanting to catch teens' attention; Multiple choice selections are better than singles; and Trust needn't involve local or physical meetings.

-- Do Teens Determine Internet's Future? by Nancy Weil, IDG News Service August 11, 1999, PC World Online

-- Most bloggers 'are teenage girls' - survey ["http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/30954.html"] By Andrew Orlowski; 30/05/2003; theregister.co.uk

The modern 21st century shingle, business card, resume, and classroom are all far richer, more versatile, and robustly interactive than their predecessors.

Basically various must-have items for daily business functionality from decades past are now almost entirely web-based entities.

Rather than a physical sign outside a building to announce your livelihood, you have an internet domain. Your business card and resume are essentially your web site.

All this has dramatically lowered the threshold for business start ups-- and the developed world is being amazed at the entrepreneurship this has unleashed. Perhaps the biggest surprises are in the area of raw youth creating successful businesses. Eleven year olds in many cases, sometimes in niches no adult could ever have dreamed up or imagined would generate fortunes.

70% of high school kids polled in 1999 desired their own business after finishing school

-- Entrepreneurial dreams by DAN BARKIN, Nando Media/Nando Times, November 28, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com

-- "The Internet Economy: the World's Next Growth Engine" By MICHAEL J. MANDEL With Irene M. Kunii in Tokyo, BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : OCTOBER 4, 1999 ISSUE, and When hot shots call the shots By Clayton Collins, The Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/, found on or about 8-1-99

Business laws and regulations are in dire need of rewrites for many issues in regards to this phenomenon. Issues like self-employment for minors, the ownership, rights, and responsibilities of businesses run by minors in regards to their parents. Parents who are paid employees of their minor children. The whole issue of maturity and adult status itself looks to become far more complex in the years and decades to come, due to this issue and others. Phenomena similar to this was seen in previous years in regards to child star actors and athletes, but only now are the numbers becoming substantial enough to warrant major new legislation and policies in the area.

Other body blows to old laws are appearing in areas like education, where individual teachers are gaining the upper hand over their institutions in some cases. The best teachers are successfully demanding pay increases and modernization of institution technologies and policies in some locales. Or, they are quitting the institution to start their own competing schools or classes, usually over the net. Accreditation and other such issues are increasingly under pressure to adapt to the new paradigms or be replaced by wholly new ones.

Indeed, an explosion in availability of human talent, skills, and knowledge has apparently been sparked by recent government moves in various parts of the world to end the de facto censorship/control that large commercial enterprises and educational institutions had been zealously enforcing in past years, trying to prevent this infinite fountain of individual and small organization sourced content and services from competing on an even footing with them.

Today, almost every single citizen in a relatively technologically developed, open, and democratic nation with net access may enjoy and promote their own unique brand of human individuality, whether they wish that brand to evangelize a particular religion, product, service, or lifestyle-- or simply encourage feedback and ideas in regards to a particular subject.

The advent of a practical micropayment system at last is also spurring these developments.

And this is only the beginning.

-- "Founder and CEO, Age 15. Cool." by Chris Oakes, Wired Digital Inc., 26.Jun.99.PDT

-- "Teenager Rolls Out New E-mail Service" by Maura Ginty, InternetNews.com Assistant Editor, Business News, InternetNews.com, June 11, 1999

-- 15-year-old finds a way to make playing pay By MATTHEW BARROWS, Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service November 24, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com

The average age of net-related entrepreneurs will drop dramatically in years to come.

-- It's a Small World ["http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/trends/0,7607,2449352,00.html"] By Sebastian Rupley, PC Magazine, http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag, February 25, 2000

-- Dot-Coms Become Family Business by Michelle V. Rafter, Reuters/PC World.com, 2000, PC World Communications

-- "Internet gurus predict rough road to digital future" By ANDREA ORR, Reuters, Nando Media, 11-19-98

What do young and newly minted net millionnaires do with their newfound money and time? They often try to reshape society into something better for everyone, in every arena from politics to administration to business.

-- They're young and they're rich. What do they do next? By LISE OLSEN, November 27, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com, Nando Media/Christian Science Monitor Service

After seeing an amateur inventor in his own tiny workshop beat out vast capital investments and decades of chemical company R&D efforts worldwide to create an effective heat resistant paint, ICI paints laboratory did a study to root out the cause of their (and possibly other companies') failure by comparison.

The results surprised them. It turned out that those workers on their staff with the least scientific qualifications were responsible for most of the company's patents-- while those workers with the most scientific qualifications were responsible for the least number of patents. Indeed, the most prolific patent contributor of all in the company turned out to possess no scientific credentials whatsoever.

-- Flame-proof by Richard Milton, Last revised: October 07, 1999, Alternative Science Website, http://www.alternativescience.com

Michael Lewis believes one of the biggest effects of the internet will be in disrupting the traditional roles of family members, as well as the positions or power in other organizations. For example, child entreprenuers may end up employing their parents. Power and influence may become increasingly decentralized, or at least shifted away from where its previous bastions.

It may be that some teens are highly motivated to make something of themselves on the internet partly to escape the normal irksome realities of adolescence-- an option us older folks didn't have in our own teenage years.

-- Michael Lewis' Latest Book Chronicles the Unsettling Power of the Internet; Knowledge@Wharton; The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, found on or about 9-20-01

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2004 milestone: Breakthroughs in medical knowledge by now are resulting in simple low cost measures estimated to add up to 20-25% to the lifespan of average newborns...

...i.e., wherever the previous life expectancy at birth may have been 77 or so, the new treatments virtually guarantee to boost that expectancy for the newly born to as much as 96-- with no adverse effects on quality of life whatsoever.

-- Millennium Generation Could Live To 120 - Report, Reuters/Yahoo! News Science Headlines, October 30 1999

-- "Pushing Limits of the Human Life Span" By GINA KOLATA, March 9, 1999, The New York Times

-- Infant Vaccines Against Later Genetic Ills In Sight [Contact: Todd Ringler], UniSci, 03-Dec-1999, http://www.unisci.com

-- "Visions:How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century" (1997, Anchor/Doubleday Books) by author and physicist Dr. Michio Kaku (source: Kaku's own web site ["http://www.wbaifree.org/explorations/index.html"]).

-- "Two Drugs Eradicate Tumors in Mice", by GINA KOLATA, 5-3-98, The New York Times.

Moore's Law about accelerated CPU performance may now apply to biotech advances as well?

The execs at companies like Monsanto think so, as their 'bang-for-the-buck' in R&D for new biotech breakthroughes is going through the roof, now apparently matching rates previously seen only in computer chip development (the total amount of useful knowledge doubling every 1-2 years).

-- "Getting Biotechnology Set to Hatch", by BARNABY J. FEDER, 5-2-98, The New York Times

A newfound gene (SIR2) shared between humans and yeast may point the way to significant lifespan increases for human beings. Adding more of the genes to some organisms makes them live longer (up to 40-50% longer).

Another way to possibly lengthen lifespans in humans and other organisms is to reduce calorie intake to 70% normal.

-- Scientists Uncover New Clues About Aging By Patricia Reaney, February 16, 2000, Reuters/Yahoo Science Headlines

Scientists have created two antioxidants drugs which caused tiny worms to lead 50% longer lives. This particular worm form shares about 40% of its genes with human beings.

-- 'Anti-age' drug found ["http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_904000/904722.stm"], 31 August, 2000, BBC News Online

Taking choline may improve brain function in adults. But a more substantial beneficial effect is expected to occur for children whose mothers receive choline during pregnancy. Namely, improved learning capacities later in life (including more memory space), and more protection against toxic substances, brain diseases, and the effects of aging. The main benefits to children may take place with doses given to mothers in the second half of the pregnancy, and after birth, throughout the child's infancy and into the toddler stage.

The prenatal availability of choline may determine the later adult's requirements (i.e., if it was low, the adult may be able to get by on less than average; if the womb dose was high, the adult may need more than average).

A shortage of choline can lead to liver damage.

The child-related information above was garnered from testing done on lab rats. Human testing must be done to verify the benefits for people. Some human testing has already been done in regards to adult responses to choline.

-- Brain Food by Janet Raloff; Science News/Science Service; Vol. 160, No. 18, Nov. 3, 2001, p. 282; http://www.sciencenews.org/20011103/bob13.asp

The higher the IQ of a child, the better their chance of leading a long life. The benefit may be slightly more for females than males.

-- IQ linked to long life; EurekAlert!; 5 APRIL 2001; US Contact: Emma Wilkinson; ewilkinson@bmj.com; 44-20-7383-6529; BMJ-British Medical Journal

-- Intelligence, longevity linked; The Associated Press/Nando Media/ the Nando Times; April 6, 2001

Dosing pregnant women and newborns with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) could prevent later allergies in childhood.

-- "Good" Bacteria May Halt Allergies in Babies By Amy Norton; Yahoo!/Reuters Health; April 6, 2001; SOURCE: The Lancet 2001;357:1076-1079

Babies of low birth weight enjoy enhanced immune systems if their mothers took zinc supplements over the course of their pregnancies.

-- Zinc Improves Health of Unborn Babies; April 5, 2001; Yahoo!/Reuters

People born during the fall season may enjoy several extra months of total lifespan, compared to others. The cause may be seasonal differences in nutrition during the pregnancy.

-- Fall babies live longer, study suggests; Nando Media/Nando Times/The Associated Press; February 26, 2001; http://www.nandotimes.com

Unfortunately, the treatments do not provide so dramatic an effect on older children or adults, adding perhaps only 3 to 5 effective years to their expected spans. Still, the majority of people choose to partake of the new treatments-- and it's not long before the treatments are actually made mandatory for all newborns by the government. Not long after this, the USAmerican government also raises the standard retirement age yet again-- further stressing out the aging Baby Boom generation which finds the legislated retirement age seemingly staying forever just beyond their grasp...(growing unrest about issues like this play into the hands of the newly aborning virtual states)...

Somewhat better news for the more mature among us are findings that we may enhance our memory and thinking efficiency by as much as 20% by simply adding a particular new substance to our diet. We also get early notice of various other potential improvements to our health and longevity now in the pipeline.

-- "Brain Chemical Levels Linked To IQ Scores - Study", July 7, 1999, Reuters/Yahoo! News

-- "Change your diet and it may make you brighter", Author: Philip Cohen, New Scientist, 7-7-99

-- BBC News | HEALTH | 'Memory pill' for elderly ["http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_708000/708273.stm"], 10 April, 2000

Ginseng and ginkgo biloba are ancient herbal remedies for many maladies. Turns out they actually can improve mental performance-- and do so in just single doses. Specifically, ginkgo allows faster focus and response times, and ginseng improved memory and concentration.

-- Single Doses of Herbal Remedies Boost Memory By Patricia Reaney, Reuters/Yahoo! Top Stories Headlines, April 14 2000

Sources include the New York Times (datestamps 1-13-98 and 1-14-98), and Eurekalert ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"] (on or about 1-15-98)

-- "Futurists gather to predict world's turns: BY BOB KURSON STAFF REPORTER, Chicago Sun Times, 7-20-98

The biggest gains in life expectancy realized in the 20th century occured prior to 1950 and came from reducing the death rate among infants, via factors like improvements in living standards, which included better nutrition, sanitation, and housing than previous generations enjoyed. Thus, the number most people notice-- life expectancy at birth-- was affected most by more infants surviving than before in the 20th century, rather than old people in general living longer.

Another significant point in average life expectancy at birth during the 20th century was even where old people did live a bit longer, their total numbers made up such a small portion of the total that their survival made little difference in the average. In the 21st century however, several items regarding all this are changing. One, the total population of infants may decline as fewer people have children, and those that do have less than they might have in a previous generation. This may reduce the overall weighting of infant survival improvements in the life expectancy average. Two, the total population of older people looks to rise in the developed nations, making any lifespan extensions on their part perhaps gain more weight in the average life expectancy calculation than it had before.

In other words, as the 21st century unfolds, any reports of changes in average life expectancy at birth may have less and less to do with infant survival rates and more and more to do with old folks truly living longer-- at least beyond a certain point in the century.

-- The slowing pace of progress ["http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/001225/change.htm"] By Phillip J. Longman, US News & World Report, found on or about 12-30-2000

-- Concept pill could cut heart disease by more than 80% ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-06/bmj-cpc062503.php"]; 26-Jun-2003; eurekalert.org; Contact: Emma Dickinson edickinson@bmj.com 44-0-20-7383-6529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

-- 'Polypill' Could Protect Against Heart Attacks, Strokes (washingtonpost.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35749-2003Jun26.html?nav=hptop_tb"] By Rob Stein; June 26, 2003

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2004 milestone: The web (with help from economic mismanagment among major players) begins bursting the speculative bubbles in certain high profile real estate markets around the world

-- "Micro-Containers: An Example of Strategic Web Thinking", Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for May 31, 1998: useit.com, and "E-Commerce Forecasts Seen As Too Conservative" By Reuters, Jun 2, 1999, www.cmpnet.com, The Technology Network, URL: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/reuters/REU19990602S0005

The WTC attacks of 9-11-01 indicated large cities may not be as safe as they once were. But so long as you have internet access you may not need to live in or near a big city anymore.

-- Today, there's safety in spreading out ["http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/opinion/dgillmor/dg092301.htm"] Silicon Valley Technology; 9-23-01

-- High Prices Making Some Flee the Cities ["http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/US/urbanflight_030806.html"] By Catherine Valenti; accessible online January 22, 2004; abcnews.go.com

-- Some Real Estate Markets Are Overpriced, Experts Warn ["http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/DailyNews/redeker_housingbubble_020905.html"] By Bill Redeker; accessible online January 22, 2004; abcnews.go.com

-- U.S., U.K. House Prices to Decline `Dramatically' ["http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=afrvFxkjUM1A&refer=us"]; May 29, 2003; quote.bloomberg.com

-- London Rents Are Falling Down The global slump is hitting commercial real estate ["http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_04/b3817168.htm"] By Kerry Capell; JANUARY 27, 2003; businessweek.com

-- Property Slump Ruins Many in Hong Kong ["http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/15/business/worldbusiness/15HONG.html?ex=1061611200?en=92d42b0054f861ff&ei=5058&partner=IWON"]; nytimes.com

The bursting real estate bubbles tend to be concentrated in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim, as these are the regions currently most 'wired' and undergoing dynamic social and technological changes due to the internet.

Once prized urban real estate in many developed states may drop precipitously in value; prices for many suburban plots will often be depressed as well. Rural prices may lose the least value in the near term.

At the same time that the developed nations see dropping real estate values in some urban and suburban settings, those states lagging in internet-related developments may be largely unaffected in this regard (until they catch up, anyway).

Both B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) enterprises are (for the most part) flourishing in these regions. Elsewhere, where the internet and telecommunications in general remain relatively expensive and scarce, B2B is much more robust than B2C-- but even B2B in these regions suffers from the often backward nature of the infrastructure and regional governments.

-- It's a Small World ["http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/trends/0,7607,2449352,00.html"] By Sebastian Rupley, PC Magazine, http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag, February 25, 2000

Working and shopping over the internet will become increasingly necessities rather than luxuries, pushing many local brick and mortar establishments out of business as well as possibly reducing the market for new automobiles and other expensive forms of transportation (while demand for convenient and inexpensive transport may rise). The convenience and flexibility of online education will cut demand for traditional physical institutions. Potential oil and gas demand will certainly be less than it might otherwise have been without these changes.

With more emphasis being placed on the home environment (as well as more demands made upon it), a long period of new construction and renovation looks likely to cater to the new ways. People will be moving to larger homes, or making additions/upgrades to existing structures. Some may renounce fixed location dwellings entirely, in favor of truly mobile living and a newly burgeoning infrastructure for temporary and long term services to such vehicles.

-- Gartner analysts envision the next tech revolution By Nancy Weil, InfoWorld.com, Oct. 16, 2000

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2005 milestone: Up to 70% of all handheld net access devices in use today in developed nations may be free or very low cost; High speed DSL-based net access is breaking out of its niche status in USAmerica

Between 2000 and 2004 the increasing variety in mobile computing/networking platforms will increase tech support costs for organizations by 10%. This implies a backlash effort from IT departments to standardize on only one or a few such platforms, to level off or cut costs.

-- Majority Of Handhelds Will Be Free Or Subsidized, Gartner Says ["http://www.allnetdevices.com/news/0004/000412gartner.htm"] internet.com Corp., April 12, 2000

Some pundits are predicting DSL (high speed (much faster than 56k) net access over phone lines) will be available to over half of all American homes for $30-$40 per month by 2002.

Broadband Roadmap: How Fast, How Much, How Soon URL: http://chkpt.zdnet.com/chkpt/adem2fpf/www.anchordesk.com/story/story_4663.html Berst Alert Jesse Berst, Editorial Director ZDNet AnchorDesk, April 10, 2000

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2005 milestone: Raw speed and mass storage space are becoming increasingly moot in consumer PC/NC technologies due to improved software development techniques, more reliable online services, and commodity microprocessors/drives which are simply 'good enough' now for almost anything...

...thereby forcing the PC/NC makers to compete/innovate in other areas to maintain profit margins. This paradigm shift, atop the previous bloodletting, induces yet another 'shake out' in the industry, with many once proud PC makers going into bankruptcy, other fields, or merging with stronger companies. Intel's diversification in the late 20th/early 21st centuries insulates it somewhat from these issues. This shakeup tends to increase innovation and competition in online services as well...

-- Tomorrow's computers may not be what you think By STEVE ALEXANDER, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service, April 20, 2000, http://www.nandotimes.com

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2000-2005 milestone: The wild and woolly internet entertainment spectrum begins roiling Hollywood, the music industry, and the major TV networks-- while also forming another 'killer app' driving net growth worldwide

Personal servers and net client ware are cheap, people are spending more time at home, net performance adequately (though not robustly) supports heavy duty multimedia in the developed nations now...

20 million users in the USA will finally have near-realtime net responsiveness by 2002

-- "Future of Fast Access", Berst Alert, ZDNet AnchorDesk, 5-7-98

...authoring workstations of stunning capacities and quality are becoming available at record low prices (fully equipped desktop movie and music production studios abound), while new distribution and money-making opportunities for the content generated by such stations are also multiplying .....

-- Yahoo! News - PluggedIn Technology Lets Garage Studios Challenge Hollywood ["http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=569&ncid=738&e=1&u=/nm/20040228/tc_nm/column_pluggedin_dc"]; story.news.yahoo.com

"It's becoming harder and harder to find people who do not have their own home studio,"

-- Alan Fierstein, acoustic consultant in SoHo from the now closed Sorcerer Sound professional studio.

-- For Musicians, Solid Walls Make Good Neighbors ["http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/21/nyregion/21NOIS.html?ei=5058&ex=1078030800?en=35a0856a0bbcfc64&partner=IWON&pagewanted=print&position="] By SABRINA TAVERNISE; February 21, 2004; nytimes.com

-- In the Era of Cheap DVD's, Anyone Can Be a Producer ["http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/20/technology/circuits/20dvdd.html?ex=1085716800?en=5b31eacaf4cc2d6b&ei=5058&partner=IWON"]; nytimes.com

-- A One-Man 3-D Moviemaking Marvel ["http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,57298,00.html"] By Jason Silverman; Jan. 21, 2003; wired.com

-- Homebrew movies latest cinematic genre - August 24, 2002 ["http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/ptech/08/24/computer.movies.ap/index.html"]

-- Pro Tools Nation Butch Vig shows you why a little software program is making studio owners nervous ["http://www.rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=17868"] by GAVIN EDWARDS and DAVID THIGPEN; April 8, 2003; rollingstone.com

One person, one computer, one new animated TV series

Seth MacFarlane created the demo for his new series "Family Guy" all alone on his personal computer, showed it to Fox, and sold 13 episodes to go on the air beginning mid-season.

With powerful new creative capabilities like these coming to single individuals due to new technologies in 1998, just imagine what such individuals are going to do to Hollywood's 'Old Boy' networks in years and decades to come.

-- "Fox orders newcomer's animated comedy" by Jenny Hontz, Yahoo News Entertainment Headlines , Reuters, Variety, 5-15-98

-- "A Fundamental Shift Against Microsoft", by DENISE CARUSO, 4-27-98, The New York Times, " writing about a speculative newsletter article from Robert Jacobson of SRI International, which described one possible future (2003) of Microsoft in a report titled "After Microsoft".

Easy self-employment/entrepreneurial profits for the common man will be one way virtual states gain strength and standing on the net (and independent entertainment entities take off)

-- "GeoCities shares the wealth with members" By Reuters, Special to CNET News.com, 3-8-99, URL: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,33474,00.html

-- Business 2.0: COVER STORY WEB FUTURE How Will the Internet Age? Predictions for the 21st century. By Jim Griffin, griffin@onehouse.com, December 1999: The Next 1000 Years, http://www.business2.com

... booming news and entertainment content options are driving competition into a frenzy at all levels, PC/NC technologies are taking control of new digital TV content standards away from the traditional arbiters, advertising is becoming virtually ubiquitous (though thankfully attaining more 'edutainment' style characteristics, similar to tiny embedded computer games, or else becoming more subtle, such as products or services embedded in video or software imagery ala the 'product placement' of the 1990s....

-- "E-Commerce Forecasts Seen As Too Conservative" By Reuters, Jun 2, 1999, www.cmpnet.com, The Technology Network, URL: http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/reuters/REU19990602S0005

The dysfunctional shareware paradigm of decades past is now giving way to a new model based on embedded commercial advertising in 'free' downloadable software-- advertising which is updated in the background whenever a user logs onto the net.

-- "Web Ads Push Onto The Desktop in a New Way" By Andrew Marlatt , September 1, 1999, Penton Media Inc., http://www.penton.com, http://www.internet.com, Internet World Online, http://www.iworld.com

...the increasing consolidation/convergence of entertainment media access is forcing consumers to confront their true entertainment expenses (and experience a 'sticker shock' that encourages them to cut back or look for lower cost alternatives)....

-- Questioning Technology: Will "Sticker Shock" Slow the Digital TV Revolution? by Frank Beacham

...and 'outlaw'/'outclass' and 'netlaw' techniques allow rogue web sites of all sorts to proliferate and prosper...

-- "Future seen for movies on the Internet" By MICHAEL FLEEMAN, Nando Media/Associated Press, May 29, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com

-- "Internet gurus predict rough road to digital future" By ANDREA ORR, Reuters, Nando Media, 11-19-98

Ian Clarke's Freenet Project (freenetproject.org) is meant to eventually provide a P2P (peer to peer) service whereby any type of file can be uploaded to or downloaded from the internet by anyone, in a free and anonymous fashion. Freenet is being expressly designed to prevent or minimize government regulation of its functionality.

Any time a file was erased on freenet (or the attempt made), that file would immediately be duplicated elsewhere on the network. Every time a file was downloaded, it would leave a trail of copies spread across all the hard drives used in the routing. File locations and user IDs would be protected to prevent them from being tracked.

Part of the impetus for such services is the fact that established media companies have yet to provide consumers with attractive, economical, and convenient media services on the internet themselves.

-- Free Thinker BY DOUG BEDELL (Erich Schlegel is also mentioned as a contributor); THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS; April 2, 2001

...while the reality that elements like free speech, secure micropayment systems, options for anonymity of e-cash transactions, and truly secure private communications are essential democratic and free market factors which cannot be lightly discarded or banned, all hinder various mega-corporate and geopolitical efforts to control or regulate the new global network that is emerging.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science says anonymity is crucial to the future of the internet

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has warned government agencies that attempts to prevent or limit the anonymity of web surfers would likely do far more harm than good, and severely hamper the development of the net's commercial and communications potential.

Anonymity encourages less inhibited e-commerce participation (since privacy can be better preserved), increased government and corporate whistle-blowing to uncover corruption or other wrong doing, the seeking out of expert advice for coping with difficult personal problems, and more protection for activities of human rights groups worldwide.

The best way to minimize abuses of such anonymity may be to allow communities to devise their own policies regarding such matters, rather than imposing broad measures from the top down.

-- "Study: Online Anonymity Critical" by Chris Oakes, 30.Jun.99., Wired Digital Inc.

-- "TAZ Servers and the Rewebber Network Enabling Anonymous Publishing on the World Wide Web" by Ian Goldberg and David Wagner University of California, Berkeley, 5-16-97; related links (with high redundancy due to the possible importance of this material to future human liberty and well-being) include: firstmonday.dk #1 ["http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue3_4/goldberg/"], firstmonday.dk #2 ["http://firstmonday.dk/issues/issue3_4/goldberg/"], cs.berkeley.edu #1 ["http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~daw/classes/cs268/taz-www/rewebber.html"], cs.berkeley.edu #2 ["http://now.cs.berkeley.edu/~daw/classes/cs268/taz-www/rewebber.html"], www.fitug.de message board thread ["http://www.fitug.de/debate/9804/msg00065.html"]

In some ways, this is all the worst nightmare of established Hollywood players, come true.

It's almost becoming routine now for breakthrough media artists to suddenly burst onto the scene 'out of nowhere' by virtue of astonishing new works online, thereby eclipsing the release of many much more expensive productions of true Hollywood/Big TV players of the time. This phenomenon is hitting Hollywood where it hurts-- in the pocketbook. Because the new artists and tiny production houses appear financially much more efficient and productive than the giants, as well as more creative in marketing and promotion.

-- Hollywood marketing fails to boost audiences ["http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1079419866650"]; news.ft.com

Among other things, the traditional entertainment/broadcast industry faces a massive onslaught of what are little more than blatant rip offs of their content-- and sometimes rip offs that viewers much prefer to the originals. Indeed, the availability of this alternative content all by itself persuades many citizens to go online, or significantly expand their online usage.

Truly secure encrypted transactions/email and anonymous server sources (see links above) make for an explosion in these entertainment content 'variants'. Improvements in net bandwidth and computer generated realities are also making huge contributions here.

Some experts in early 2000 weren't expecting surplus bandwidth to emerge in the internet system until around 2005, while others disagreed.

-- Deflating Bandwidth Glut Predictions By Joe McGarvey, Inter@ctive Week February 21, 2000, http://www.zdnet.com/intweek

This looks to be among the first substantial assaults of elements of the coming virtual states on Real World institutions like copyrights, trademarks, names, and likenesses, and a virtual fountain of lawsuits and net-related investigations and crack-downs for long into the future.

Market-related games on the world wide web appear capable of correctly forecasting the future, at least in some ways-- such as award winners. True markets like options exchanges have long been known to often offer reasonably good previews of what's coming. The surprise is that web games which are only virtual markets offering unreal cash rewards can do the same. In both cases the exchanges draw forth information from many sources to publically estimate the likelihood of a given event via pricing.

-- The power of play: game markets offer serious predictions, 19 FEBRUARY 2001, EurekAlert! Contact: Dr. David M. Pennock, dpennock@research.nj.nec.com, NEC Research Institute

But the alternative content is often so tantalyzing that demand is nearly insatiable, and it bites enormous chunks out of the traditional and 'legitimate' entertainment markets. Eventually this alternative content becomes even more difficult to stop than illegal drugs. Especially as the embryonic 'virtual states' often encourage and protect it wherever possible.

-- China claims a first with the new Harry Potter ["http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-346051,00.html"] by Oliver August; The Times Online; July 04, 2002; timesonline.co.uk

As Hollywood faces up to the fact that it can't beat'em, it joins them instead-- by itself jumping into the alternative rip-off market, in various ways (even where it means establishing new subsidiaries in foreign nations to escape the political backlash from religious organizations and others, or merging with some of the very bodies it was previously battling with in court).

Many USAmerican TV shows of this time rapidly become only figureheads and placeholders for franchises that see their greatest success and popularity on the net. In many cases this leads to the quality of TV shows getting even worse overall than they were already in the late 90s, as the best quality talent transfers to the alternative versions of the franchise for a variety of reasons (including more creative freedom from the restrictions of broadcast TV first created way back in the puritanical 1940s and 1950s in USAmerica).

A vast amount of this alternative content is of the pornographic variety-- at least where USAmerica content is concerned, since USAmerica tightly restricts sexual content in general broadcast even today, but allows almost unlimited airing of simulated violence, while much european TV seems to do pretty much the opposite.

Perhaps worse, in many instances where such alternative content 'rips off' an actor or actress' likeness, the alternative is forced to do so with computer generated images, and so may in many instances 'tweak' the likeness to be even more attractive or competent/realistic in action stunts than the real person in an original show-- and so audiences often come to prefer the alternate likeness to the real person. Plus, these alternate shows are giving viewers all sorts of 'extras' and placing characters into new and surprising scenarios that simply aren't available from the 'original' sources, making the alternates still more preferable for many folks for these reasons.

So ultimately, actors and actresses and their Hollywood producers have little choice but to fight fire with fire. Which means doing pretty much the same types of material, and using the same kinds of technologies as the alternate producers themselves, in an effort to become so competitive that it's simply no longer cost-effective or worthwhile for copy-cats to rip off the originals any more. This turns out to be the most effective way to protect and control and exploit original copyrights, trademarks, likenesses, etc. for profit-- i.e., do the 'wild thing' before others can beat you to it.

Of course, this radical widening of possibilities in roles means (for most actors and actresses) that many story lines contain acts/scenes that the real people either cannot, or will not, perform. Ergo, enter the virtual proxies again: wholly or partially computer generated alter egos of the real human beings, capable of performing whatever aspects the true people can't or won't do. But what of those actors/actresses who refuse to license their likeness for such things for various reasons? The offensive alternate content still gets made and distributed by someone somewhere-- with the main difference being the actor/actress involved doesn't get paid for it, and enjoys even less creative input as to what the proxy does in that content. So many Hollywood and TV celebrities learn a hard lesson in the early 21st century-- and one consequence is that the possibilities for what individual actors/actresses/artists will do after that becomes wide open, in almost all conceivable cases.

-- "Virtual actors: Cheaper, better, faster than humans? Extras and stunt people fear the loss of their jobs, and stars fear finding themselves where they would never go" by Robert Lemos ZDNN/MSNBC, 6-15-98

-- "Image Is Everything" by Susan Kuchinskas, 6-18-98, WIRED

-- "Virtual Humans Stepping Out" by Susan Kuchinskas, 6-18-98, WIRED

-- "A star is ... generated by some fancy computer" By LAURENT BELSIE, 2-5-99, Nando Media/Christian Science Monitor Service, http://www.nandotimes.com

-- "21st-Century Movie Stars To Go Digital" By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, 1-22-99, Reuters/Yahoo

-- "NBC, Pulse Ink Deal For Virtual Jay Leno" By Marc Graser, Reuters Limited/Yahoo! News Entertainment Headlines, June 14, 1999

-- "Software lets you 'talk' to Einstein" by Sean Hargrave, Computers, INNOVATION, The Sunday Times, Times Newspapers Ltd., June 13 1999, http://tsms7.tsms.co.uk/

This heady new (and often interactive) entertainment environment also begins affecting the social fabric and political arena in years to come, breaking down old taboos which can no longer sustain themselves in the new scenario, as well as washing away many of the old rules of competition and conduct.

Cyber-threats are mounting for online companies, but many expect little help from government. There's few government resources available to chase down hackers/crackers. Plus, getting the government involved may often entail disclosure of sensitive company information-- which may ultimately become public, or else be spilled to a company's competitors.

These factors are giving some cyber-criminals essentially a free hand. 75% of victimized organizations claim the average cost to investigate and solve the problems related to a single incident is one million dollars.

Businesses like Oracle and eBay are using private consultants to help defend themselves against crackers/hackers.

-- Government ineffective in chasing Net crime, executives say ["http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1648223.html?tag=st.ne.1002-0-1002-0-1648528..1005-200-16482231005-200-1648223"] By The Associated Press/CNET News.com, April 6, 2000, URL: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1648223.html

New technologies like MPEG-7, which do ever more to remove from film-making any need for live actors or physical sets, plus expedite the distribution of same films online and via other digital formats, will surely shake the traditional Hollywood system/network to its roots. Will living, physical stars still be necessary at all? Or will people flock to see anything suitably spectacular or spellbinding, regardless of the true nature of the characters involved?

Even talented screenwriters and directors might become moot, given sufficiently adroit software to guide novices in their own productions.

And costs? With plunging costs in computer and video gear, and ever expanding capabilities trickling down to every desktop, high school kids may soon be able to compete with the likes of Spielberg. Throw in the distribution power of the internet and decent word of mouth, and the kids might match the biggest Hollywood studios in terms of distribution and marketing power too-- at least in some cases.

At some point the only advantage Hollywood might enjoy in film-making over the average joe in the street is government regulation effectively preventing or blocking such competition somehow. But could such laws be effectively enforced? And even if they could, wouldn't voters eventually demand that politicians revoke such laws?

Thus, the years 2005-2010 could offer a rude awakening to Hollywood.

-- Make It 15 Percent Funnier How MPEG-7 Might Change Hollywood Forever ["http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20001214.html"] By Robert X. Cringely, 12-14-2000

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2006 milestone: The 'directed evolution' revolution in project design is spreading to include consumer products and services; Portable communications and computing devices (as well as other on-person electronics) have made a quantum leap in terms of power storage capacities...

...compared to their predecessors of circa 1998/1999.

Much of today's portable electronics measure battery life in weeks or months rather than hours. The new capacities come not only from energy storage breakthroughes, but power generation innovations too.

Six months between recharges for circa 2001-2004 cell phones, flashlights, and palmtops?

Imagine batteries for hand held devices like cell phones, palmtops, flashlights, and more which can last for two weeks to six months before replacement or 'recharge' becomes necessary.

A prototype for such a battery was assembled by Manhattan Scientifics Inc. of New Mexico by late 1998. Basically a micro fuel cell which ran off alcohol, its energy lifespan could be scaled up or down simply by increasing or decreasing the strength of the alcohol mix used.

-- "U.S. Research Firm Says Cell Phone Can Run On Alcohol", Reuters Limited/Yahoo, 12-31-98

-- Expect rapid, pervasive innovation in 21st century, EurekAlert!, 2 DECEMBER 1999 Contact: Emil Venere emil_venere@uns.purdue.edu 765-494-4709 Purdue University

Hand-cranked flashlights and radios were available during the 20th century, and freed users from a dependence on heavy, bulky batteries. However, manually generating the power for these devices could still be inconvenient and inefficient. Plus, increasing 21st century consumer demand for ever more power to run more on-person devices, with increased convenience, flexibility, and independence, made it necessary to retool the energization methods in use. Breakthroughes in mechanical design efficiencies, as well as new power storage technologies, and rethinking to make the energization process more convenient and natural to users, brought about welcome changes and improvements to the field. Adding in multiple channels of power acquisition and storage to supplement the process also increased the practical value of the devices-- for instance, solar cells to supplement hand-cranked power generation where sunlight is available-- and AC/DC feeds for where those sources may be present.

Mobile computing and telecommunications benefited too from these advances.

Beyond the above moves, parasitic harvesting of human biological energy is becoming an increasingly importance source of power for on-person electronics. Bleeding off excess energy from typing, walking, and other movements such as breathing, or even from body heat, all presented new opportunities.

-- Here's a potent new source of electricity -- you ["http://www.sduniontribune.com/news/uniontrib/tue/computers/news_1u8power.html"] By Christine Kenneally, NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE/Union-Tribune Publishing Co, August 8, 2000

The 'directed evolution' revolution in project design first began in high end technologies like bleeding edge jet engines, spacecraft, software, and massively complex manufacturing scheduling and logistics-- now its results are beginning to show up in consumer products and services as well.

-- USNews: Putting evolution to work on the assembly line ["http://www.usnews.com:80/usnews/issue/980727/27evol.htm"] BY CHARLES W. PETIT; Science 7/27/98

Product marketing may be about to become much more dynamic. Battery technology allowing energy storage units to be effectively printed onto materials like ink could enable products to vie for consumer attentions like musical groups, kids, or celebrities in TV commercials. The technology early on would add about something less than a dollar to the cost of each product including it. But that dollar could buy active imagery and audio to catch the eyes and ears of buyers.

This same tech could also be used against shoplifting, to track product distribution or employee movements, and more.

-- Thin, tiny battery may fuel a revolution in packaging by Adam Geller - Associated Press, February 14, 2001, AJC Newspaper Online, AccessAtlanta, Cox Interactive Media

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2007 milestone: War technologies of 2007

Laser-equipped heavy jets capable of shooting down ballistic missiles immediately after launch are a part of the USAmerican military arsenal today.

Though not as desirable as pure ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles), long-standing technological problems with the ABM concept are making such devices as airborne and shipborne lasers an important part of new missile defense systems.

-- "Development of airborne laser gives Air Force futuristic weapon" by Staff Sgt. Tom Mullican Air Combat Command Public Affairs, Released: Oct. 22, 1998, Air Combat Command Public Affairs, United States Air Force, ACC/PAI

Combat aircraft of all kinds are beginning to be squeezed down to fewer and fewer safe operating zones around the world, due to advances in radar detection which utilize standard consumer broadcast systems (like TV and radio) instead of military radar installations to track aircraft. This means militaries must either fly under intense threat from anti-aircraft missiles or indiscriminately bomb civilian broadcast centers to alleviate the threat during attacks.

Virtually all the developed nations are adopting the system for defensive purposes-- partly because it is so inexpensive for what it does. But this same economy also makes the system attractive to developing states as well-- several of which are the most likely targets of attacks by developed state aircraft.

Overall this new technology strengthens weaker nations' capacities to resist and endure the air forces of stronger nations, while possibly putting greater burdens on world powers in terms of potential casualties, pilot captures, and increased pressures to undertake unseemly attacks upon civilian communications centers.

-- CAN BART SIMPSON HELP TRACK ENEMY AIRCRAFT? By Otis Port EDITED BY NEIL GROSS, Developments to Watch, Business Week: November 2, 1998

China is developing a system (Passive Coherent Location (PCL)) capable of tracking both present and future USAmerican stealth combat aircraft. The system lacks the vulnerabilities of previous tracking systems, as it doesn't transmit itself, but rather relies on detecting tiny changes in routine civilian broadcasts caused as planes move through them. This means the system cannot be jammed or attacked directly by warcraft in ways practiced over past decades. Lockheed Martin is selling a similar system called the Silent Sentry as a low cost air traffic control or air defense solution.

-- China Developing New Air Defense System- Report, Yahoo!/Reuters Politics Headlines, November 28, 1999

Note these events help encourage the development of unmanned and disposeable combat aircraft, as well as possibly broaden the range of acceptable military targets deeper into civilian concerns-- at least for some nations, under certain conditions.

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


2008 milestone: Opto-chips of astonishing power are entering the consumer technologies arena; The proliferation of 'free' NCs and cheap PCs have made the internet and computing as mainstream as any industry execs of the 20th century could have dared hope

But the competition has been brutal, with many casualties. Those still surviving 'Mom'n Pop' screwdriver shops which once built custom PCs for local customers now build freebie NCs for banks and other businesses in town to give away-- if they're lucky.

Working and shopping over the internet will become increasingly necessities rather than luxuries, pushing many local brick and mortar establishments out of business as well as possibly reducing the market for new automobiles and other expensive forms of transportation (while demand for convenient and inexpensive transport may rise). The convenience and flexibility of online education will cut demand for traditional physical institutions.

-- Gartner analysts envision the next tech revolution By Nancy Weil, InfoWorld.com, Oct. 16, 2000

Discarded PCs, NCs, and NTSC TVs are piled up in closets and garages everywhere, as users constantly 'churn' between ever improving hardware and services (many offering free or low cost NC client boxes). Many homes have an NC and old style NTSC TV display in every room-- sometimes multiple units in one room (the old TVs can't even show many modern TV broadcasts anymore, without help from a suitable NC supplier-- this 'free' signal translation is a competitive feature among NCs/PCs now; in years past many consumers paid $100 or so for adapter boxes that did nothing more than convert the new digital TV signals to analog for old TVs).

New PCs equipped with all the essentials can be had for $200 now (though as always, more expensive models remain available too). NCs which far outclass the freebies are available for $50-$150, plus a monthly service fee. The competition between PCs and NCs is severe now-- with PCs steadily losing ground. Though PCs have come a long way in reliability and reduced maintenance, retaining any additional flexibility or new innovations at all relative to NCs will always put the PC at some disadvantage or another compared to a NC in daily usage. NCs are now doing to PCs what PCs did to Apple Macs in decades past. Today, NC makers typically let PC makers lead the way in establishing and standardizing new technologies-- and then the moment the new tech becomes economical, practical, and widely accepted by PC users (as well as reasonably debugged), the NC makers adopt it for their own machines, robbing the PCs of yet another competitive element before PC makers can fully exploit it.

By 2006 mainstream net performance is adequate for providing a realtime multimedia entertainment medium.

-- "Future of Fast Access", Berst Alert, ZDNet AnchorDesk, 5-7-98

-- "The PCs' new pitch: Come surf with us" Forbes Digital Tool, (found on the web on or about 6-22-98)

-- "The PC Defends its Turf" by Penelope Patsuris, Forbes Digital Tool, found on the web on or about 6-22-98

But all the above is simply prologue to what is to come.

Breakthroughs in telecommunications, display, sensing, and data processing technologies made eight years ago are now beginning to trickle into the consumer arena after first revolutionizing certain niches of military, medical, and aerospace tech. The benefits include nearly a full magnitude faster information processing speeds, as well as a near equivalent lowering of related energy costs, compared to previous technologies. The new technology offers the promise of virtually unlimited internet speeds for everyone, once it is integrated into the global net and client wares. Instantaneous, realtime responses to every click or command on the net could become the norm, transforming industry, business, and government across the board.

This technology can theoretically be used to create a seemingly real holographic 3-D world about the user, similar to the holodeck of the Star Trek TV shows of the late 20th century-- with only the projection's intangibility and occasional flicker giving away the difference between fantasy and reality.

Polymeric electro-optic materials form the essential core of the new opto-chips technology.

-- 'Opto-chips' are high-speed communications breakthrough ["http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/uwsh-oca033100.html"], EurekAlert!, 6 APRIL 2000 Contact: Vince Stricherz vinces@u.washington.edu 206-543-2580 University of Washington Bob Calverley calverle@usc.edu 213-740-4750 University of Southern California; also Chip promises telecoms revolution ["http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_704000/704324.stm"], BBC Sci/Tech, 6 April, 2000

-- Low voltage, high bandwidth telecommunications device reported in Science ["http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/aaas-lvh033100.html"] EurekAlert! 6 APRIL 2000 Contact: Heather Singmaster hsingmas@aaas.org 202-326-6414 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Other optical breakthroughs coming online now involve faster lasers and optical fibers capable of carrying more wavelengths of data simultaneously. Both improvements vastly increase the bandwidth available in a system so equipped. In 2000 laser speeds were doubling roughly according to Moore's Law regarding processors (doubling every 18 months).

In 2000 existing individual optical net fibers offered a capacity of 40 wavelengths, and 80 wavelength fibers had become available. In 2001 160 wavelength fibers were due to arrive, while 1000 wavelength fibers were being tested in the lab.

-- Net Speed Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet ["http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,35079,00.html"] by Leander Kahney, WIRED, Mar. 21, 2000

A breakthrough in the concepts of fiberoptics has led to 'holey' fibers-- fibers with essentially particularly sized and spaced empty spaces or air pipes running along their length. These 'holes' in the cross-section can serve to 'tune' a fiber to carry much more power and/or manipulate light behavior in various ways. This could enable optical fibers to allow sufficient power transfer so that a fiber could drive laser machining or welding, among other things. Holey fibers can also lower the bar in terms of optical switches, making such technology cheaper and more widespread than would otherwise be the case. And that could lead, of course, to the arrival of optical computing too, sooner rather than later.

A variant of such holey fibers could possess a central hole, with electrified wires embedded in the surrounding smaller holes, to create a magnetic field suitable for guiding atoms through the fiber in the central channel. In other words, actual matter could be transported through such fibers-- at least in small quantities.

-- Holey Fibers Could Revolutionize Telecommunications; unisci.com; 21-Mar-2001; Contact: Dr. Tanya Monro, Dr. Alice Larkin; Institute of Physics Congress 2001

-- Tiny holes will have huge telecomms impact; 12 March 2001/21 March 2001; PR20-(01)/C14-(01), apparently written by Sally Croft; sally.croft@scipr.globalnet.uk; further information available from Contact Dr Tanya Monro, tmm@orc.soton.ac.uk; Institute of Physics, IOP Publishing Ltd.; www.iop.org

Another innovation relevant to opto-electronics has been the development of reflective films based on polymers, which make much improved replacements for conventional dielectric mirrors. The new films offer a fuller spectrum of reflected light, as well as a wider range of reflective angles-- and are also relatively cheap and easy to make.

-- Polymer-based mirror outshines all others ["http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/aaas-pbm032400.html"], EurekAlert! 30 MARCH 2000, Contact: Heather Singmaster scipak@aaas.org 202-326-6440 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Consumer product scanners-- standalone handhelds, expansions of PDAs/Palm Pilots/Pocket PCs, and other variations-- are by now typically giveaway items to consumers, or else heavily subsidized or already bundled with other on-person consumer electronic buys. These devices allow consumers to scan the bar codes on products in stores or their home, or at work or associates' homes, to obtain and retain identifying information allowing them to easily locate and buy, or research the item further in consideration of buying, online.

Some sample uses of the devices involve constructing a database of typical household items, then afterwards scanning the packages of same as they are consumed, helping to automate grocery lists and shopping chores. In many cases items consumed might automatically be re-ordered over the net, with one hour or next day delivery depending on the priority of the item. Like many other high tech conveniences, the hardest part is the initial creation of the database itself. Subsequent changes and additions require only seconds of the user's time.

Such hardware has existed for years already, but posed many caveats in its earlier incarnations. For instance, users might be 'locked-in' to a particular retailer or product line, or their scanner otherwise incompatible with other shopping needs and desires. Many businesses attempted early on to make such scanners proprietary in certain ways, much like many set top boxes or Network Computers were and are for net access. The gadgets were often used to obtain higher profit margins too than might otherwise have been the case. Thus, for a while the scanners were not always cost-effective for consumers.

There remains today certain problems regarding the devices, but in large part they are being resolved by the market and certain new government regulations.

-- Get Paid To Shop! Scanners point way to e-commerce shopping future By Stefanie Olsen, CNET News.com March 31, 2000, URL: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-1618483.html

Of course, the ultimate version of this scanning technology will not come until common trash cans possess scanners built into the rims of their openings which automatically identify and record discarded items or packaging for updates of grocery lists/databases, and consumers enjoy similar scanners built into typical eye wear, head gear, gloves, or wrist bands as well, for roaming convenience.

Signposts 2003-2008 Contents


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