Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #350 9/14/2016

Question: What are my best computer predictions?


The use of the CD/DVD optical storage was one of my best predictions. Back when we were still using 5 .25 inch floppy disks (they really had floppy covers) when I heard about prospects of optical storage including CDs and ultimately DVDs I expected we would move quickly to them as they would make getting so much more information on one portable device what was same size as the then popular 5.25 inch diskettes and would work faster and not be sensitive to things like magnets. They still make good longer term storage and lots of movies etc stored on them although lots I saw come to be used on them is now on the cloud or flash/thumb drives.

The use of CDs/DVDs in cameras I thought would make digital photography much more popular and replace film in the late 90s. The original digital cameras were limited on number of pictures to a very small storage in camera (built-in) and you had to download via wire. Most cameras took 7-10 low quality pictures by today’s standards. In the early 2000s Sony and others sold cameras with the CDs/DVDs and diskettes which were popular but at same time flash memory did major improvements and we went that way. Diskettes were a slight improvement over the original cameras in that you could carry diskettes with you but were limited to 10-20 pictures so you had pockets of diskettes. CDs offered doing up to 100 pictures on a CD and much easier.

When were in low speed dial-up networking speeds I said if we could get Internet via DSL and cable and ultimately fiber we would really be able to use computers at home and world of new possibilities. With 56K dialup I heard many say that was all speed we needed but I said we would not be happy until we have speed of light to desktop. People then were thinking it would be great to just get pictures on web sites etc and I expected we would want video via network and with fiber doable. We have fiber now to the pole and to houses in many places and I expect you will see us all wanting fiber to our devices (at least to the modem/router) soon so we can do high definition video easily and things like virtual reality and things we have not thought of can be more realistic.

What does future hold? Faster network speeds (wired and wireless), bigger storage devices (exabytes will come for PCs), growth of cloud but still local storage too, possible deterrents on cloud growth the first time a major cloud location is destroyed (fire, terrorism, earthquake, weather, etc) and people lose large amounts of data because most do not have backup unless you pay extra), effect of magnetic storms (man made or sun produced) on data, new breakthrough uses we have not thought of or are in dreams like things we can do with virtual reality and where it becomes more natural feel where you may not always know if it is real or virtual such as with virtual reality you feel like you are in the movie doing stuff at home “watching” (is it watching if you are part?) it, and more and more of computers monitoring and assisting us in everyday life including more use in the kitchen and vehicles as we move to cars driving themselves and maybe that will make flying cars realistic.