Very Random Thoughts

Random features I’d like to see in future operating systems and computers:

  1. A new name for Operating System besides Operating System so Apple can use a new term besides the ungainly Mac OS.
  2. As part of the “get acquainted” sequence on first powerup, the computer asks you for your wife’s birthday, your anniversary, you mother’s birthday, and your boss’s birthday.
  3. Color analysis software combined with your desktop videoconferencing camera can tell you if your colors match in the morning.

Power Mac 6100

  1. Hard Shut Down, which leaves even keyboards and other peripherals totally without power; requires a mechanical button press to restart. I could just unplug it, but hey, the plug is buried in the back of the desk. Like a Power Mac 6100, I guess, except I only want to use the button to turn the power back on, not to turn it off. Why? I’m weird. That’s why.
  2. Removable trackpad on laptops, so I won’t accidentally send the cursor to Timbuktu. Or maybe a door that closes over it when I’m just typing. Or even just an off switch.
  3. the computer in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"Extra winky lights: Panels of blinking lights that actually show system status like hard drive usage, so the computer looks like what they thought computers would look like in the 50s and 60s (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, for example, had a panel that was the size of a wall that apparently served no useful function.)
  4. Laptops coated in solar panel material so they are constantly recharging.
  5. A windup power supply that can run a laptop for 30 minutes when the battery dies.
  6. Wireless networking adapter for older computers without PCI slots or PCMCIA slots.
  7. An affordable computer projector (under $1,000) that could be used at home.
  8. A really, really big display at low resolution, say 800 x 600 using light bulbs for pixels.
  9. Wireless house-scale connectivity for my display and keyboard and mouse – but not my CPU.
  10. An entire modern computer integrated into an old Apple Extended Keyboard II.
    Apple Extended Keyboard
  11. Return of the Apple Adjustable Keyboard.Apple Adjustable Keyobard
  12. A Net game where being old and slow and devious balances out the faster fingers and processors of the younger set.
  13. A Net game where a bunch of old dudes could gang up on a young punk and beat the crap out of him.
  14. Just one movie where the computers have a real operating system and the computer freezes or crashes – and the computer genius in the movie can’t fix it in 30 seconds.
  15. Scotty using a Mac Plus in Star Trek IVA computer genius in a movie who can actually type instead of just tapping his fingers on the keyboard randomly. Unlike Jimmy Doohan in Star Trek IV. (Don’t get me wrong, I really like Jimmy Doohan. I have his autograph, I’ve heard him tell his story about doing most of the voices on the Star Trek animated series three times, but the man can’t type – at least not when Star Trek IV was filmed.)
  16. A movie that shows Apple computer healthy and useful in the future. I think Blade Runner showed the Apple logo on one of its nighttime exterior shots, but hey, the whole movie was mostly a downer. [Blade Runner was directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed Apple’s 1984 ad.]
  17. A TV show, movie, or news program which actually talks about the Mac vs. Windows debate in a meaningful way.
  18. An Apple Newton-like device that runs the Mac OS.
  19. Bill Gates appeared at the 1997 Boston Macworld Expo via live video feed.Steve Job’s face on a giant projection screen behind Bill Gates on an empty stage. Seems only fair.
  20. All Mac OS versions prior to 9 released for public use (like 7.5.5 is now) when the Mac OS goes totally X with no Classic. What a public relations coup!
  21. A Classic OS interface mode that makes OS X behave like OS 9.
  22. An alkaline battery adapter for laptops to use when your battery craps out – if I can’t have the windup gizmo.
  23. A retractable cup holder on my laptop that looks like a CD player so I can freak people out.
  24. HyperCard revamped for OS 9 and OS X and made into a Web site development tool compatible with iTools. It could be done as a variant on FileMaker Pro, if FileMaker weren’t so bent on jettisoning everything that isn’t a database.
  25. A new keyboard that feels like an Apple Extended Keyboard II, complete with clackity old keys.
  26. A Power Mac built into an Apple II case.
  27. A PDA that straps onto your forearm like those little button-chirpy gizmos used to in Jason of Star Command, Space Ghost, or Star Trek: Voyager. Built in landscape format instead of portrait. I’d pay some real simoleons for that.

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