Friday, April 29, 2005

Wires, cables and power cords

I had big computer hardware problems this week (unreliability is working overtime), so I had to pull my desktop machine out from under the desk to repair it. Here is the scene that greeted me after I removed it:



You can't help but notice the wires - the huge jumble of wires leading to and from the computer. Why are there so many wires? Here's an inventory of the wires and cables hooking to my desktop machine:
  1. The computer's power cord
  2. keyboard cable
  3. mouse cable
  4. Power cord for monitor #1
  5. VGA cable for monitor #1
  6. Power cord for monitor #2
  7. VGA cable for monitor #2
  8. Wire to the speakers
  9. Power cord for the speakers
  10. Wire from the microphone
  11. Four firewire cables for the four firewire drives
  12. Four power cords for the four firewire drives
  13. 100-base-T network cable
  14. Cable TV cable (with splitter - one side of the splitter plugs into cable modem, the other into the tuner card in the computer)
  15. Power cord for the cable modem
  16. Cord from the cable modem to the hub/router
  17. Power cord for the hub/router
  18. USB cable for the digital camera (custom plug goes into Leigh's camera)
  19. USB cable for MP3 players (with the small plug on the other end)
  20. USB cable for the USB hub
  21. Power brick/cable for the USB hub's power
  22. USB cable to the memory card reader (handles David's and Irena's cameras)
  23. USB cable for PDA cradle
  24. Power brick/cord for PDA
  25. USB cable for the scanner
  26. power cord for the scanner
  27. USB cable for the inkjet photo printer
  28. Power cord for the photo printer
  29. USB cable to the web cam
  30. SVideo cable out from the TV tuner card
  31. Sound cable out from the TV tuner card
  32. Video and sound cables in from the XBox (Feeds into TV tuner card so I don't need a TV in my office to hook to the XBox)
  33. Parallel printer cable to laser printer
  34. Power cord for the laser printer
  35. Special Firewire cable for the video camera
  36. Three power cords for the three UPSs
  37. Power cord for the power strip
  38. Probably a couple odds and ends that I am missing
If you add it all up, you can see that there are nearly 50 different cords and cables floating around under my desk, and that doesn't count the recharger for my cell phone, the recharger for the video camera, the generic battery recharger, their power strips, etc.

Let's just agree right now that this goes beyond sad - it is insane. 50 cords and cables is an insane thing to have under your desk.

Here's the dream, and how things will probably evolve over the next 10 to 20 years:
  • You buy a new printer and set it in the room.
  • It gets its power wirelessly through some sort of induction relationship with the wall
  • It connects to the computer wirelessly through a high-speed wireless network in the room.
No drivers, no configuration. It just does exactly what you expect without any effort of any sort on your part.

As you think about it more, however, you realize that all of this collapses and vanishes over the next couple of decades. It is inevitable that the "desktop computer" shrinks into a tablet-like device that you carry with you (or, ideally, that you carry inside you via Vertebrane). There is no paper, so the printers and scanners go away. There are no firewire drives because we access unlimited storage space on the internet's successor via the high-speed wireless network that exists everywhere around us. There are no UPSs because everything is running off of batteries that last for months or years. And so on.

In other words, our grandkids will look at the photo at the beginning of this post and they will laugh and laugh and laugh...

Google

16 Comments:

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is impressive that you connect all of that to one machine and it works.

How do you like multiple monitors?

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this helps get rid of some wires - Microsoft Throws Support To Ultra-Wideband Group

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Marshall: Thanks for sharing...

Yes, it is insane, and I shudder when I look behind my desk.

Maybe 20 years from now there will just be 3 cables (power, monitor, ?) instead of 20+


-Matt

 
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At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to have a fondness for this vision of a future dependent on technology? 'Ideally' a computer inside of you? You are joking right? If people like you continue to think the way you do there wont be any grandchildren to sit around mocking you for having too many wires and no cable ties.

 
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jejejeje what a mess! man there's something called wireless or too a cord organizers, dude how you made to recognize each cord? I mean the cord use to that or to this in that mess.

 
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