But the significant movement seen in examining these two industries is their level of interaction with each other, initially technologically, but increasingly organizationally. Pentium II’s will be approaching Alpha speeds anyway by late Although technically it may satisfy the needs of many users, it may be too big a risk for many cable providers to offer this type of service. The issues of how much convergence will take place between different media and devices, and who will provide the next level of connectivity are not unrelated. Increased bandwidth commonly called broadband is widely viewed as necessary to support the potentials of existing networks and the internet, and is being developed in a variety of configurations. Future Directions The Network Age is very likely give way to the age of Ubiquitous Computing, although the scope and pace of ubiquitous computing will depend on future technological developments.

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What would happen if semiconductor progress stagnates, as seems possible somewhere between and ? There is sufficient discussion of information overload and extended work hours to wonder, will ubiquitous computing cause more strain on people inrel it relieves? Yet increasingly the business of running i26 internet backbones is being consolidated in fewer and fewer companies, with 9 companies currently controlling it, and WorldCom being the most notable for increasing their market share.

Recent History and the Future The Age of Mainframes The model most often put forth to describe the history of computing is that of “ages.

Experiments in content convergence are likely to follow the same pattern, with the distinction between a TV channel and a TV station’s web site becoming blurred, while consumers may yet cling to media forms that can be technically replaced because they’re culturally familiar, or because the appliances to deliver new media variations seem overcomplicated or lack value. Telephone companies are buying ISP’sbigger telephone companies are buying smaller ones, inetl generally there is a great deal of consolidation happening.

Future Directions The Network Age is very likely give way to the age of Ubiquitous Computing, although the scope and pace of ubiquitous computing will depend on future technological developments. Traditional computing for work functions will hopefully realize some of the possibilities promised by the Age of Networking, as more people telecommute, the location of files and applications becomes increasingly transparent, and information databases are easier to access and use than ever before.


The Computer Industry The age of mainframes was, for the computer industry, a time of a few large vendors developing and selling proprietary systems. inteo

But inte, also pivotal in increasing the capabilities of networking, such as providing movies on demand, increasing sales of software and consumer goods on-line, and o206 more satisfactory videoconferencing. There was an explosion of new chips and of personal computers powered by them after from Apple, Atari, Digital, Commodore, Tandy and others, but the most significant personal computer using a lot of hindsight and giving up on Apple was the introduction of the IBM PC inpowered by Intel’s chip.

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Between inteel backbone and the telephone is a large area, and this is most of what’s described as connectivity. ISP’s are the access point for most consumers now, and generally the speed at which consumers can connect is limited by the hardware which the ISP’s have. The fractionalization of information resources is often maligned by social theorists, but the freedom to publish in a visible forum has never been as great as it is at the current time.

The most important developments in networking, the provision of more bandwidth nationwide, is awaiting developments in the communications industry, aided by research into components and technologies by computer peripheral manufacturers.

But the use of these technologies with personal computers did not become widespread until the early ‘s. Created by the growth of the internet and the WWW, ISP’s are a hybrid between communications and computing, ihtel have their own distribution from world-wide providers with millions of subscribers, to small “mom and pop” providers with no more than dozens.

Telephone technology has been augmented by computerized switches and routers, and satellite technology has supplemented cables for long-distance telephony. They’re just so handy for aiming weapons by a pilot that otherwise has his or her hands full with flying.

The Age of Ubiquitous Computing Several current developments, ones which will define the end of the age of network computing, seem fairly clear. Such machines were made and marketed by only a handful of companies IBM, Remington-Rand and ERA and were used for defense work, engineering studies, and increasingly in the ‘s, data processing. What we today see as “computing,” sitting in front of a computer, will continually shrink as a fraction of what is done utilizing processors.

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If web page production, while becoming “heavier,” is still available to most people, it will open a very interesting era for creative multimedia production and viewing. The use of satellite dishes is possible as well, and different forms of connectivity using all of these different channels are being tested right now, with the goal of being much faster than ISDN service, ideally from kbps to 1. Past, Present and Future Much has changed in the communications industry since the ‘s, both technologically and organizationally.


Cable TV has made possible new, smaller networks with specialized content, and even local channels for communities to broadcast city council meetings and local interest programs.

Or will they refuse to join and go down fighting? Smaller companies could purchase computers, and intdl with less intense training could install and operate PC’s, and choose from a wider variety of non-proprietary software.

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The provision of connectivity for companies is becoming decentralized, when seen from the viewpoint of computers and capital equipment, but it’s also becoming centralized, when seen from the viewpoint of the few large backbone providers.

Cable companies handle video transmission and have the best capacity of any existing network infrastructure, though they lack switching equipment and backbone connections, and are generally seen as not having much technological nor networking experience.

The Communications Industry The telephone and television industries have always been typified by a limited number of providers. Will ecological catastrophes or political instability fueled by population pressure make predictions about the cutting edges of research and technology irrelevant?

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PBS show, Triumph of the Nerds. Television, as the primary medium of news and information for most Americans, has broadened somewhat from the days of two, and later three major networks.

Any new level of networking that doesn’t combine the currently competitive interests of cable companies and telcos will not lead to as high a degree of efficiency nor as much near-term convergence as a level that did combine these interests.

Will some consumer information devices and channels have an extended lifespan due to factors such as installed base or cultural preference?