I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself.

In the June issue of Computers in Libraries, Michael Schuyler writes about “The Next Big Thing: Super-PDAs Do It All.” I like his description of where we're headed and I very much agree with it.

“The first issue is that cellphones and PDAs and wireless are mergining into a single digital appliance. At a certain point you will not be carrying around a PDA and a cellphone and a camera and an MP3 player, all with wireless Internet access. It will be one piece of equipment, very small, without even a keyboard. It won't need even a stylus because you will talk to it, and it will talk back. If you want to see what the first generation of one of these looks like, albeit still with a keyboard and without language skills, go to http://www.danger.com and look at the 'Hiptop.'

Hold that thought. Now walk into your local public library, wired for wireless with a hub in the ceiling. You'll have an instant online catalog on your PDA and instant high-speed Internet access. It will be like walking into a bubble of Internet and catalog access. Within the bubble you are automatically connected. No more waiting for a PC or scheduling your personal time slot. You just have to be within the 100-foot radius of the hub (indoors) or within 300 feet (outdoors), meaning the parking lot of the library will be an Internet hub 24 hours a day. This is the Starbucks approach. People in libraries keep saying we absolutely must become community centers. This is how to do it….

The Big Thing comes about as your PDA gains intelligence, going from a mere conduit to smart searching engines and advancing to being an assistant in every sense of the word. It will be your first line of defense in the world. It will have hooks to your bank account, your stock broker, your bookie, and your medical history. It will know your blood pressure, your heart rate, and whether or not you've taken your pill. It will make your dinner reservations or your airline reservations, and schedule any meetings in between. It will be capable of translating any of the world's major languages in real time. Its GPS (Global Positioning System) module will know where you are. It will call the cops if you need them, or tell you what to do if the cops stop you. Your lawyer, if it's not the PDA itself, could be there by the time the car stops rolling. It will nag you to get places on time, and you'll probably argue with it.”

The article isn't online, but you can get a copy from your local public library. Volume 22, Number 6, pages 28-29.  [The Shifted Librarian]

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