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Big Bang of Convergence 430

joNDoty writes "Businessweek is running a story predicting 'This is going to be the most disruptive period in the past 50 years." The period they are talking about is the digital age of convergence, where every software/hardware manufacturer is racing to link cell phones, tvs and computers into universal devices 'that can't be categorized as tech or consumer electronics.' 'The result is a Big Bang of convergence, and it's likely to produce the biggest explosion of innovation since the dawn of the Internet.' Overrated? Perhaps, but +1 insightful nonetheless." Sure, your fridge will tell you you need milk, but convergence is not necessarily a good thing.
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Big Bang of Convergence

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  • by yoey ( 247125 ) * on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:20PM (#9433333) Journal
    I don't know about this "convergence" thing. I have 5 remote controls for 5 different products, and I'll be damned if I can find a way to successfully use just for all!
  • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:23PM (#9433382) Homepage Journal
    Sorry- I've only got one- SONY's RM-VL900 learns with the best of 'em.
  • by FirstTimeCaller ( 521493 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:33PM (#9433543)

    They been saying this, what, 3 years now?

    Three years? Really? Well what do you know [winnetmag.com]? You're right!

    Now if you want a better example of digital convergence gone bad than the N-GAGE, check here [crq.com].

  • by tmhsiao ( 47750 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:34PM (#9433568) Homepage Journal
    I love my VL900s (I have one for the bedroom and one for the living room). All of the LCD-screen monstrosities don't have the comfortable form factor that the VL900 does, and it's capacity to learn other remotes and macros are invaluable.
  • Re:Riiight (Score:3, Informative)

    by benzapp ( 464105 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:40PM (#9433655)
    From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    The term was coined by economist Alfred Sauvy in an article in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur of August 14, 1952. It was a deliberate reference to the "Third Estate" of the French Revolution. Tiers monde means third world in French. The term gained widespread popularity during the Cold War when many poorer nations adopted the category to describe themselves as neither being aligned with NATO or the USSR, but instead composing a non-aligned "third world."

    Leading members of this original "third world" movement were Yugoslavia, Indonesia, and Egypt. Many third world countries believed they could successfully court both the communist and capitalist nations of the world, and develop key economic partnerships without necessarily falling under their direct influence. In practice, this plan did not work out quite so well; many third world nations were exploited or undermined by the two superpowers who feared these supposedly neutral nations were in danger of falling into alignment with the enemy.

  • Rewriting History (Score:5, Informative)

    by meehawl ( 73285 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <maps.lwaheem>> on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:47PM (#9433739) Homepage Journal
    Consider a couple of the pioneers. With the iPod music player, Apple Computer added a tiny hard drive to a music-playing computer and -- voilá! -- vast music collections suddenly fit into a pocket.

    The quantity of historical revisionism in what passes for business journalism never ceases to amaze me. Goebbels would be proud!

    Archos was first company to market with a hard drive-based mp3 player in late 2000, although Compaq had a prototype device in early 2000 that they failed to market. There was even an open-source project to build a "High Capacity MP3 Player [pjrc.com]" in 2000 that quickly advanced to using hard drives.
  • by tmhsiao ( 47750 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @04:03PM (#9433952) Homepage Journal
    According to the manual, you can set the DVD button to run that entire sequence of codes if you press and hold the DVD button for a few seconds, or as indicated, just the DVD -> AMP steps.

    If you read manuals, that is.
  • by Black Perl ( 12686 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @04:32PM (#9434320)
    And before everyone suggests CURRENT PRODUCTS, don't - because I've tried them all.

    Have you really tried the computer-programmable ones? The philips pronto series (all of 'em) support downloaded IR codes. There are libraries of discrete codes [remotecentral.com] (ie. non toggle, ON means ON) for just about every manufacturer you can think of.

    Personally, I use the Pronto Neo. [overstock.com] I like it for many reasons. A fully programmable touchscreen--I created custom graphics for it. I like that it has a decent amount of hard buttons too. Every button (both hard and virtual) can send IR codes, navigate/change "screens", start timers, and remote-specific things (turn on/off the backlight), or have a macro that does many or all of the above. I downloaded discrete codes for all my stuff. The System Off button turns everything off, period.

    My wife loves it. She is greeted by simple icons. If she wants to watch TV, she touches the TV picture and then the TV, cable box, and receiver turn on, and she sees the network logos for her favorite channels. There are tabs for other channel logos (including a Kids tab that my kids use), and a tab that leads to a number pad for direct channel input.

    If she wants to watch a DVD, it's similar. Push the DVD logo, push the "play" button. Which, by the way, slowly dims the lights down to 10% thanks to this [homeautomationnet.com] and IR codes that I downloaded for it. The pause button ramps the lights up to 50% (for bathroom breaks).

    Another little trick, I use the above IR-to-X10 gateway to turn on my PS/2 when someone touches the Game icon, thanks to an appliance module [homeautomationnet.com]. Otherwise, it would be a pain becuase the PS/2 has a hard power switch on the back, and I have it mounted in a built-in cabinet with no room to reach behind it.

    I also have a Music tab, which has buttons labeled "Jazz", "Ambient", etc. so you can turn on music without having to know what digital cable channel they're on. And, I don't even have to open the cabinets to turn all this stuff on or off, thanks to an IR repeater I have tucked in the surrounding bookshelves.

    The complexity is MIND boggling. I will give ALL OF MY MONEY to someone who can fix the problem.

    My 6-year old can fully operate my setup. If there's something specific you'd want to do with your setup, let me know and I'll tell you how to do it with the Pronto Neo (or the more expensive Prontos). No need to give me all your money.

    I can provide screen shots of my setup if you want.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.