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Gary K. Starkweather


Publications by Gary K. Starkweather (bibliography)

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Starkweather, Gary K. (2005): Personal computing in the 21st century. In: Proceedings of the 2005 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology 2005. pp. 1-2. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1095034.1095035

Ever since the dawn of the digital computer, invention, innovation, and creativity have been a hallmark of the industry. The mainframe computer seemed for a while to be the real player with experts or at least highly trained professionals operating these large and expensive machines. Most users were allowed to see them through glass windows but \"hands on\" was a rare opportunity. In 1972, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), built a remarkable personal computer named the ALTO. Except for the visionaries at PARC and a few others, most people considered the personal computer a mere curiosity in this early period. Today, the personal computer has become a tool that very few imagined. What might be yet to come. While prognosticating about the future is a risky endeavor at best, perhaps we can obtain a look ahead with a straightforward review of the current status of personal computing. We will look at operating systems, application software and peripherals, however, the real goal of this talk is to see what the user interface, tools and interactions with this future computing environment might be or perhaps even should be. Will we still be using continuing variations of Doug Englebart\'s mouse in 2020 or might something new and much more advanced emerge? How might users seamlessly deal with terabytes of storage? How might multi-user environments be used and could multi-OS machines be an economic and generally available personal computing environment? Are there user experience issues that are critical in multi-OS environments? How might the user\'s display be different from today? Will tomorrow\'s displays be larger, have a significantly higher pixel density, be much more paper-like, etc.? Might electronic printers and their requisite paper output still be with us by 2025, for example? Will home and neighborhood network resources finally be a powerful ally of the computing environment? Many exciting opportunities and questions beg for answers and industry insight. This talk will attempt to peer into the near future to see what we might expect of the personal computing environment based on what we can extrapolate from current experience and technology directions. While the exactitude of such projections may be limited, taken as a whole, there is perhaps much that can be learned from such an exercise. Why do this? Charles Kettering, the great automotive inventor was asked why he spent so much time planning and thinking about the future. He wisely replied, \"Because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.\" Thirty years ago, very few could have imagined all the wonderful things that personal computing has enabled. Perhaps we have just begun our exciting journey.

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