It seems that the fix is in for good, old petroleum-based media. I can see your face, tears welling up to intimate, “Say it ain’t so, Broseph!” Well, I’m not the one telegraphing it through some pretty ham-fisted gestures.
The problem is, the public has been fighting going completely digital for the better part of a decade. I remember buying my first CD burner (USB 1.0 and an hour to make a disk) in 1999 to make media to share with friends. I’m old enough to remember that technology being around since about the late 70′s. Then we had this web-splosion, Internet speeds went from 44kbps to 5Mbps in a matter of years, which made sharing, buying, etc. a heck of a lot easier. But… folks still weren’t buying it. Like eBooks, you couldn’t touch or hold your purchases and show everyone that came over how erudite you were.
Now, in a move that has angered thousands, Netflix has made a bold move to gear users toward streaming – or at least to separate the old-school from the shiny gadget crowd. With slightly less hoopla, Apple is looking toward a future without disks as it rolls out new Mac minis with no optical drive and a new OS that can only be purchased over the wire (unless you want to wait and pay more).
With Apple creating the iCloud [cue angelic music] and Google sending out their test Chrome OS laptops, we may be left holding less and less in our hot, little hands. I’ve had a chance to play with Chrome OS and it does feel a little like the riding in a car that can drive itself. But, if you realize that you are living in the future and that’s just what cars do now, you can sit back and relax without trying to drill down into the 666 levels of folder hell to find that file you whose name you can’t recall.
This is a level of abstraction whose time has come. I want the files I need to be served up to me without asking. I want a jet-pack that knows where I’m flying before I do while playing something I’ve never seen but that I definitely enjoy. And, as someone who grew up reading William Gibson novels, I want access to all information everywhere all the time. The change is going to take some getting used-to, but then so will the nano-bot neural upgrade I’m going to have to get in 2035 so I can program my toaster…