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GOING BACK TO THE FUTURE

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WEBWATCH

Here are some early thoughts for next year. Since they have been the Next Big Things* for at least a decade already I don't see why spectacle-like display screens and voice input shouldn't occupy this important position again this next year. And the next. And the one after that. For at least a decade I have been writing gush about the bright future of computer displays that you hang on your nose and use like ordinary specs.

This goes back to having once used a virtual-reality helmet - which probably changed my life. I seem to vaguely recall around the same time reading about virtual sex, which may have had something to do with this special enthusiasm.

Hmm. Whatever. Spec displays and the whole VR thing have become ashes in my mouth.

So too voice input. Here we have a functional problem quite beyond the fact that it rarely works. In the noisy office, how do you stop snippets of the spec being written by the loud-mouth from the design team across the desk becoming embedded in your own? And why does everybody start walking past when you fi nd yourself repeating furtively 'Computer.

Turn that image off right now.

Computer?'?

* Computerspeak for vapourware, aka 'yeah, yeah'.

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