Tomorrow’s technology today

Check this about Sharp Labs from EE Times:

Camas, Wash. – Sharp Laboratories of America aims to turn your TV into a Web-surfing, news-gathering, sports-summarizing, on-demand movie viewing, e-mail center. As the beachhead for U.S. imports from Japan’s $20 billion Sharp Corp., Sharp Labs also has designs on your cell phone, video recorder, document-imaging system and more.

“We are charged primarily with researching technologies that Sharp Corp. can develop into products for the U.S. market,” said Sharp Labs’ founder and director, Jon Clemens. “For instance, Sharp had the first camera-enabled mobile phone, and by 2005 we will be producing only LCTVs [liquid-crystal-display televisions], no more CRTs.”

Interesting place, if I say so myself.

California recovering

Despite a housing bubble, UCLA economists expect California to grow in 2005:

Yet the fallout from the bubble in California won’t be devastating, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Indeed, the Golden State’s economy will expand at a faster clip than the nation’s in 2005, thanks in part to a recovering Bay Area, the widely watched forecast says.

All in all, next year is shaping up as “solid but not spectacular” for California, said Christopher Thornberg, a UCLA Anderson Forecast senior economist and author of its state outlook.

Welcome back.

The End of an Era

So it’s official, IBM is getting out of the PC business:

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) — Lenovo Group Ltd. will buy IBM’s personal computing business in a $1.75 billion deal, creating what the companies said Tuesday night will be the No. 3 PC maker worldwide.

I thought this day would never come. The IBM PC, from its inception in 1981, had the most dramatic effect on the computer industry in general and my career in particular of any technology or event of the last 30 years. Before the PC, I was a system programmer at Texas Instruments developing operating systems and protocols for closed, proprietary systems, systems that were full of fun and complexity with multi-tasking, real-time priorities, virtual memory, and interprocess communications. The PC, with its deficient operating system and marginal hardware, put an end to that sort of system, bringing about a massive shift to bare-metal programming, a retarded CPU architecture, a return to proprietary communication protocols, and assembly language instead of block-structured high-level languages.

As the virus spread, it gradually overcame its origins and evolved into a lower-cost version of the kind of systems I used to work on, only without my having access to the system code so I could simply change it if I didn’t like the way it worked until Linux came along.

But now IBM has decided the whole experiment wasn’t such a hot idea. Presumably, they’re still in the server business as well as services and consulting, so the more things change the more they remain the same. Sorta.