The Black Box, will it happen; is it needed?


The Black Box was touted as a replacement for all the information/entertainment/computational devices that we now have. Whenever CES (the big electronics show in Vegas) rolls around people start discussing it again. The idea is not just for our living rooms where racks of equipment and tangles of wire can be common. The Black Box is the universal device that was supposed replace all that hardware. It now applies to our pockets. I carry a phone and an itouch. I know people who carry Blackberries along with ipods. Yes, the smart phone probably will be my next purchase, but I can’t make up my mind. And then there are the telecomm plans. I was surprised when the house we rented in Hawaii for my daughter’s wedding had no cell service (mountains were the excuse) and only intermittent cable and internet. The wired phone worked fine but we could not make long distance calls. My son-in-law was able to provide Google Voice so some work did get done without walking down the hill to the highway and making calls while sitting on the pedestrian bridge.

Where is this going? For the living room there is talk of using the new TVs as part of the computation system and, of course, as the gaming system.   See CNN story about Boxee Box which won the CES “Last Gadget Standing” award.  This makes sense but I still see struggles with too many remotes and consoles. Some progress has been made, e.g., headphone connections seem to be standardized and the new powermat will make cellphone chargers obsolete (or at least I hope so).

The smart phones may be the new wave but now I see that hubs are available and there is still the dreaded monthly plan.

So I am ambivalent about what to purchase. I don’t need a TV, radio, or CD player as long as I have my computer and its connection. But there will always be mountains.

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