OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Why are so many sci-fi's set set close to now, when the technology clearly won't exist?

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 12:12
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:21 AM

CHRISISALL


2001: a Space Odyssey...okay, so where's our commercial space travel?

Back To The Future 2 happens in part in 2015, Blade Runner in 2019....is that when we'll have flying cars ya think??

I, Robot is in in less than 20 years also- will there be robots for all then?

Demolition Man has freezers for criminals in 1997...

The Jupiter 2 lifted off in 1997, according to Lost In Space...

UFO had us in space with a fully-functioning Moonbase in 1980, Space 1999 had us one in, well, 1999...

What's up wit dat???

Picky Chrisisall


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:29 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Well when these things were written, that was the future. Joss was smart to jump ahead several centuries rather than just a few decades, doncha think?


I am selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes. I am out of control. And sometimes I'm a little hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:38 AM

BLUEBOMBER


I think that, back when those movies/shows came out back in the 50s, 60s, and even the 80s, the whole "new millenium" idea still represented the fantastic, the amazing, and the unknown. They didn't really have a realistic grasp on how much technology would actually improve. So when 2000 arrived and the flying saucers didn't land and the computers didn't rise up and revolt, we were disappointed.

But who knows? Maybe they will develop flying cars or transporter technology within the next 20 or thirty years. There's still hope. I don't have any idea if we'll be able to traipse (sp?) around the galaxy at ludricrous speeds when we get to the 28th century like in SW or Trek. But it's fun to dream.

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:45 AM

GORRAMGROUPIE


I've read lots of stories by Asimov, Heinlein, and such where we had colonized the solar system in the early 80's, and by 2100 had spread to space. I chuckle when I read such stories, but then kick the cat when I realize that IT. SHOULD. BE. HERE. NOW!
I'll be in my bunk, sobbing.



We sometimes catch a window
A glimpse of what's beyond
Was it just imagination
Stringing us along?
More things than are dreamed about
Unseen and unexplained

I'm not worthy!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:46 AM

PDCHARLES

What happened? He see your face?


Agree with BB.
Also, capturing the audience with the whole "near future" thing. Attaching them on a personal level where maybe their kids and grandkids could experince such a thing. Whether it be frightnening or wondrous.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:00 AM

TPAGE


I think it is important to remember that some of these things do come true. Here is an article from a paper at the turn of the century (not our turn, the one before World War I). You'll see many of these things have been surpassed or at least achieved while others leave us scratching our heads at what these people were thinking.


(To actually read it visit this' style='max-width:600px; width: expression(this.width > 600 ? 600: true);'> site).

And don't forget these were their top-thinkers of the day! These are just things people see happening... and then they don't. (For example: the cure for cancer has only been $x or x years away from discovery for how long now?)

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

And if someday on some little piss-ant moon/My hand is a little too slow, or my aim a little bit off/At least I’ll go down fighting, not lying abed surrounded by quacks - "Sir Warrick" by Geezer

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:09 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


I suppose with the moon landings, people thought the leap so vast that the notion of flying cars and JET PACKS!!!! was somewhat just around the corner, and no longer the stuff of fantasy. I must admit when you think of all the space technology there is and has been, you would have thought a local JETPACK!!! store to be but an everyday thing in 2007!!!! Yet where the hell are they?!!!!!

Anyway I guess Hollywood felt they were reflecting a near certain futuristic vision, with these things.

Do you remember the Star Wars trump cards? Where some of the space ships were predicted on the cards to be 'fully operational' in the early part of the 21st Century. I think the Death Star was predicted to be around 2050..? If I recall, although it was a long time ago that I played that.

Talking of iRobot I always loved their vision of the future because it wasn't all out 'New'. There were old buildings next to new futursitic ones, rather than a complete 'new' looking city, which is what often occurs with films set in the future. As for Robots actually being apart of a household like Microwaves, or Fridges (refrigerators) who knows... Twenty years is a short space of time for technology, but it has a tendancy to veer elsewhere, away from the fun!





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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:12 AM

TPAGE


About the Star Wars trump cards: don't forget Star Wars occurred a long, long time ago...

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

And if someday on some little piss-ant moon/My hand is a little too slow, or my aim a little bit off/At least I’ll go down fighting, not lying abed surrounded by quacks - "Sir Warrick" by Geezer

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:47 AM

PACHELBEL


Quote:

Originally posted by TPage:
About the Star Wars trump cards: don't forget Star Wars occurred a long, long time ago...



And in a galaxy far away so they'd be more advanced anyhow.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:48 AM

PACHELBEL


Quote:

Originally posted by BlueBomber:
I think that, back when those movies/shows came out back in the 50s, 60s, and even the 80s, the whole "new millenium" idea still represented the fantastic, the amazing, and the unknown. They didn't really have a realistic grasp on how much technology would actually improve. So when 2000 arrived and the flying saucers didn't land and the computers didn't rise up and revolt, we were disappointed.

But who knows? Maybe they will develop flying cars or transporter technology within the next 20 or thirty years. There's still hope. I don't have any idea if we'll be able to traipse (sp?) around the galaxy at ludricrous speeds when we get to the 28th century like in SW or Trek. But it's fun to dream.

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."



I don't believe ludicrous speed was achieved until Space Balls!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:02 AM

CHRISISALL


...Which is why I like Trek; it's not supposed to be 'right around the corner'...

And in my mind Blade Runner takes place in 2119 Chrisisall

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:26 AM

RALLEM


Do you mean that we don't have all those things?

http://www.scienceagogo.com/

According to this site we probably have a bussard fusion reactor withing ten years, and I read somewhere that a man with a patent for a flying car has his first production flying car out this year, so some of these sci-fi stories weren't too far off. I think the primary differences between the technology level of science fiction and reality is that in the 1950s and 60s the profit potential for thspace travel was obvious and the risks were easy to ignore, but in reality, while the profits for space exlploration can be pretty substantial, the risks are too substantial at this time.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:14 PM

OPTIMUS1998


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
...Which is why I like Trek; it's not supposed to be 'right around the corner'...

And in my mind Blade Runner takes place in 2119 Chrisisall



No... not right around the corner AT ALL!!
"First Contact" (the movie and the event)was in like 2063( 55 years and change)
which puts "Enterpise" ( capt. Archer et al.) 100 years later, 2160's
then add about 70 years for TOS : approx 2233
and TNG,DS9, VOY approx another 70 years, or roughly 2303(begining of TNG)
so granted the bulk of the trek that we know is in the 24th century, but, according to them we have a (1) functional warp drive in only 55 years from now!(and a global thermonuclear war between now and then)

Also, in the ORIGINAL story line (late 60's)
Kahn and his fellow genetically engineered supermen had taken over the earth by the early 1990's, and had been launched in to space in suspended animation on board the Botany Bay in around 1997.

Make Cartoons, Not War
- Sue Blu
Well played, Clerks...
- Leonardo Leonardo(Clerks Cartoon)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:18 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by optimus1998:
according to them we have a (1) functional warp drive in only 55 years from now!(and a global thermonuclear war between now and then)

Also, in the ORIGINAL story line (late 60's)
Kahn and his fellow genetically engineered supermen had taken over the earth by the early 1990's, and had been launched in to space in suspended animation on board the Botany Bay in around 1997.



I am undone.

Only Firefly holds Chrisisall

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:56 PM

CYBERSNARK


Actually, the Eugenics Wars did happen. It was only thanks to Gary Seven that most of the world remains ignorant. Things won't be declassified until WWIII.

http://www.amazon.com/Eugenics-Wars-Vol-Noonien-Singh/dp/0671021273 The Eugenics Wars, Volume 1
http://www.amazon.com/Eugenics-Wars-Vol-Noonien-Singh/dp/0743406443 The Eugenics Wars, Volume 2
http://www.amazon.com/Reign-Hell-Exile-Noonien-Singh/dp/0743457129 To Reign in Hell

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:13 PM

CHRISISALL


Thanks for the links CS! I did not know....

Must get more books Chrisisall

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:18 PM

CITIZEN


Of course back when 2001 came out, space travel was really taking off, fuelled by the cold war. Man hadn't landed on the Moon yet, but we were about to, and within a decade of setting out to do so. Back then a man flight to Jupiter in the year 2001 would have seemed a reasonable explanation. It failed to take into account the swing from interplanetary flight to exploring low earth orbit, and the thawing of the cold war, not to mention the national trauma in America represented by the Challenger disaster.

Remember that with man's return in Clarke's sequel 2010, Russia is still America's cold war adversary, and a major super power. Who knows, if there hadn't been major sociological, political and technological shifts after the moon landings, perhaps we would have gone to Jupiter by now?

If we'd really put resources into it, there's no reason we wouldn't have a base on the Moon right now, it's not really beyond present day technology.

I'm more worried that the trend seems to more closely mirror that speculated by the book "The Self-Destruction Syndrome".



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:19 PM

REGINAROADIE


Yeah, predicting the future is a tough thing to try to predict. On the BACK TO THE FUTURE 2 DVD, Robert Zemekis said that he never really wanted to go into the future with the franchise, because he himself wasn't a fan of "glimpses into the future" because you could never truly predict it and that by the time you reach the dates, you're inevitably let down. So with the future part of BTTF2, they intentionally made it as outlandish as possible, although if you think about it, some of the things they have predicted I imagine will be commonplace by 2015. Maybe not hover technology or hydrating pizzas, but the big tv screen that you can watch multiple channels on will most likely be here in 8 years. And the interface set up where you can do business and be fired in your living room I think is being done already, if not widespread. And one little visual gag has already happened ten years ago. When the DeLorean lands in the alley, you see all these bundles of laserdiscs as garbage. By 2015, it'll probably be Blu-ray and HD discs.

And also, I agree that maybe having a moon base wouldn't be too far fetched. In that recent Tom Hanks IMAX moon doc, they say that the computers they used to guide the Apollo space missions had as much information space as a pocket calculator today. I think that if a calculator can get us to the moon, then all the supercomputers that NASA and the NASA-like organizations put together can definitely get us to Mars and beyond. I mean, you hear about flights up to the ISS all the time, and Richard Branson's already taking reservations for commercial flights into space, even if it's only just to go into orbit.

But in general, you never really know how the future's going to go. I mean, if you compare 2007 to 1907, the people in 1907 would have their minds blown at what the world is like now. So maybe in 2107, the stuff we have today will be nothing compared to what the people in 2107 will be used too. And with technology advancing so much in the last 20 or 30 years or so, maybe we will live long enough to see this kind of stuff. Heck, if the Mayan's and my friend is right, we might be seeing a big change on Dec 23rd, 2012.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:57 PM

RALLEM


I was just talking to my Mom who lived in Germany during World War 2 and in her town there were no automobiles and work was done by horse. She mentioned that all of the developments and to you and I it may seem like technology is lagging, but to my Mom we are in those sci fi settings we all claim were wrong. I just love it when my mother's microwave oven speaks to her. Just like out of the Jetsons.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 2:06 PM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


We can't even drive cars on the ground w/ out smashing into things all over the place, the powers that be came to realize that allowing us in flying cars would be a nightmare.

"Hillary tried to get a million dollars for the Woodstock museum. I understand it was a major cultural and pharmaceutical event. I couldn't attend. I was tied up at the time." - John McCain

It is not those who use the term "Islamo-Fascism" who are sullying the name of Islam; it is the Islamo-Fascists. - Dennis Prager

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 2:13 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by AURaptor:
We can't even drive cars on the ground w/ out smashing into things all over the place, the powers that be came to realize that allowing us in flying cars would be a nightmare.


A very good point, AU.

AGHHHHHH! that mountain wasn't there a minute ago Chrisisall

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 2:21 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Something kind of interesting to note is that very few sci-fi stories ever imagined a conversation like this. I mean, people talking through computers? Some people saw it coming, but it's not really a theme in a lot of 'future' settings. When you think about it, it's pretty amazing, no?


I am selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes. I am out of control. And sometimes I'm a little hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 2:36 PM

VETERAN

Don't squat with your spurs on.


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
.... As for Robots actually being apart of a household like Microwaves, or Fridges (refrigerators) who knows... Twenty years is a short space of time for technology, but it has a tendancy to veer elsewhere, away from the fun!



It's already started, we've got Roombas. Also the Army had it's most successful Robot Car contest this past year...

http://www.physorg.com/news113390407.html

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 2:48 PM

MISSTRESSAHARA


Quote:

Originally posted by TPage:
I think it is important to remember that some of these things do come true. Here is an article from a paper at the turn of the century (not our turn, the one before World War I). You'll see many of these things have been surpassed or at least achieved while others leave us scratching our heads at what these people were thinking.


(To actually read it visit this' style='max-width:600px; width: expression(this.width > 600 ? 600: true);'> site).

And don't forget these were their top-thinkers of the day! These are just things people see happening... and then they don't. (For example: the cure for cancer has only been $x or x years away from discovery for how long now?)

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

And if someday on some little piss-ant moon/My hand is a little too slow, or my aim a little bit off/At least I’ll go down fighting, not lying abed surrounded by quacks - "Sir Warrick" by Geezer





I get an error when I go to that link. "Page cannot be found." Is there another way to link up? That looks like interesting reading.

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DON'T FREAK OUT

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:03 PM

CRUITHNE3753


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
Something kind of interesting to note is that very few sci-fi stories ever imagined a conversation like this. I mean, people talking through computers? Some people saw it coming, but it's not really a theme in a lot of 'future' settings. When you think about it, it's pretty amazing, no?



A Logic Named Joe, written in 1946 by Murray Leinster, pretty much had it nailed.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:48 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
And also, I agree that maybe having a moon base wouldn't be too far fetched. In that recent Tom Hanks IMAX moon doc, they say that the computers they used to guide the Apollo space missions had as much information space as a pocket calculator today. I think that if a calculator can get us to the moon, then all the supercomputers that NASA and the NASA-like organizations put together can definitely get us to Mars and beyond. I mean, you hear about flights up to the ISS all the time, and Richard Branson's already taking reservations for commercial flights into space, even if it's only just to go into orbit.

What this indicates is that computer technology isn't the limiting factor to interplanetary space flight. We've had computers advanced enough to do everything needed for a flight to Mars or beyond in a package robust enough to go into Orbit since the 70's-80's. The limiting factor is the rocketry and life support technology, and getting funding to pay for the mission and the R&D.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:55 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by AURaptor:
We can't even drive cars on the ground w/ out smashing into things all over the place, the powers that be came to realize that allowing us in flying cars would be a nightmare.

Aren't those generally called airplanes?

The problem with flying cars is that they're planes that can take off or land anywhere, with someone at the controls who hasn't had pilot training. Most people aren't cut out to be pilots, most people aren't cut out to be drivers really, but on the whole driving isn't as potentially dangerous as flying.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:29 AM

PACHELBEL


Quote:


A Logic Named Joe, written in 1946 by Murray Leinster, pretty much had it nailed.



Is this the whole story?

http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200506/0743499107___2.htm

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:21 AM

IMNOTHERE


Take it from me - 2001 seemed like ages and ages away back in the 1970s but the time kinda flew - heck, I still haven't got around to starting that diet, let alone colonizing the solar system

Of course, a lot of 20th century SF also assumed some variant of World War 3 happening in the late 20th century. WW 1 and 2 may have been horrible but they also led to massive social change and technological advances. The only thing that's really kept up the pace of the first half of the 20th century has been electronics.

Also, I think it took a while to penetrate that the moon landings, while magnificent, were an unsustainable kludge who's main purpose was to stave off massive post-war unemployment in the aerospace industry.

Meanwhile, your typical fictional-1990s computer from the 70s is a completely laughable aggregation of flashing lights, ping-pong tape drives and mechanical printers. Even the ones that had magical voice recognition can't achieve it without making teletype sounds.

One interesting example of getting it wrong is Asimov's robots - part of his rationale for building humanoid robots was that the brains would be very expensive. Since (say) a farmer or factory owner would only be able to afford one or two, they had to be in a body that could operate all the necessary machinery*. Now, today, we can't yet build anything approaching an Asimov robot but we can give a lathe or a tractor enough intelligence to operate its self for a few hundred bucks. (Even better, we can get some humans in a developing country to operate the machines for even less, but that's another story)... and if you look at our current attempts at androids is a fairly safe bet that the mechanical body cost a lot more to build than the computer controlling it.

(* If I were a true nerd I'd tell you which story this was stated in)





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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:08 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Once all that so-called "future" technology crashed in Roswell in 1945, it was known to be possible. Nobody knew how much or for how long the government would keep it hidden - from us or from "the commies".

Also, many of these are portrayed as parables, but when not set in the past, parables are called "scifi". These parables intend for us to question what could be if we allow technology to advance, thereby inhibiting the advancement of technology which would then prove to be present in the near future that the story predicts. This is the reverse of the self-fulfilling prophecy. A good example would be the Terminator series, or any other scifi paradoxes.

On the other hand, Star Trek was supposed to be centuries in the futurre, and we already have some of those gadgets.
In terms of the stiffled advancement of computer technology, nobody would have predicted that Bill Gates would have held hostage computer technology and reversed it's advancement, nor how Apple has managed to withold it's advancements. It would have been illogical for past story writers to think that a geek like Gates would have revolted on the cool progress of computer advancement in favor of the business decisions of property theft, racketeering, extortion, etc just for pure greed.

Many people don't even remember that the IBM PSII Personal Computer technology in 1986 was far more advanced than the computers we use today. Gates made sure IBM didn't make those profitable.

More migth not recall that it took us 7 years from 1962 to get to the moon in 1969, yet we've not done much since then - the technology has been available, but when the U.S. elected Carter, America no longer could fund those programs until Reaganomics brought back the economy, which was then wasted from 93-01. There was no logical reason we would not be in space now, so it was predicted as such.
Recall that there is not a single car made today that has fewer miles of wiring than was in the first Apollo mission landing on the Moon in 1969. Were that technology applieed to space as much as autos, we'd be flying up there.

Remember that Orwell's 1984 was futuristic, yet not too far off course.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:13 PM

TPAGE


The link never shows up right but you can easily search the title of the article in google. First site that pops up.

Or for a text version try here: http://www.yorktownhistory.org/homepages/1900_predictions.htm

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

And if someday on some little piss-ant moon/My hand is a little too slow, or my aim a little bit off/At least I’ll go down fighting, not lying abed surrounded by quacks - "Sir Warrick" by Geezer

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:02 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Many people don't even remember that the IBM PSII Personal Computer technology in 1986 was far more advanced than the computers we use today. Gates made sure IBM didn't make those profitable.

IBM made sure they weren't profitable, the same way Apple killed their own products. The closed proprietary hardware standard both companies pursued made their units harder to maintain, and more costly to buy. I'm no fan of Bill Gates, but its market forces that prevented both Apple and IBM from getting the strangle hold they wanted. I'd add that the PS2 wasn't some super advanced machine that IBM released through the goodness of their own heart, it was a machine they were hoping would bring the PC market back under their control, using an OS they co-wrote with Microsoft- OS2 (incidentally take a look at OS2-Warp, released in 1989, and see if you can see any similarities between it and Windows 95).

As for it being more advanced than modern PC's, that’s crap. It was more advanced than the original IBM PC standard released in 1981, which all modern PC systems have developed from (it’s their great great granddaddy), but it has been updated in the intervening years. All the advanced features of the PS2 were actually incorporated into the PC AT/XT standard by the time the first Pentium processors started appearing, and they've been vastly improved since.


More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:27 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


The PC At/XT could not, can not, and never will be able to incorporate all of the superior architecture of the PS2. The current versions are based upon the 1981 rudimentary architecture, and will always be the dumbed down version of what could have been.
Yes, todays PCs have greater memory, faster processors, but all hogtied by the inferior dumbed down version of Personal Computer.

Even if we assume you are correct that todays PCs include the superior technology of the PS2, it took a decade to get there, and this shows how the computer technology was stiffled and advancement reversed for at least that duration, if not to this date still. Scifi writers of the past were likely to have not known this would happen in the logical world of computer gurus.

And lawful "market forces" do not include racketeering, extortion, and property theft like Gates perfected.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:30 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
The PC At/XT could not, can not, and never will be able to incorporate all of the superior architecture of the PS2. The current versions are based upon the 1981 rudimentary architecture, and will always be the dumbed down version of what could have been.
Yes, todays PCs have greater memory, faster processors, but all hogtied by the inferior dumbed down version of Personal Computer.

Even if we assume you are correct that todays PCs include the superior technology of the PS2, it took a decade to get there, and this shows how the computer technology was stiffled and advancement reversed for at least that duration, if not to this date still.

The innovations of the IBM PS2 were: VGA graphics, MCA BUS, 72pin SIMMs, the 3.5inch Floppy Disk and the PS2 Keyboard and Mouse ports.
Taking each in turn:
VGA is well behind the current PC state of the art.
The MCA Bus is comparable to PCI, slower than PCI-X and not even in the same league as AGP or the PCI-e standards.
72 pin SIMM memory is well behind the SDRAM DIMMs used in PCs, even before DDR RAM was introduced.
I don't even bother with a 3.5 inch Floppy Disk drive in my machine any more.
Most people, including myself, use Keyboards and Mice that have USB connections.

Yeah, the IBM PS2 is more advanced than the original IBM PC, but so are current PC's. They developed from the AT/XT standard, but they are not the same thing, and don't work in the same way. They've moved on, they've incorporated the innovations of the IBM PS2, and surpassed them. The advances in modern PCs are more than 'more memory, faster CPUs', if they weren't you wouldn't get them to be much more capable than the early IBMs, because the slow system Bus and peripheral connections would be a greatly limiting bottle neck.
Quote:

And lawful "market forces" do not include racketeering, extortion, and property theft like Gates perfected.
I didn't say they did. Bill Gates didn't prevent the pickup of the IBM PS2, why would he? He had a stake in the thing, Microsoft Co-Wrote the OS with IBM. I doubt Bill Gates dodgy business practices didn't extend to harming his own business interests.

The IBM PS2 failed because it was more expensive, and less well supported than the competing systems. It was a closed standard, removing the very competition that has so far driven development. The PS2 was a rather cynical attempt at obtaining defacto control over the entire PC market, and would have ultimately stagnated development by a much greater degree than the maybe two years sticking with the AT/XT did.



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Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:58 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Born in the 50's, grew up in the 60's, I always believed we'd be living like The Jetsons sometime in my lifetime....apparently not gonna happen.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 4:05 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Many people don't even remember that the IBM PSII Personal Computer technology in 1986 was far more advanced than the computers we use today.



Uh? I suppose you *could* argue that some aspects of its OS/2 operating system were unmatched until the launch of WIndows XP (which finally saw the back of DOS) and that the MCA bus wasn't really bettered until PCI came out - but both of those are now history.

The main problem is that IBM came late to the already booming PC market and used its might and reputation to flog the original IBM PC: a mediocre pseudo-16-bit take on the well established CP/M business PC , not even designed by IBM, that would have gone unremarked if it hadn't had those magic 3 letters on the front. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy that the IBM PC would take over the market - as the saying went "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM".

Unfortunately, software-wise, the IBM PC was no more a "standard" than CP/M. Just like CP/M, anything other than basic scrolling text output and disc reading/writing required direct access to the hardware and/or the proprietary BIOS software. However, in the CP/M world, software writers knew this and made their software portable so that it could easily be "patched" to work on different systems (anybody else here old enough to remember "patching" Wordstar with your terminal control codes?) - once IBM came to dominance, this practice stopped and more and more new software would only work on the IBM PC. The first PC cloners had to mimic the hardware and BIOS so that their machines could run standard software - and had to fight IBM in the courts.

Consequently, we ended up with millions of corporate users of software that was irrevocably tied to the specific architecture of the IBM PC, and any attempt to introduce new, innovative systems was hamstrung by the need for everything to be backward compatible. Plus, generic PC hardware enjoyed such economies of scale that using anything else seemed (relatively) absurdly expensive - its usually much cheaper to by a hugely over-specified standard PC than something tailored to the job in hand.

Apple have only been able to innovate as much as they have because they don't have the huge, inertia-ridden corporate sector to support. Consequently, they've been able to completely change architecture and OS twice (6502-> 68000->PPC->Intel; Apple II->MacOS->MacOSX/Unix). Spreadsheets, DTP, laser printers, Photo editing, video editing, local area networking, graphical user interfaces, small-form-factor computers, the modern laptop layout, digital music players, the USB bus were all popularised by Apple or on Apple systems, even if they weren't actually invented by Apple.

Sorry if this comes as a shock to those who only know the modern revisionist history in which IBM revolutionized the PC industry by introducing the first "standard" business PC into a howling wilderness of hobbyist breadboards.









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Thursday, November 29, 2007 5:38 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by ImNotHere:
Uh? I suppose you *could* argue that some aspects of its OS/2 operating system were unmatched until the launch of WIndows XP (which finally saw the back of DOS) and that the MCA bus wasn't really bettered until PCI came out - but both of those are now history.

Actually the first Operating System to really drop the DOS Kernel was Windows 2000 (also ME, but ME should never be spoken of by anyone). Windows XP uses an updated version of the Windows 2000 Kernel.



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Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:13 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Actually the first Operating System to really drop the DOS Kernel was Windows 2000



...and NT before that. However, NT and 2000 were pitched at power users and servers and had limited games/driver support. Most regular users stuck with 95/98. I switched to NT 4 for serious work (much better) - but had to run a dual boot system with 98 for when I wanted to run, uh... graphics-intensive interactive applications :-) It was only with XP that MS really pushed everybody onto a DOS-free platform.



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Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:58 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by ImNotHere:
...and NT before that. However, NT and 2000 were pitched at power users and servers and had limited games/driver support. Most regular users stuck with 95/98. I switched to NT 4 for serious work (much better) - but had to run a dual boot system with 98 for when I wanted to run, uh... graphics-intensive interactive applications :-) It was only with XP that MS really pushed everybody onto a DOS-free platform.

True that, though I've never really thought of Windows NT 3 and 4 as parts of the Windows family like 2000 and XP (even though internally 2000 and XP are NT5 and 5.1 respectively).

I bought one of the early 1 GHz machines from AMD, which came preinstalled with ME, that had a non-DOS based Kernel, but it was unmitigated shite. I installed 2000 as soon as possible, and rarely had problems getting drivers.



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Thursday, November 29, 2007 11:53 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Trying to not veer tooooo far off, or hijack. However, computer technology advancement does not concern software. Software advancement effectively stopped with M$. Computer advnacement refers to the hardware. The software has gone in reverse.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 1:58 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Jewelstaitefan:
However, computer technology advancement does not concern software.

Well technological advancement is part software, part hardware. If you've got some new hardware miracle it doesn't mean a thing if the software doesn't support it.
Quote:

Software advancement effectively stopped with M$. Computer advnacement refers to the hardware. The software has gone in reverse.
I'm not going to defend Windows, it's not the best OS by any means, but to say it's not advanced and that software has gone backwards simply isn't true. The current versions of Windows are much more advanced than previous versions, and Windows isn't the only operating system. Sure, we haven't had a version of Windows that lives up to OS/2 Warp until 2000/XP, but we've now got versions that surpass it.

If you just don’t like Windows there are options, Mac, Linux, Solaris, QNX, BEOS etc, wait awhile and you’ll even be able to get a decent build of ReactOS. You know, a long while.



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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:29 AM

ROCKETJOCK


Sometimes authors have been known to update undershot guesstimates. David Gerrold updated his classic "When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was One" to allow for advances in computer science & AI (Under "Version 2.0", cute.) And Spider Robinson has edited and reissued his books "Mindkiller" and "Time Pressure", which concerned near-future cyberpunk scenarios originally set in the late 90's/early 2000's to move them to a bit later in the future.

As Poul Anderson pointed out, "It does not behoove a profit to be too specific with dates."

"She's tore up plenty. But she'll fly true." -- Zoë Washburn

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 7:07 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Trying to not veer tooooo far off, or hijack. However, computer technology advancement does not concern software. Software advancement effectively stopped with M$. Computer advnacement refers to the hardware. The software has gone in reverse.



You're confusing software with "software for desktop home/office PCs".

Things like mobile phone networks, GPS, Digital TV, CDs, DVDs and (not least) the Internet... all rely on a marriage of computer hardware and sophisticated software, and are areas where MS/Intel have mostly been playing catch-up.

We're rapidly getting to the point where most heavy users of high tech toys are probably running Linux on a PPC or ARM chip somewhere - not on their desktop PC, but in their TiVO, their broadband router or their network hard drive. The software in your 'phone or your digital camera is pretty sophisticated c.f. a 1980s PC. Actually, your microwave could probably give Apollo 11 a run for its money...

Back in the 80s, you needed half-inch-thick co-ax with complicated connectors and terminators (to avoid signal reflection) to get a fraction of the data transfer rates you can now enjoy with a flimsy piece of telephone wire. That's largely down to hardware/software-based digital signal processing techniques.

In fact, the only reason that modern hardware os so powerful is that designers rely on sophisticated software to help them design it and can even test it "virtually" before actually making physical hardware.




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Saturday, December 1, 2007 7:42 AM

KIRKULES


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Well technological advancement is part software, part hardware. If you've got some new hardware miracle it doesn't mean a thing if the software doesn't support it.





This is so true. They've been promising me a personal robot sense I was a kid, just as soon as the computers get fast enough and the bio mechanical hardware comes around. I really thought I'd have my robot by now, but if you'd told me years ago that I would be a able to buy an I-phone like device in 2007, I'd have said you were crazy.

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Monday, December 3, 2007 1:00 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Perhaps a couple of you are missing the concept of continuously advancing progression of technology. The top post of this thread is asking effectively why are we not yet at the point of advancement that was predicted by past scifi authors/creators.
What year was OS2/WARP released? What year was 2000/ME released? How many years difference? Do you REALLY think it should have taken that meny years to get back to the point we had already progressed to?
By definition, if you have labored to progress to a point you had already reached in the past, then at some point you MUST have reversed the progress or advancement at some point. WE're not really discussing how much progress was made in the lst 2 months or last 2 years, but instead how the overall pace of advancement in the past century has been halted in the past 2-3 decades, and in the case of PC hardware and software, reversed at various points in order to provide better profit margin for certain individuals. And I'm talking $ Profit, not prophet.
For those awed by the Gods of software, it's getting off point to mention how they don't overrule the Gods of hardware.

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Monday, December 3, 2007 2:34 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
What year was OS2/WARP released? What year was 2000/ME released? How many years difference? Do you REALLY think it should have taken that meny years to get back to the point we had already progressed to?

I think you missed the entire point. Windows isn't the only operating system on the face of the planet, Windows not being as advanced as OS2 until recently, but so what; there were other operating systems that were.

In fact most of the advanced features of OS2 had been available to Mainframe environments since the 70's.
Quote:

By definition, if you have labored to progress to a point you had already reached in the past, then at some point you MUST have reversed the progress or advancement at some point.
Not really, the wheel is reinvented quite often, its actually a natural occurrence of Capitalism.
Quote:

reversed at various points in order to provide better profit margin for certain individuals. And I'm talking $ Profit, not prophet.
You've still not shown that. I don't remember saying Windows was the most advanced OS, I do remember saying that Windows not being the most advanced doesn't mean technology hasn't advanced, and Windows isn't the be-all and end all.

And I know you want to lay the failure of the PS2 at Bills feet, but it has nothing to do with him. He had a stake in it, he would have wanted it to succeed. The PS2 failed because it was a bid by IBM to get a stranglehold of a market they didn't fully understand. The failure of the PS2 was solely to do with IBM.
Quote:

For those awed by the Gods of software, it's getting off point to mention how they don't overrule the Gods of hardware.
Well you actually bought up Hardware you know.



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Monday, December 3, 2007 11:25 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Perhaps a couple of you are missing the concept of continuously advancing progression of technology.



If you look closely at a large river, you are sure to find swirls and eddies in which some of the water flows slowly, or even backwards.

(Sorry - had a bit of a Grasshopper moment there)

In the early 80s, someone gave me a 5.25" floppy disc for my BBC Micro which (after loading for about a minute) played about 3 seconds of very grainy footage, little better than ASCII art, just recognisable as a digitised clip of the Millenium Falcon speeding away from an exploding Death Star...

Around 1990, I went to a conference where the industry were showing off jerky, postage-stamp style video running in software on Macs and Acorns (there were PCs there as well but they mostly needed special hardware to do the same thing). You mostly had to send off your tapes to get them digitised and compressed (it took hours). One firm had an "offline" editing system that let you do serious video editing on a personal computer - the quality was poor but what you got out was a "rough cut" plus an "edit decision list" which could be sent off to a professional editing suite to automatically produce a broadcast-quality version. It was jolly impressive - but you needed expensive magneto-optical disc drives (holding about 600MB) to hold the (grotty) video.

In 1993, this show called "Babylon 5" started in which all the space shots and a lot of the other special effects had been done on computer - and not the big iron used to do "Tron" but a roomful of cheap Commodore Amigas...

Around 1996 (I think) I used a $200 card for the PC that could grab video from a camcorder to disc, let you edit it freely, add titles, soundtrack etc. and squirt it back out to tape. If you started with Hi8 tape then the end result was better than VHS. Of course, crappy Windows couldn't handle files over 2MB, but those clever software writers just worked around it.

Now, any half-decent PC can play Star Wars in full-colour widescreen and comes bundled with enough software to turn your digital home movies into professional looking DVDs. Add a measly few Kbucks worth of hardware the only thing stoping you from making a better film than Star Wars* is finding enough talented people willing to work without pay for a year...

Sounds like progress to me - and none of this is entirely attributable to hardware: it takes some very clever software as well.

Sure, for much of those 20+ years the Windows/Intel PC has sucked at video and audio - so what? the innovations just happened on Apples, Amigas, Ataris and Acorns instead (and Unix, but that would spoil the aliteration) - and when they started to take off, Wintel just updated the PC to cope with them.

And the best news: despite all this progress my PC has never tried to kill me by shutting me out of the airlock. Heck, and HAL sung "Daisy, Daisy" like a bad audition for Pop Idol - a modern Mac could do that in Dolby surround, with an 80-piece orchestra and a fractally-generated techno-thrash bridge while simultaneously syncing the stargate sequence to the music.

The problem with Operating Systems is that they're only ever as successful as their applications software base - its no good producing a new cutting-edge OS if the 100,000 software titles for your old system don't run anymore. Whats starting to ease that is that hardware is now fast enough to support more portable programming (higher-level languages, virtual machines like .net and Java) or simply to emulate or virtualize the last generation (which has got Apple over at least 3 big transitions).


* Episode 1, of course - perfection can't be improved upon (can it Mr Lucas )




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Monday, December 3, 2007 11:50 AM

RALLEM


Sometimes technology gets lost too. For example in the 1970s the United States had a nuclear rocket which would take in atmosphere until that gas reached critical mass,(didn't matter which gas) and the rocket was supposed to take off and land on Mars and then return, but the Congress was scared of a nuclear accident happenng on launch so they scrapped the rocket. Sure it probably was a good thing that they didn't try a launch to Mars in the 1970s because now we know there are other dangers involved with a rocket leaving the Earth's Magnetic field which we had no idea of back then, but now that we know those dangers a rocket like I described would be great, but npobody remembers how it worked and we are unable to make it.


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Monday, December 3, 2007 12:17 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
Sometimes technology gets lost too. For example in the 1970s the United States had a nuclear rocket which would take in atmosphere until that gas reached critical mass,(didn't matter which gas) and the rocket was supposed to take off and land on Mars and then return, but the Congress was scared of a nuclear accident happenng on launch so they scrapped the rocket.

I assume you're talking about NERVA:
Quote:

From the beginning the program had a number of problems. It was very expensive. It never held much public support, owing to the growing anti-nuclear lobby in the United States in the early 1970s. There were environmental concerns and the test engines themselves never managed to produce more than 40% of their theoretical thrust, which made them far less powerful than contemporary conventional rocket engines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA





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