Virtually there - October 09
Iíll admit it. As a technology trend picker, Iím rubbish. In 1999 I predicted that local Ebay clone TradeMe would never catch on. In 2006 I declared blogging was just a passing fad. I bought a Sony MP3 player because I thought that iPods looked silly. Oops.
Never say die is my motto, however.So, undaunted by past failures, here is my latest crop of predictions for technology around the home.
Hasta la vista, home PC. Home PCs are ugly and they take up space. So why do you need one? After all, most families use them for little more than email, shopping, social networking and home-work. So, assuming there are no video editors, geeks or serious gamers in your house, you can chuck the PC, set up a wireless network and get everyone connected to a netbook. A netbook is a cheap little mini-laptop that will do everything that most of us will ever need and it can be stuffed in the kitchen drawer or your handbag. Prediction: for the price of a big PC, everyone in the house will have their own netbook and you will all surf together like the big happy family you are. Actually, this is already happening at our place. Sad really.
Donít throw out your bookcasesÖ yet. Have you heard about the Kindle? Itís the new e-book reader from Amazon.com and with it you can download and store the electronic versions of more than 1500 books and magazines from the hundreds of thousands of titles available at Amazonís Kindle Store. Your e-books can also be stored online at Amazon in perpetuity (unless theyíre by George Orwell, but thatís another story: see tinyurl.com/lar276 if you missed it).
I have reviewed e-book readers before and always found the experience unpleasant Ė the technology intruded on the pleasure of a good read. The Kindle, however, is surprisingly user-friendly and easy on the eye. So much improved, in fact, that (I canít believe Iím saying this) I was actually considering buying one. But Amazon wonít ship Kindles to New Zealand, nor do they plan to, so I would have to buy one on Ebay or get it shipped to an American friend, and Amazon wonít sell the e-books to a foreign credit card, so Iíd have to buy Amazon gift certificates to pay for them. The cool wireless download feature wonít work here either, so Iíve completely lost interest. Knickers to Amazon, I say. Save yourself $800 and go to Barnes & Noble, where you can download their e-book reader to your fancy phone, PC or netbook (of course) for free, with six free books thrown in. Prediction: the novelty will soon wear off. Give it five more years and then ask me again.
Induction cooktops Ė you want one. Renovations are starting soon chez moi. Again. Not much this time, just restyled indoor-outdoor living, new childrenís bathroom, laundry, boot room, breakfast nook (now thatís a retro concept, right up there with the conversation pit) and fabulous new kitchen. And, in the fabulous new kitchen, an induction cooktop. The neat thing about induction cooktops is they donít get hot. Instead, they use magnetic fields to make your steel pots heat up, resulting in extremely fast, controllable, safe and energy-efficient cooking. The technology has been around for years, but has only recently become comparable in price to gas and ceramic options. Now normally around here there is less than universal enthusiasm for renovations, but the minute him indoors saw an induction cooktop boil water in 10 seconds, he was on the phone to the architect. Prediction: next kitchen, youíll have one.
Story: Kim Rutter