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03 May 2006
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The Furniture Phase

I fear that I have been wrong.  Many years ago I derived a "law" from observation.  This law of nature is stated simply:  No matter how expensive, complicated, useful, impressive, or downright spectacular a technological product may be, it will soon be obsolete and find its "highest and best use" as furniture.

Examples:

  • Old teevee sets can be used to support flowers, knicknacks, and, of course exploding penguins.  With a modest effort they can be turned into cabinets or even aquaria.

  • I still use a CRT monitor in certain applications because it can support equipment on top of it - try that with an LCD flat screen.

  • Not so long ago, a 10Megabyte (5 fixed, 5 removable in a cartridge) "Winchester" disk drive was the standard in corporate data processing.  The HP drive I still have has a lovely wooden top and to this day serves as a fine table.

Alas, with the speed of light as a limitation, for our gadgetry to get faster, it must also become smaller.  Many of today's prized items game consoles, radios might be made to serve as bookends.  (Books?)

But when we start using eyeglass displays that paint information directly on the retina or when a single disk drive can store all the accumulated knowledge of the Krell, our reality will become so virtual that it will be necessary to deliberately make such things as tables and cabinets out of raw materials such as trees.  If, of course, we still need furniture.   

2006
Richard Factor