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Other communication-oriented applications include using the Internet to carry telephone calls, video phone, and Internet radio, three rapidly growing areas. Another application is telelearning, meaning attending 8 A.M. classes without the inconvenience of having to get out of bed first. In the long run, the use of networks to enhance human-to-human communication may prove more important than any of the others.

Our third category is entertainment, which is a huge and growing industry. The killer application here (the one that may drive all the rest) is video on demand. A decade or so hence, it may be possible to select any movie or television program ever made, in any country, and have it displayed on your screen instantly. New films may become interactive, where the user is occasionally prompted for the story direction (should Macbeth murder Duncan or just bide his time?) with alternative scenarios provided for all cases. Live television may also become interactive, with the audience participating in quiz shows, choosing among contestants, and so on.
计算机网络应用的第三类是娱乐,这是一个巨大且在不断发展的产业。这里的杀手级应用(killer application ,驱动所有其他应用的关键应用)是视频点播。今后十年左右,有可能你可以在任何一个国家,选择曾经放过的电影或电视,立即在自己的屏幕上播放。新的电影有可能发展成交互式的,用户有时可以偶尔提示一下故事的走向( Macbeth 是否该谋杀Duncan?还是等待时机?),电影为各种可能的情节提供了场景。直播电视也可能发展成交互式的,观众可以参与智力节目,在参与者中选择竞争对手,等等。

On the other hand, maybe the killer application will not be video on demand. Maybe it will be game playing. Already we have multiperson real-time simulation games, like hide-and-seek in a virtual dungeon, and flight simulators with the players on one team trying to shoot down the players on the opposing team. If games are played with goggles and three-dimensional real-time, photographic-quality moving images, we have a kind of worldwide shared virtual reality.

Our fourth category is electronic commerce in the broadest sense of the term. Home shopping is already popular and enables users to inspect the on-line catalogs of thousands of companies. Some of these catalogs will soon provide the ability to get an instant video on any product by just clicking on the product's name. After the customer buys a product electronically but cannot figure out how to use it, on-line technical support may be consulted.

Another area in which e-commerce is already happening is access to financial institutions. Many people already pay their bills, manage their bank accounts, and handle their investments electronically. This will surely grow as networks become more secure.

One area that virtually nobody foresaw is electronic flea markets (e-flea?). On-line auctions of second-hand goods have become a massive industry. Unlike traditional e-commerce, which follows the client-server model, on-line auctions are more of a peer-to-peer system, sort of consumer-to-consumer. Some of these forms of e-commerce have acquired cute little tags based on the fact that ''to'' and ''2'' are pronounced the same. The most popular ones are listed in Fig. 1-4.

No doubt the range of uses of computer networks will grow rapidly in the future, and probably in ways no one can now foresee. After all, how many people in 1990 predicted that teenagers tediously typing short text messages on mobile phones while riding buses would be an immense money maker for telephone companies in 10 years? But short message service is very profitable.

Computer networks may become hugely important to people who are geographically challenged, giving them the same access to services as people living in the middle of a big city. Telelearning may radically affect education; universities may go national or international. Telemedicine is only now starting to catch on (e.g., remote patient monitoring) but may become much more important. But the killer application may be something mundane, like using the webcam in your refrigerator to see if you have to buy milk on the way home from work.
posted on 2006-04-12 12:41 我的翻译博客 阅读(312) 评论(0)  编辑 收藏 引用 所属分类: 计算机软件