Interview: PC pioneer Chowaniec looks back at the Amiga

Adam Chowaniec talks about the rise of the personal computer

Q: Do you foresee the industry coming out of this rut soon?

AC: In the early 1980s when the PC was created, no one predicted that it would sell tens of millions of units. It's a cyclical nature. You go through periods of huge change. Then you get periods of stability and then it happens all over again. I think [another change] is imminent. I think it's been stable since at least 2000 when the tech bubble fell apart. Now, we have this convergence of wireless computing and communications ... I think we're ready for another burst of innovation. Technology never stands still. In five year or 10 years, I think there will be new approaches to computing.

Q: So what will be the next big thing?

AC: My own view is that it's going to be merging two paradigms - computing and communications. The two tracks have never really merged. I can see over the next few years bringing the technologies together on a single platform and creating products of a very different nature... In a sense, a computer is a stand-alone box today that you plug into a communication system. And those two things are separate. When you put those two things together, all kinds of innovation can happen.

Q: What computer do you use today?

AC: I have a Dell laptop. I work purely off the laptop today.... I have a Blackberry. I'm not really a gadget kind of guy. I just like to get things done. The simpler the better.

Q: What applications do you have on your computer? Windows Vista?

AC: Nothing out of the ordinary. No, I don't [use Vista]. I don't use anything more than the standard stuff. Windows XP.

Q: What's your biggest technology pet peeve?

AC: It's the lack of user friendliness of most of the software that we use and the amount of effort it takes to maintain your machine and upgrade the software. We should be able to do that a lot easier.

Q: So it sounds like you were frustrated with software development 20 years ago, and you still are today. True?

AC: I think I am, yes, Some things don't change.

Q: What is your biggest security fear?

AC: I don't think we do security very well. The whole issue of memorising lots of different passwords and changing them - it's an area where we can do a lot better. These things need to be more secure and a whole lot more simple.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

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