Yahoo had an article about how large capacity USB drives might be redefining the concept of the personal computer. With a gigabyte of flash memory now available for less than $100, these inexpensive digital storehouses can hold not just important data but also entire software programs. The information they carry can be encrypted and accessed speedily.
From the article: "When you check into an average hotel room and find -- alongside the alarm clock, hair dryer and DVD player that once were bring-your-own items but now are as standard as the furniture -- a cheap PC for guests to plug into, as our truly personal computing environment travels with us."
I experienced this firsthand duting my trip. I carried a 2 Gigayte USB GlashDrive with me and was able to have access to all the data I needed while on the road. I was no longer at the mercy of the machine that happens to be nearby and everything I needed, even down to the appearance of my PC's desktop — was able to be used on other computers. It's great no longer being tethered.
Once could also include their favorite apps and possibily the OS can be included on the USB key (like Knoppix) Just think, one could also put their whole life in an encrypted, platform-independent USB key. Even have an identidy kit with your Social Security and credit card numbers, passwords, birth certificates, marriage license, important photos and tax returns, and save it all on a USB flash drive. Of course encryption is of utmost importance.
I envision seeing these little devices containing sample content that you could plug into digital instruments - like a wind controller, MIDI guitar, MIDI violin, etc. - a truly plug and play musical experience.
Security issues aside -- I see libraries of sound moving to flash easily.
In part (in a thread on the new Macs 16 Gig RAM) I say:
"... acceptance of a computer in a home is more important than a family piano. The intergration of sound-making into the general computer (virtual) instrument has caught (many) behind the curve. Just look at the now archaic midi standard and its limitations.
"...remember that the advances in computer music technology came only after work in many other fields of computer use presented new programming tools to crafty and adaptable musician types and programmers in our field. (We steal good!)
"What I find of interest is we have not (other than a few new recorders) really started looking at the virtual storage devices as part of the central (computer) unit's (music) operations.
"Rather than USB (just as) Dongles, in the future whole libraries will be encapsulated in similar devices which can be plugged into a special "organ" in back of our main units -- which (by then) may be sporting a whole lot of specialized ram at about a terabyte to handle all the (small in physical size but large in memory) virtual capsules plugged in.
"These libraries will not stored on archaic disc technologies that will be considered as quaint as a family recorder consortium practicing in the parlor on Sundays. We might be able to carry the whole Vienna (Or GPOA & Jazz) on a keychain in our pocket."
Gary, are you a futurist or what???? It seems to me you are looking ahead to tying solid state memory into music -- and should be watching for patent opportunities starting yesterday!!!