The evil twin

The evil twin

As far as I can see, the only benefit of watching sci-fi shows such as Star Trek is to see where technology would be if practical considerations - such as what is physically possible - weren't holding it back.

Like the Starship Enterprise's capability to let any console be used for any task, a location-independence capability that I'm sure is built on some far-off descendant of Java.

We're a long way from that stage though, but if you ask me, we'd be a lot closer if vendors would only use a bit more common sense.

It's a little more than ironic, for example, that IBM's premier Enterprise JavaBeans effort, called Project San Francisco, is actually written mostly in Inprise's JBuilder tools for Java, especially given IBM's efforts to position its VisualAge toolset as a Java environment. I guess somebody at IBM doesn't want to eat their own dog-food.

In general, IBM's Web efforts are a bit of a mess with no less than four separate groups trying to drive the effort. Seems like it might be time for Lou Gerstner to call a little summit meeting to keep these groups from constantly reinventing each other's wheel.

Take notice

That said, it's easy to look around the industry and point at what companies should be doing, but it's harder to get them to take notice.

If anyone from Compaq is reading this, for example, I'd like to suggest that the company considers buying Micron Electronics: it's common knowledge that Compaq wants to create a direct sales strategy, but is afraid of alienating its resellers.

Of course, Compaq is still suffering from Digital indigestion, so it might have to wait for a bit, but the risk that it is running is that Micron will be worth a lot more money later on, because it has turned the corner on expenses.

If all these guys took my advice, I'm sure we'd be a lot closer to a Star Trek level of technology.

I feel like I've already done my bit: you see, the episode where a transporter accident causes two versions of Commander Riker to materialise is actually based on an incident from my own life. For the last few years I've been battling the evil twin that resulted from the accident. And yes, I really hate flying.

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