Anomaly Software (born Eternity Technologies) at it’s inception identified the following as areas that computing would influence the most over the next decade:
- Mobile Telephony, the era of the iPod was here, laptops were popular and so were the first attempts at mobile Internet.
- Automotive, early attempts in car PCs, audio players were extending their reach, low power wireless networking was coming of age.
- Outdoors, access to an early release of Gumtix hinted at promises of bringing computing to the outdoor.
- Digital Publication, the Web had well taken hold by 2004, and the need for efficiently publishing enormous volumes of archived content was evident.
During our first year we naively set out to work on a series of extremely ambitious products.
Automotive: Our aim was to re-imagine in-car entertainment. At the centre of the product design was an adapting multi-touch display, gestures as input and local storage that would sync music across sources when in range of trusted networks. My most ambitious thought was a dynamic mesh wireless network formed by the presence of enough cars on the road. Engineering a multi-touch display or mastering manufacturing were far outside our reach.
Outdoors: Mist was to be an aware and responsible sprinkler controller. Controlled via the OS X calendar and by proxy a local weather service to determine the most appropriate schedule. Mist would draw on the power of statistics over localised feedback from rain sensors. Remote control, and mesh wireless networking for larger installations were on our design agenda.
Digital publication: At around the same time the National Archives of Australia were investing heavily into their Digital Preservation Software Platform. Based on open standards it would empower their four step digital archival process. As these documents would come of age, publishing them back for public consumption would pose to be an enormous task. We set out to design an Apache Web Server module that used XSLT to transform ODF documents to validated Web pages. XML parsing was computationally expensive, making performance our key issue.
It was an extremely ambitious year for us, it nearly brought us down on our knees. It taught us how hard product really was.
We never realised any of the described products. Their shadow helped define our culture and assured us that we were capable of looking at the future.