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Ben Gillies
Programmer, Climber, Web Enthusiast
Programmer, Climber, Web Enthusiast

Ben's posts

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Iași, Romania
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JSConf 2013
3 June 2013
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In Geneva airport waiting for a plane. Just done this in Switzerland with +Owen John

We climbed the Grunegghorn, Finsteraarhorn, and Mönch.

The Alps rock. Airports (and altitude sickness) less so.
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So there's been a lot of talk lately about what the future of TV will look like. There have been a number of announcements from companies like Samsung, unveiling SmartTV, and Google, with their new take on GoogleTV.

Of course, the most talked about company is also the one that hasn't announced anything yet -- Apple. Consider this my take on what Apple should be announcing, and what I believe the future of TV should look like.

In the beginning, we had a single TV per household with one channel on it. As time progressed, a handful of extra channels were added, and people could watch whatever happened to be on at the time. Then came Sky, Cable, and Digital TV. And now, that's all augmented with on demand TV and video that people just watch over the internet.

At some point during all this, someone invented the remote control, and ever since then, there's been a huge industry struggle to come up with a design that didn't suck. So far, nobody's succeeded. Remote controls with a lot of buttons on them simply aren't very easy to use. Likewise, remote controls with very few buttons on them just don't do enough to be useful. Touch pad areas have a huge disconnect, and voice control isn't very accurate.

Except, that's not strictly true is it? People have invented remote controls that are intuitive and easy to use. And what's more, everyone's been using them for years without realising. It's just that people don't realise that what they're using is a remote control. And it's only within the past few years that it's started to resemble one.

Obviously what I'm talking about here is the computer. People have been watching video on the web for years. It's really quite good. Most of the major TV channels even have an online catch up service so you don't miss anything. And the thing that's really cool about it? They all have the same interface. There's a big play button, a timeline to drag to the point you'd like to skip to, a full screen button, and they already integrate the rest of the web (and other apps too) really well.

And now, with the emergence of tablets (i.e. the iPad), that video content has moved from the study into the living room. And it has that magical interface that everyone already knows how to use. Without being told.

So what does the future of TV look like?

Quite simply, the iPad already is the remote. People enjoy watching TV on large TV screens, which the iPad obviously isn't. However, with Airplay (or similar technology), pushing that program from iPad to TV is already seamless and easy. The TV won't have a standalone remote control. It won't need one. They're rubbish anyway. You want to watch something? You find it on your iPad, then you play it. When you play it, it pops up on your TV. Like Magic.

It's really simple. The best viewing experience (i.e. a physical TV), and the best way of accessing your content (i.e. an iPad). You want voice control? Well, iOS already has Siri (which is admittedly iPhone only at the moment).

So what's missing? What does Apple need to produce?

Apple already makes the Apple TV, which has Airplay support. It doesn't currently make a physical screen though. It doesn't make a screen that just turns on and automatically plays content from your iOS device. So prediction no 1:

Apple will release a TV screen that does little more than support Airplay. At least, that will be its main, default function.

After that, the only thing missing is the content. That's the one thing that needs to happen. Netflix et al have so far failed to get ALL the content. Hollywood apparently won't play ball. Apple however, have a track record of making this happen. So prediction no 2:

Apple will release an Apple TV app for iOS. This will be the iTV. It will have ALL the content available for streaming (at least, enough to reliably find almost anything you want on it).

This combination will be the future of TV. It has all the ingredients: Intuitive, easy to use, great experience, plus it's simple and deceptive enough that there will be mass outcry when it's announced that Apple hasn't really done anything.

TL;DR: The iTV will be an iOS app, plus a physical screen that does little more than support Airplay. Everyone will hate it. Right up until they buy one anyway.

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Has anyone tried integrating task.js ( with AMD yet? Seems like it would be much better/cleaner than the current define-with-deps and require-with-callback stuff we have now. e.g.

define(['foo', 'bar'], function(foo, bar) {
// code here


require('foo', function(foo) {
// code here


define(function*() {
var foo = yield require('foo'),
bar = yield require('bar');
// code here

Does anyone know when Google will be making their Google+ API read/write as opposed to read only?

I'm finding it rather annoying not being able to push updates from other services into Google+.

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