User Experience 2004, AmsterdamNielsenNormanGroup User Experience 2004 – Trip Report

Amsterdam, Nov 1-3, 2004

Starfire, Sun Microsystems 1994

In 1992, Bruce Tognazzini has launched a project at Sun Microsystems in an effort to both predict and guide the future of computing. It drew together the talents of more than 100 engineers, designers, futurists, and filmakers. The film was released in 1994 and portraits the year 2004. Starfire: The Directors’ Cut explores in candid detail a technological future based on industry cooperation, human-centred design, and the continued presence of bad guys.

at Internet Archive | Starfire via google

 1992’s View of 2004: What Didn’t Happen, and What’s Still to Come

Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini, talk at Main Event, Nov 3, 2004


In 1992, Tognazzini led a team at Sun Microsystems that built a video prototype of what computing life would be like in the impossibly distant future: 2004. Tog will step through the resulting film, reviewing everything from their vision of hypermedia on the Internet–a vision that came true almost overnight–to their prediction of truly high-definition displays, which is as distant today as it was then. Along the way, Tog will discuss the difficulties and rewards of video prototyping, while offering a behind-the-scenes look at the Starfire experience. Finally, he'll present predictive techniques that actually work and that you can use to determine where your industry will be in three, five, or even twelve years.

à propos

Video Visions of the Future – A Critical Review, Panel at CHI 2004 in Vienna

Some notes and highlights

Presentation of the Starfire video.

Predictions vs. Selling the Future

Limitation of Medium

  • Starfire is edited in 720 x 480 for NTSC.
  • Objects on displays must be made large for film’s audience.
  • Assume objects you see are 4x or greater than intended size

Concepts Revisited

Tog highlighted a series of concepts of the Starfire tape, and discussed the state of the art in 2004.

  • Public Communication
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Julie’s Screen Hardware
  • Julie’s Screen Content
  • Julie & Adrian’s Video Conference
  • Low-Latency Collaboration
  • ”Intelligent“ Layout Engine
  • Sun Pad
  • Casual Scanning
  • Casual Moving-Image Capture
  • Casual 3D Texture Mapping
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • System’s Awareness of Julie
  • Remote Meetings
  • Agent-based Internet Browser

The HCI concepts of Starfire are described in great detail in Tog on Software Design.