The Soul of a New Machine


Twenty-five years on, Data General is long gone, and yet here we have IBM researchers developing a "soul" for computers. The salvation accrues to users looking to move key PC essentials from machine to machine without a ton of work. The "soul" resides on a portable USB drive or mp3 player like an iPod—basically anything with storage and a USB connection, hence the name SoulPad.

Amazingly, the SoulPad creates a virtual machine environment on target machines without regard to installed operating systems or applications. All that SoulPad needs is a fast enough USB connection to emulate those functions. In other words, your computer's "soul" can go anywhere you do, which is pretty damn neat.

Bonus geek info: Yes, Linux is involved.

NEXT: Arbeit* Macht Bored

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. When does a difference engine
    become the search for truth?
    When do random electrical impulses
    form the bitter trappings
    of a soul?

  2. Shit, looks like I’m gonna be around for a while.

  3. “When do random electrical impulses form the bitter trappings of a soul?”

    Answer: when they are no longer random?

    Question: why “bitter”?

  4. Attaching a loaded word like “soul” to it may be a mistake, but this is nevertheless one of the most interesting development projects in the industry today. Can’t wait to see how it works out.

  5. What do you do about hardware that takes militant possession of its soul pad?

    Eg. William Ernest Henley and G. B. Shaw.

  6. Putting an OS, some apps, and a home directory on a USB device is pretty old news. It’s amazing what coverage they’ve gotten by calling it the machine’s “soul.”

  7. Can we give a computer the capacity for boredom?

  8. this is meh. i already use my home computer from anywhere i am via remote desktop. why do i need to carry shit around?

  9. How is this different than just a small cumputer hooked up to remote monitors?

  10. And now I can finally be brought back without all that goofy time-shifting stuff or the help of a cat named Pixel. Thanks to the dinkum engineers at IBM. By the way, has anyone seen that one-armed guy?

    Singed, Dinkum Thinkum Mycroft (Mike) Holmes.

    The thinkum known as Number 6 apologizes to the non-Heinlein geeks around here.

  11. A libertarian getting pumped over an IBM product. I hope this isn’t a trend.

  12. An unfortunate name for a cool technology. Personally, I can imagine using it alot in an educational setting where I ay be taking a class or be in the lab, but class is over or the lab is closing, and I want to go home and pick up right where I left off, without having to connect to my drive via the internet. Of course, it has nothing to do with AI at all. How serious is the project anyway? The video looks like hell.

  13. Now I know why no-one votes libertarian – all we do is complain and quote science ficton novels that have been made into mindless blockbusters.

  14. Rich-I don’t know of a movie taken from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    Also, here’s more proof that the penguin is a mighty, mighty bird.

  15. “I don’t know of a movie taken from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”

    It’s in preproduction now. Tim Minear is writing the script:

  16. But will Dan Ackroyd let them license the obvious pitch song?

    “It’s a SoooooooulPAD!” deh-dunh-duh-du-du…

  17. Number 6, sorry you had to find out; I decided about fifteen minutes into Starship Troopers that I wasn’t going to any more Heinlein adaptations.

    Although I must admit – and it is an embarassing admission – I sort of enjoyed the film version of I, Robot. Sorry.

  18. That Soulpad link crashed my browser.

    Maybe Soulpad is good for my everlasting soul, but as of now it’s just funking up my time here on Earth.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.