There are, in this computing system, four basic computer designs (five if you include servers). I will go over them, starting with the simplest and working my way up.
The first computer type is what I call an "ultra-thin." This computer would consist of the motherboard (with everything built on), and the mini-DVD reader. This allows only Internet browsing or word processing, etc, without the possibility of saving to a wallet (although you could conceivably load things to an FTP server if the need arose). The computer I envision in this class would be an LCD screen with everything attached to the back. It's thickness would probably be around two inches, and it would have around a two gigahertz processor, two gigabytes of ram, built in sound and speakers, and wireless ethernet, keyboard and mouse (with rechargeable batteries). This computer would not be that common, but might be seen in libraries, cyber-cafe's, schools, and prisons.
One interesting thing about this computer is that you could have just the "core" (processor, motherboard and reader) as a small box, which could be screwed to walls or under desks, and then just hook up a USB compact flash reader. This way it could be integrated with desks and other furniture.
The next type of computer is called "thin." This is a computer just like the previous, except with the addition of one or two compact flash readers. You might need two to transfer files between two wallets. In this case the first one inserted would be "dominant," which is to say, it's configuration would be loaded, while the second one would be "subservient." I believe that this computer would be the most common, since is would be fairly inexpensive and yet still have full functionality.
"Normal" is the simple name of this type. It comes with everything the previous two had, except it could have a CD bruner/DVD-rom and a backup hard drive as well. This type, however, I don't think would be that common, because my goal would be to have several "thin" stations dispersed in a SOHO environment or home, and just have one server to back up all the wallets to.
The last type is a "power user" computer. This would have everything the previous model has, except for it would also have a beefed up graphics card and a cartridge mini-DVD player. What I mean by that is, for the gamers the computer would basically become a console, with a console emulator and a mini-DVD encased in a cartridge (quite similar to Sony's mini-disc). This would also help prevent piracy (although a way will always be found to get around any measures).
The server also has several special purposes. It would be a gateway, firewall, DHCP and print server, while also backing up memory cards. It would also have a few other uses which are not so common. The one would be that it automatically downloads updates for the computers to install and the next reboot, and with very expensive proprietary software (Dentrix is the first example which comes to mind), it would house the program, which would be loaded up into the computers when it was wanted, and that would also handle licensing, by having only x number of people signed on at any time.
There would also be several sub types, of course, such as a media computer, for those who are addicted to MP3s (or ogg vorbis). But generally the computers would fit into one of the following categories.
Appendix C: Security
Security is a pretty big risk with this system. Imagine getting mugged for your computer wallet. It could potentially be more damaging than having your actual physical wallet taken. That is why there are some drastic security measures which must be taken.
The first is, of course, encoding. The difficulty of the algorithm to break would depend on what you set as your security level. This could require anything from an eight character password to a twenty character password, but there is no perfect encryptian.
That is why we have a second level of security. This is that, once a card is put in a computer, you have thirty seconds to input the password or the entire card is erased. This, obviously, would really only work if the card was put in a machine running the OS which it was designed for.
There are several obstacles to mount, but the measures I stated will deter most criminals. There are a few other ideas which I've had, but I would want to talk them over with an expert before going and embarrasing myself.
Appendix D: The Franchise System
My franchise system takes it's cue from the fast food industry, which is obviously full of franchises. The way it works is that for every x number of people (say, 50 000) in an area we place a shop, with it's own name, but a little sign saying "Official Edge Shop" or something like that. These stores are given excellent deals on hardware and software, and they keep all the profits. In return, they must deal with all the service inside their area (although after warranty is out they can charge whatever they want, within reason). The way a person would get a shop is by simply paying a one time fee at the opening.
There is a catch, however, and that is that they are subject to periodic reviews by "roving reviewers," who may stay in town for several days or a week and check on all the shops (although they don't have to tell them they are reviewing them, they can just show up and ask for service, to see responses to various problems). Also, there would be a form you could fill out on our website reviewing the shop which you go to for service, which would hopefully keep the shops honest. If a shop was found lacking we would simply pull our name and deals from them.
The obvious benefit from this is that people get a personal touch, someone they can go to with a problem who will help them. This reflects well on the company as a whole, plus there could be a form on everyone's wallet in the system folder with details of visits, so that if a person is out of town they can still stop in at a shop and have their history known.
The disadvantages are that it makes a middle man, who would inflate prices, but they could choose to buy direct and just have to settle for phone service. The hope, however, is that with this system service will rarely be needed.
About the Author:
Joshua Boyles is 18 years old, but has quite some computer experience and he lives in Oregon, USA.