Sun Microsystem's Starfire project drew together the talents of more than 100 engineers, designers, futurists, and filmakers in an effort to both predict and guide the future of computing.
The output of this effort was threefold:
Starfire, the Movie, showing a day in the life of a knowledge worker in the year 2004.
Starfire, the Book, better known as Tog on Software Design, which not only covers the film in intimate detail, but lays out several more equally thought-provoking scenarios, even if they were not enshrined in celluloid.
Starfire, the Paper, published in the CHI Proceedings, outlining the rules we followed in attempting to build a scientifically "legitimate" video prototype, as opposed to simply confabulating a fanciful, but non-implementable, vision.
We regret that the videotape is not currently available. Check back every few months to see if it is available again. In the meantime, below, you will find links to material from the Starfire project.
Julie was looking forward to a good day until Michael O'Connor tried to deep-six her sports car project. Now, only her team, scattered around the world, can save her...
This is the film that predicted the explosive growth of the world wide web, the film that proved so controversial, it was actually supressed. Sun Microsystem's Starfire: The Directors' Cut explores in candid detail a technological future based on industry cooperation, human-centered design, and the continued presence of bad guys.
Scenes from Starfire
Whether you have seen the film and would like to explore its many subtleties in detail or whether you would like to experience the film in absentia, click for
the Starfire Script.
||"Tog takes us on an extraordinary journey as software design crawls out of the operating system of computers and on to the landscape of networks and new media content. He is a gifted hands-on designer who weaves a very compelling story." --John Sculley, former CEO, Apple Computer, Inc.
I wanted to call the book, Starfire, but my publisher insisted on incorporating my name. When people want to title books with my name, I grow weak in my argument.
The book covers a great deal of research that preceded creating the movie. You can look over th shoulder of Sun's engineers, designers, and futurists as they develop a common understanding of societal trends, then begin to envision future technology in areas as diverse as city planning, business, and education.
The "Starfire" Video Prototype Project: A Case History
Our team set out to explore both the good and bad sides of what we predicted would be an explosive growth in networked computing. Everyone at Sun was quite happy with the good side; some weren't so thrilled with the bad. But the bad side stayed in. That was part of the deal.
Have a look at the Video Prototyping paper to get a more detailed view of how we maintained our honesty, in spite of the siren song of a film medium which is far too prone to magic.