Our fellow ZDNet blogger Dana Blankenhorn picked up on this unusual story about XML Smell, and how it may finally bring some predictions from long ago to reality. The concept of "smellavision," along with a similar concept for movie theaters always seemed like one of those intriguing applications that the Jetsons and other people of the future would enjoy.
Most predictions about the future do tend to stink, but many things are coming to pass as well. Picture phones, for example, were always something that were somewhere off in the future, but are now an everyday reality, thanks to cellphone advances and Webcams.
We do have a space station, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey, albiet much more cramped and sparsely occupied than the grand orbiting hotel envisioned in the movie.
What about the flying cars? There are some interesting innovations happening with hovercraft, which may turn into the first manifestations of mass-produced "flying cars" (even if they do only go a foot above the ground). Can hoverboards (Back to the Future, Part II) be far behind?
It seems the one area that most futurists got it wrong was computing. Most views of future are a vision of huge, often menacing, Hal-like centralized supercomputers keeping all things connected. (Think 2001, and Colossus: The Forbin Project).
I don't think anybody foresaw saw the loose -- and highly democratic -- confederation of systems of all sizes that make up our emerging world of Web services. Stay tuned, and be ready for a whiff of new computing reality.