Atom is really, really poor at running Flash, which is what Joe Average cares of. If YouTube and web games don't work on your new netbook, and Flash banners grind your browser to a halt, that's a major problem for consumers. The anecdotal evidence I have of people purchasing netbooks, the primary decision point in getting one was the price. I haven't personally talked to a single netbook owner who was happy about the device's performance more than a week after they got it, so you can probably consider yourself to be in a minority, with a specific primary use-case that does work on the device. For most other people, netbooks just didn't perform well enough.
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The few older people I've guided through the OS are having severe usability problems, some of which are stuff which is actually done better in Windows. For example, OS X doesn't have a way to lock the Dock from accidental drags by default. I dislike the Start Bar but at least there Joe Average won't accidentally remove his apps by one misguided click'n'drag.
I'm happy to deal with these issues though. The relatives who insist on Windows without bothering about security upgrades are much harder. Maybe you could ask your mom whether she'd prefer to have to do her own support for updates and virus protection or have you help her with the mac?
scientists stimulated one nerve cell to communicate with a second cell which transmitted that signal to multiple cells within the network.
Singal up (probably down too, though that is not said). That's a start. Now let me jump.
Imagine how this would feel in your own brain. Even strengthened to noticeable level by a lump of neurons, the signal would still read "beep". Now imagine being fed information through that channel. "Beep, bip beep bip bip beep". Better start training that morse.
Now let's enhance the input by adding more bits into it and running data through a digital-to-analog converter. This is where you would slowly be able to "see colors", one at a time. Low signal, cold feeling; high signal, hot feeling. That is brainable information. You can associate different patterns of these "colors" to different ideas.
But still it's not like you could see any shapes, is it?
Now add more bytes, feed them in side-by-side. That's a feed. At this point, feel nausea. Something is feeding noise into your thoughts, something you cannot possibly comprehend.
Would take a processing system not unlike vision inside the brain to translate that feed into experiences like colors, tastes, touches, then further associate these to make shapes out of the noise.
A long way.
Worth taking, of course, as research goes, but I wouldn't toss away those external displays as of yet. Have a hunch computers won't be the same, either, when we get there.
Future research will focus on interfacing silicon chips with the human brain to control artificial limbs and develop "thinking" computers.