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Cringely's Predictions for 2011

Before I go on, I would like to blurt out Hello, Mr. Cringely! Welcome back!

Yes, I said goodbye to the Cringe Dude way too soon. I had no idea that he was not going to retire completely. A month or so later, a new I, Cringely appears, with irregularly posted articles about his interesting life (as opposed to the articles PBS made him place regularly about on-topic subjects). There was even a home-made Xmas card that, well, let's not go into that, okay?

Anyway, while the Cringe Dude would rather not do year-end predictions like he did in his PBS site/blog, his raucous fans keep insisting that he do so. So this year he has done:

  1. Too much buffer + not enough thruput + TCP thwarted = A slow-as-molasses Internet.
  2. A slow-as-molasses Internet? Cable ISPs won't give a damn.
  3. That white iPhone is the Verizon iPhone.
  4. Solid-state disks will make 1.8″ and 3.5″ hard disks go away (but not 2.5″ disks).
  5. Apple wants you to use its data storage, not your own. Future Macs are thin clients hooked up to its North Carolina data fortress.
  6. Apple buys a cable network and shuts its TV services down to force its users to get their television via Apple.
  7. Facebook forks into channels due to its mammoth size and need for rich ex-customers.
  8. Yahoo! barfs … to death!
  9. Microsoft is the new IBM … just as it always wanted … and the Chief Sociopath is not leaving … and you ask, This is a prediction?.
  10. Cloud computing (all your eggs in one server basket) does a goosedrowner. Fads do that, you know.

I have grouped the predictions topically rather than in the order the Cringe Dude gave them. That is so that I can forget #10: Server-based applications and storage are for businesses, anyway.

1, 2. Now that the telephone companies have lost to Big Cable, the Internet is pretty much at its mercy, and the FCC has demonstrated that it does not give a damn. There is a technical glitch in Cringely's prediction, but otherwise the prediction seems sound.

3. Actually, the real prediction is that the iPhone will work on Verizon so well that AT&T will be humiliated.

4, 5. This has already begun, starting with the new MacBook Airs, which have no mechanical drives. I can see what Apple is doing here, and it is going to make a lot of people where I work (students, faculty and co-workers) very unhappy. My only suggestion is the one I have plastered on the wallpaper of all the Macs in the library (which nobody reads): Use your external storage (thumb drives, module cards) or use ours (iLocker).

6. I hope Apple buys out and shuts down Comcast, no matter what Cringely says. Comcast baze forpelis min el kabla televido, kaj la venĝo vere dolĉos.

7. Others have predicted that Facebook will cash out in the same way AOL cashed out. Where is AOL now? Where Facebook is going. That makes me happy: I scorn social networks, anyway.

8. I am not all that sympathetic. Yahoo! got too big for its own good way back in the 1990's, when all my attempts to get my now ex-exployer on its business listings failed, probably because its staff ignored me. Since then I have ignored Yahoo! Someone let me know where to send it flowers.

9. Cringely himself said in his book Accidental Empires that Bill Gates had aspired from the start to make Microsoft the next IBM. And his dreams have all come true. Now all the clueless ones in middle management aspire for what can never be. The ones who are quitting are those who got a clue.

Written on 11 January 2011.