This is one of the few last posts of the year as I take a bit of a break and as has become tradition, here are my predictions for the coming year and a review from what I said last year. So here we go.
- Social Systems
I think that this coming year we are going to see a more rounded implementation of social networking and we’ll find it in more than one part of our lives. Facebook’s Beacon program showed where the line was as they assumed that personal information actually was their’s to do with totally as they pleased. Granted, it’s in the fine print when you sign up, but between the range of privacy laws and common sense, one would assume that Facebook and others would not take their most valuable resource for granted. That resource is of course the mass of volunteered metadata that users attach to their user name. If this isn’t respected, people are going to stop providing it. Many people already have. People will hopefully also start asking real questions about what apps do with your personal data, what happens to that data when you remove an app and what is with being able to receive messages from apps that you haven’t installed and then find that there are messages waiting for you there (eg. Superwall).
I think there is also going to be a buyout of some of the smaller networks, or those networks will simply wither because there isn’t a critical mass of individuals subscribed. My guess is that Google, MS, Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace will suck up other systems like Ning and Spock. Since MS and FB already have a relationship, I think this will get closer, or FB will be a common ground where the search engines battle for advertising. Fox owning MySpace certainly helps it stick around, so I don’t have an idea how the search engines will approach it, or if MySpace will even look to the engines for clicks.
Speaking of search, social searching systems will likely become much more common. Del.icio.us and other social content sharing systems will likely become more important as the companies that want to take your money online start looking for ways to ensure their add dollars hit the eyes of only those who have a hope of caring about their product.
- Change in LMSI think the LMSes that are out there right now will all start to be questioned. Blackboard will have to move faster to keep up with things like social networking, and it won’t be good enough to create their own networks. Blackboard will have be able to connect into Facebook or other systems if it wants to stay relevant with students. This also means that educational admin will have to learn to let go of the idea that they can/have to control all their related data all of the time.Moodle has a leg up in that it can link into Open Social, but it needs to get it’s Open Source attitude cleaned up. It should only have features enabled that are ready to go completely out of the box for the main download. It’s fine for there to be soft spots for institutions that can afford to tweak, but I don’t know how many of those there are out there. Back to the social network thing, this could be what takes Moodle over the top in terms of adoption.
There is also going to be a change in what people will consider to be vital as part of a PLE. So with that, I think there is also going to be a boom in the use of Wikis and other collaborative software.
- Technology integration failingJust as there has been a massive push to integrate technology into the K-12 curriculum, it seems that isn’t going to work out as politicians have planned. There are an enormous number of kids coming up into the university system who are not actually computer literate – in being able to use the computer as a whole – but only application literate (Word, PPT, IE/FF). Seeing this, there should be an examination of what really needs to be taught as computer skills. Are we trying to teach everything overly generally?
- Fractionation of technology useJust as all the advances in technology have made it easier to get all manner of content created, creating this content well however has become a challenge as the tools don’t just make things magically. It takes some skill, effort and patience, something that many people aren’t willing to invest. So this is going to fractionate the use of technology again as to make really good content, the tools are getting ever more complicated.
- HD WarsIn the theme of the fractionation of technology, the HD wars are going to leave heaping mounds of spent coin and plastic. People are not willing to go through the VHS/Beta thing again. If there is going to be a winner, I’ll predict it’s going to be Blu-Ray. PS3 will slowly come down in price to be only slightly higher than a stand alone player, at which point, the second wave of early adopters will start to pick it up as a player first and a console second. Without a “vector”, I don’t think HD DVD will have as good a chance. I also know that combo discs are not going to get anywhere as it’s going to cost whoever makes them a fortune just to get both logos on one disc (assuming that is even allowed by the legal teams).
- Net neutralityThis is certainly going to heat up as there are more ways than ever to get online and the ability to “control the pipes” is such an abhorrent idea to users that many would likely rebel. But wait, the free bastion that is the ‘net is no longer free and all the democratization that came from blogging and other technologies in terms of being able to put forward your own voice will be in jeopardy if ISPs and the like are allowed to shape traffic and modify content “in stream”. Well then, encrypt the data you say? Well they will just block that as well? What about the banks? Well, I think that is where the ISPs will be forced to show their hand. I doubt that many banks would be willing to lose their online banking services because customers can’t use encrypted connections. Of course, this is just an idea and I have no idea if it is actually something that would ever come to pass should the neutrality of the net be compromised.
- BloggingOn the topic of free speech, I think we’ll certainly see blogs in the news again with another US election, an election in Alberta and perhaps nationally as well. But I think there will be a shift in the type of blogs that are considered relevant. Everyone has a blog now because they are cool, so there are going to be many to choose from. The trick will be to find the wheat. This will be an exercise that will also reveal any neutrality issues as there will be rather obvious changes to a message if traffic is being shaped or content is being modified. Now, on the NN side, it might end up just being traffic, but the free nature of commenting and participation online will keep showing why it is important to keep all data equal.
- Canadian mobility ratesIt’s a pipe dream, but between the stronger dollar and the spectrum auction, I can certainly see there being significant changes to the wireless landscape in Canada. Not anything that will make it cost effective to use in schools (darn last year), but enough to make mobile computing something that is “average joe” stuff.
- Casual gaming and alternative interface explosionThe Wii is still selling out, that tells you something. People are getting the new interface and I think that these alternative interface games are just going to take off and with them, the casual game – the ones that are on phones and other ultra portable devices. We’ve already seen this happen, but I think it’s going to move into the public eye more this year and not just in the eyes of teens and phone geeks. – and yes, I finally have a Wii and GH3
Now from last year, what happened in terms of what I said?
- The Wii is the top console
- Living room computing is getting closer (the Apple TV almost ran and Media Center with the PS3 are starts again)
- Mobile computing has boomed, but not ultramobile. The price of laptops has crashed and with the arrival of the XO, they are at commodity prices.
- There was a boom in web based apps
- Dirt cheap cell service did not arrive
- The spec race seems to have died in computers at least – you don’t hear the processor specs as loudly in ads anymore, noe it’s all about how big the hard drive is. Cameras are still having a bit of a race, but not in MP as much as color depth.
- The semantic web hasn’t arrived, but there is some inkling of it with the creation of mountains of metadata with the boom of social networking.
That’s all for this year deep post wise. The last post of the year will be the picture of the week