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New year predictions and reflections

New year predictions and reflections

"A lot of things are going to happen when hell freezes over"- My friend Larry RobbinsThis week's topic: a retrospective. Although the IS Survival Guide hasn't been in the predictions business in the past, I have made a few predictions for 1988 myself. For example, I predicted the non-success of the NC. Pundits now discuss the NC as a 3278 replacement, not as an enterprise desktop architecture.

This year will nail it. (And no, the NC isn't a thin anything because NC code execution is on the desktop.)In the same articles I predicted that Java wouldn't maintain its cross-platform portability. Sun is currently trying to keep . . . well, the sun from setting (to coin a phrase). Proprietary platform-specific extensions already exist.

Then there's the risky one: I stuck my neck way out last year predicting that Microsoft, within a couple of years, will experience serious reversals because it has stretched itself so thin. We'll make the millennium my deadline. But enough remembering past futures. It's time for new predictions. So . . .

Prediction number one: the triumph of American culture . . . in America. Although the Internet is a global network, it has a peculiarly American flavour to it - anarchic, unfettered and individualistic. This terrifies American authorities, but it's too late.

Other countries are trapped as well: keep the Internet out to preserve your "cultural purity" and you damage your economy. Let it in and voila! Americanisation.

Prediction number two: the globalisation of American culture. Staying down on the farm will be hard when we have the world at our fingertips. An unsettling example: Digital Detective Services estimates that as many as 25 per cent of all American workers store erotica on their computers. I'll be sexist and assume most are male, which means nearly half of all males not only enjoy erotica but act on the impulse.

Prediction number three: the personal digital assistant (PDA) market takes off. I got a stack of e-mail about my column bemoaning the loss of the personal computer. In it, I described how PDAs could become the next PCs and described the characteristics they'd need to do so.

New ideas for 1998

Enough prognostication. Now I'd like your help with something.

I generally write about topics that make me cranky. It's cheaper than psychiatry and better than St John's wort. I want to help you too, though, so lie down on the couch over there and let me know your biggest issues, concerns and causes of heartburn. Think of it as group therapy.

Keep pace with tech buys

In all the world, there's nothing more irritating than someone stating obvious conventional wisdom as something profound.

"People need to take personal responsibility for their actions!" I recently heard an acquaintance declaim to a group of us, in terms that left no doubt this was a highly original thought (HOT).

Other statements that are currently HOT:

-- "We should build this application using a thin-client architecture." (Said by people who have no idea what a thin client really is.)-- "The mainframe is just the biggest server on the network." (No, that's just one of its roles, unless you no longer run batch jobs on it.)-- "Our technology investments will be driven by business needs . . . we're not going to invest in technology for technology's sake."

(Gee, do ya think?)

This last statement usually comes from technophobes who wouldn't recognise the business benefits of technology if those benefits were listed as a line-item on the profit-loss statement, or by defensive technologists conditioned to cringe by years of dealing with the aforementioned technophobes.

Chances are high that the requests you


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