Well-known Wellington geek Brenda Wallace cruised to victory for the second year running, in developer group Unlimited Potential’s contest for the best predictions for ICT in the year ahead.
The annual PredICTtions event attracted five contenders, including new entrant Joanna McLeod, known for her Hubris and Prettyprettypretty blogs and major contribution to the Wellingtonista site.
Other runners up were Geekzone founder Mauricio Freitas, web designer Philip Fierlinger (www.turntablemedia.com) and web trainer and advisor Miraz Jordan, all previous contenders.
For the first time the audience could vote digitally on laptops supplied at the venue, so the winner was decided on an objective count, rather than by subjective evaluation of applause volume.
A growing number of organisations, especially government agencies, will choose open-source software during 2010, for the wrong reasons, Wallace predicts. Referring to the Public Sector Remix open-source desktop trial, she says, “I suspect they’re doing it because Microsoft wouldn’t give them the price they wanted. I hope they’ll stay open-source, because it gives them freedom and control and breaks a monopoly.”
Libraries will begin renting e-books, she says. More tablet computers will enter the market, running “quasi-operating systems” such as Google’s Android rather than full-blown Linux, Apple or Windows; “but users won’t know or care about the OS; they’ll just use [the devices].”
The move to open government “will get creepy”, Wallace says, observers will “stalk” politicians, reporting their movements through Twitter and other real-time forums. “I’d like to see them do it to the lobbyists,” she says; “I’d like to know who they’re having lunch with.”
“We’ll have robots in our houses doing our bidding,” Wallace says, pointing to the Roomba vacuum cleaner as an early example.
Lastly, she predicts New Zealand, in technology and elsewhere, will continue to be a follower of overseas trends. “We think it’s not okay to do it until someone else does it first. Sadly, I think New Zealand’s going to keep saying that.”
Philip Fierlinger puts his bet on the Chrome operating system with its web user interface for future tablet computers, rather than following Apple’s iPad lead. “I don’t see the iPad as a game-changer the way the iPhone was,” he says. “I see kids having Chrome-tops for school” with all data stored on a remote server “and iPhones for cool”.
He says a resurgent consciousness of user privacy will drive people away from services like Facebook that seek to monetise their information.
By the end of 2010, Miraz Jordan says, Telecom’s XT network will be up 99 percent of the time and TelstraClear would have solved the problem that makes it impossible to view YouTube videos without stuttering.
Jordan canvassed the views of her blog readers and one – identified only as Stephanie – suggests this country and particularly Wellington, could become the hub of an international three-dimensional printing market, building on the RepRap printer.
Freitas predicts the rise of the Android operating system and the iPhone at the expense of Windows and Symbian-based mobile phones.
In contrast to Fierlinger, Freitas expects regard for privacy to diminish, with information of all kinds either volunteered or gathered continuously. “Your life will be broadcast from your pocket,” he says.
McLeod’s predictions include a continuing stream of gadgets in pink aimed at the female market and the expanding use of SMS by government agencies to communicate with citizens. She says digital conversations will be such a common way of arranging face-to-face meetings that it will no longer be seen as distinctive. “We won’t have Tweet ups any more, they’ll just be called ‘Friday night drinks’.”