Future trends

Jet-powered bicycle

This jet-powered bicycle might be very handy in areas that still have no broadband, as hauling your data around by jet bike might be faster than dial-up. If we still don't have flying cars, a jet-powered bicycle seems like a pretty good consolation prize.

The dot-com era is back

There have been rumblings for a while now that the dot-com era is back. A few companies have indicated that they may be considering IPOs, which have been scarce for ten years. The reason the dot-com era is back is because someone has decided Zynga, the company that developed the Facebook game Farmville, is worth seven to nine billion dollars.

$7 to 9 billion...Really? Farmville?

Technology News:

Is social media a fad? Required viewing for all elected officials....

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

The beginning of the end for cable TV

Comcast and Level 3 are having a public fight. Level 3 is a long haul network provider; the company owns thousands of miles of inter-city fiber and hauls all kinds of data traffic, including Internet traffic, for a wide variety of customers. But Comcast is groaning under the weight of Netflix and other video traffic, and the cable company wants Level 3 to pay more to drop traffic onto the Comcast network for delivery.

Knowledge Democracy:

Netflix raises prices, adds more streaming content

Netflix has announced an increase in the price of monthly subscriptions, which is no surprise, given the popularity of the firm's video on demand service. With Netflix subscribers using 20% of the nation's bandwidth every evening, Netflix needs some way to pay for all that bandwidth. The company has also added a $7.99/month streaming only subscriptions--you can't get any DVDs.

Knowledge Democracy:

I'm in the living room reading the newspad

If you have not yet heard about "The Daily," you will shortly. The new digital "newspaper" is a collaboration between Apple and News Corp., and it is designed expressly for tablet devices like the iPad. There will be no Web or paper edition. Hence, we need a new term for this, and I think "newspad" is just right, as it is derived directly from its predecessor, the "newspaper."

Knowledge Democracy:

Netflix uses 20% of U.S. bandwidth

Netflix had an outage of several hours that prevented their customers from accessing any streaming content. This article discusses whether Netflix is spending enough on infrastructure, but what has also emerged is that Netflix customers using the company's streaming services are now consuming 20% of all the bandwidth in the U.S. during peak evening hours. As I and many others have been predicting for years, video in all its forms is now driving use of the Internet.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

Fiber 2.0: The coming Balkanization of American telecom

A few months ago, a competitive telecom provider ran fiber down the main road near my home. Yesterday I figured out why; a crew was running a fiber drop to the bank branch on the corner. All over America, it is the dawn of Fiber 2.0. Fiber 1.0 took place in the late nineties, when an enormous amount of capital was spent on fiber too far in advance of the marketplace for demand. Along with the rest of the dot-com ventures, Fiber 1.0 was a bust.

Technology News:

iPad creates giant sucking sound...

The iPad is breaking every consumer electronic sales record and setting new records. The sales records set by the device include biggest first day sales, biggest first month sales, and biggest first year sales. Apple is on track to sell something north of ten million iPads in the first year. By comparison, the DVD player, in its first year, sold a measly 350,000 units. Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the first day.

The death of TV: Part XXIII

Apple has announced a new version of Apple TV. Apple has cut both the price and size of the device; it's now tiny compared to the old version, and costs only $99. The old version of the product was able to store movies and TV shows, but the new version only streams movies and TV, either from online sources or from content stored on a nearby Mac computer.

Knowledge Democracy:

Wal-Mart smart tag worries overwrought

The InterTubes are a a-flutter with articles about Wal-Mart's plans to use RFID smart tags on clothing. The little tags are readable via wireless handheld devices, and the new system will allow Wal-Mart to manage inventory better. Every article I have read, including this reasonably well-balanced one from USA Today, talks about "privacy concerns." But USA Today, near the end of the article, provides the necessary information to understand just how big the privacy threat is: not very big.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

It had to happen: Facebook newbie phase is over

Like all popular Internet services, Facebook has enjoyed rapid growth over the past three or four years, as the service added many hundreds of thousands of users a week (or more--millions in some past months). But that growth has finally stalled out, as everyone who wants to be on Facebook already is. Geometric growth is a wonderful thing, but there was always a finite limit to that growth. Even more telling, the amount of activity by registered users has also dropped.

Is the age of blogs over?

Lately, visiting some of my regular "regular read" blogs, I'm finding not only fewer posts but notes from the bloggers that after five or six years, they are turning the blog off or just posting a lot less. The comments all seem to run in the same direction: "I've said everything I have wanted to say." And regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I am posting a lot less than I was three or four years ago. Part of the change is due the the growth in Design Nine; we're planning and building more networks in more places around the country than we were three or four years ago.

Knowledge Democracy:

More evidence TV is dead

Here is an article that says the median age of traditional TV viewers has moved up to nearly 51 years old. For an industry that covets the 25-44 year old demographic, that has to be bad news. It explains why you see so many laxative,Viagra, and arthritis ads on TV--nothing but creaky and cranky old folks watching.

Knowledge Democracy:

Google TV kicks Apple TV in the teeth

Google has announced the fall, 2010 availability of Google TV, which is a set top box but may also be built in to some new TVs. The little video that is embedded in the linked article shows an interface that looks remarkably similar to the interface used by the Apple TV appliance, which is also a set top box. Either Apple nailed the interface design for this kind of device, or Google could not come up with anything better, or both.

Entire country of Australia goes open access

Design Nine has been an advocate for open access for many years--long before it became fashionable. So it is nice to see that some places are finally figuring out that open access is the right way to do telecom. Via Ars Technica, the Australian government has announced a $38 billion (in U.S. dollars) plan to take fiber to most Australian homes and businesses.

Technology News:

Community news and projects:

iPad vs. Kindle: A good review

Almost everything written about the iPad to date has been speculative and overwrought because most of the writers had little or no time actually using the iPad. Depending on what you read, you might come away believing the iPad was the worst device in the history of handhelds (...NO USB PORT MAKES IT USELESS!!) or the most important new device since the mainframe. Here is a thoughtful review that compares the iPad to the Kindle for reading books.

Microsoft sides with Apple, supports HTML5 and H.264

Microsoft has announced that for Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), the company has a preference for HTML5 and the H.264 video codec. Flash plug-ins will continue to be supported, but IE9 will only have native support for H.264. This follows on the path blazed by Apple, which decided a while back not support Flash at all on the iPhone and iPod. The controversy has heated up with the release of the iPad, which continues the Apple strategy of no Flash support at all.

Knowledge Democracy:

Apple now bigger than Google

Apple is now worth more than Google. Last year, profits increased by 39% to almost $10 billion. That's a profit margin three times bigger than Hewlett-Packard. Over ten years, Apple profits have increased by more than 2,000%. Apple is bigger than Intel and Cisco.

Technology News:

Will the iPad save the publishing industry?

This article from Cory Doctorow is similar to a couple of other contrarian articles that have come out in the past week--they all complain about the perceived "closed" nature of the iPad and/or say that the iPad is not going to save the publishing business.

Knowledge Democracy:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Future trends