2006, From My Perspective

As I peruse my expectations for the year that is nearly at an end, I am reminded of the futility of any sort of prediction where it regards modern technology. Who could have predicted the runaway success of YouTube, the continuing absence of the iPhone (which, by the way, I will not mention as part of any wishful thinking I may yet find the time to write down regarding 2007), or that I would be designing T-Shirts?

Or (on a more nationally-related note), that we would see Sonae's takeover bid be approved by the local competitive regulator (with the opposition of the telecoms regulator and most sane individuals in the industry), potentially creating a de facto, reinforced monopoly to replace an incumbent, eroding one? (More on that in the coming months, but basically this put a lot of things on hold, and ten months of controversy and paralysis aren't going to be forgotten that easily).

Anyway, my meditations regarding this year are mostly personal. There has been entirely too much going on (not all of it bright and peachy), and very little of it has to do with technology. I'm still trying to get used to a bunch of changes (a few lifestyle, a few professional, all of them stress-related), and keeping this site going has been a great way to unwind, but it's noticeable that I don't have as much time to write, code, or generally fool around as I used to.

Then again, I'm not sleeping just five hours a day anymore.

But back when I did, I had a few things to look forward regarding 2006, and now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that:

  • Yes, Earth for the Mac is still as awe-inspiring as that first alpha I saw, and it's seen quite a few improvements (not the least of which was the interface, which is now more tolerable). That one worked out great.
  • Having a full-blown Apple store here in Portugal hasn't happened yet (and I won't risk any predictions), but things seem to be a smidgeon more efficient, at least by local standards (which, to be honest, isn't saying much - I expect to be one of the many pilgrims paying homage in the London store next time I want some minor accessory).
  • Yes, the ultra-thin 13" black PowerBook came true. Or as close to it as possible, and my black MacBook is humming along on my lap to prove it. I would probably be happier if it was a little smaller and thinner, but I won't make a fuss of it.
  • As to the Tiger bugs, well... That one was a close miss. 10.4.8 is noticeably more stable than earlier versions, but you have to wonder just how long it would take for Tiger to be "fixed". Let's see what Leopard will be like.
  • FInally (where it relates to the Mac), we not only have working Virtualization, but also actual competition. Fusion isn't really finished yet, but Parallels is already giving it a run feature-wise for its money (and ours), so this can only get better. Me, I'll eventually swing to Fusion, but I can wait until they sort out the bugs.

On other fronts:

  • Battlestar Galactica is still one of the few things I actually want to watch on TV. Reverse engineering the camera angles, the scene moods, the character interplay, etc. is actually worth it, something that not many Sci-Fi series can claim.
  • WiMax is still getting soundly trounced by HSDPA in Europe. Lacking regulatory framework, competitive equipment and (most of all) actual solutions to existing problems, it is pretty much stuck in the mud. I expect that to change, but not just yet.
  • VoIP, as far as I'm concerned, pretty much ran away with the show as far as Telecommunications are concerned, but I found it amazing that so little coherent strategy was enacted and made public (there are better things waiting in the wings, although I can't really comment). Maybe it's just a matter of timing. Whatever the reason, the Asterisk upstarts aren't standing still (version 1.4.0 is out, and it's sure to be as disruptive to the SIP world as Apache was to the HTTP crowd).
  • Ah, music phones. Who really cares about them? And what about those new iPods, huh?
  • And, finally, Web 2.0. No matter how much I like clicking on things, I still haven't found any evidence that it's any sort of real upgrade. What is being upgraded are the business models, although at the expense of a Darwinian-cum-combinatorial explosion of VC-mutated corporate DNA that is yet to be properly culled by market forces. In short, there won't be that many YouTubes - whatever they turn out to be.

Still, it was mostly a good year. Confusing, hectic, sometimes painful, but all things considered, it could have turned out a lot worse.

Heck, I could have (permanently) switched to Ubuntu, for one thing.