Sledgehammer, cool Apple, sneaky Linux:
by Alan Zisman (c)
in Toronto Computes,
They twisted my arm and made me dust off my crystal
ball, to see if,
by looking into its murky depths, I could predict what we have in store
for The Year 2000? in the computer store, that is.
Prediction?s always a dicey business?more famous
than I am, for example, spent the last few years of the 1980s
that within a few years, we?d all be running IBM OS/2 on our computers.
OS/2 has a lot of powerful features, but in 1998, the last year I?ve
statistics for, it had about 1% of the US sales for desktop operating
Luckily, predicting for the coming year is safer than
predicting a couple
of years ahead?you?ll rarely go too far wrong predicting ?more of the
On the other hand, if your predictions are for a couple of years down
pike, odds are good that hardly anyone will actually check back to see
how wrong you were.
So, you?re welcome to save this page, put it on the
fridge, and check
back a year from now and see how many of these come true. Here?s the
ball?s Top Ten for 2000:
1. The year 2000 will be OK. More or less. If you?re
reading this now,
then I assume we all made it safely through The New Year That Was.
water, gas, buses, trains, and planes are all running in Toronto,
Ottawa, Vancouver, and more. Elevators and pacemakers, and most
the personal computer on your desktop all still work.
There will be some glitches over the next few months,
as problems in
other companies trickle back here?but you can safely start to eat and
the canned and bottled supplies in the basement.
2. Computers will continue to get faster and will
continue to get cheaper?a
year ago, a Pentium II 450 was a top of the line PC processor. As of
writing, Intel?s fastest runs at 733 MHz, while AMD just topped it,
a 750 MHz unit, and low end models are running as fast, or faster than
last year?s speed demons. That trend will continue, with high end
pushing 1 Gigahertz by year-end.
3. At the low end, Intel and Taiwan?s VIA (who
purchased cheap-CPU manufacturers
Cyrix and Centaur in 1999) both are promising models that integrate a
with video capabilities and other features all on a single chip?making
it cheaper than ever to make a basic computer.
4. And at the real high end, both Intel will release
its first 64-bit
processor?the oddly-named Itanium, before year end. AMD will be hot on
its tail, with their incompatible 64-bit processor, currently
Sledgehammer. Neither of these will make the slightest difference to
as you and I know it?at least not this year.
5. CD-ROMs will vanish from all but the cheapest
by DVD-ROM. CD-RW will continue its growth, however, as the removable
of choice?at least for this year. Planning to buy a new computer? Get a
DVD-ROM drive and a CD-RW drive. In 2001, however, expect to see DVD-RW
start to take off.
6. Microsoft will release Windows 2000 on schedule in
the higher-end server versions will be delayed). And for version 1 of a
Microsoft product, it won?t be bad. (Remember, it?s not really version
1, it?s really NT version 5). Many businesses will (slowly and
switch to Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Professional will be
on most of the desktop computers destined for large businesses. But
you care? Not really. Instead, keep an eye on Microsoft?s Millennium
for the next generation of the Windows 95/98 series. Despite the name,
the crystal ball suspects that one will show up early in 2001.
7. Open Source operating system Linux will grow,
partly due to efforts
like Corel?s to make it easier to use, partly by sneaking in behind the
scenes as a server operating system, or on point of sale systems, and
like. But as Judge Jackson predicted in his Microsoft judgement, it
remain a somewhat-geeky niche-product, that doesn?t quite breakthrough
to the mass market. And efforts to make it more user-friendly will
some of its hard core users, who will move to systems like Free-BSD.
8. Apple will ship OSX, its next generation operating
with a continuing series of cool desktop and notebook computers. And
market share will push past 10%-- bringing it back to the position it
in the late 1980s. But ?real men? still won?t be caught dead carrying a
?girly? iBook?especially in Creamsicle-coloured Tangerine and White.
9. Apple?s coolest technology, wireless AirPort
networking, will have
a big impact in homes, schools, and small offices?especially when it
available for PCs. The profits won?t go to Apple, however, as a bunch
PC peripheral companies market the technology from AT&T research
10. RAM prices will continue to stay high. Or they?ll
get even higher.
Or they?ll come down. Sorry?on that one, I just don?t know what?ll
Wait a year and see how I did. Let me know.