Can’t really put off the “tech predictions for 2007” bit much longer . . . Could do it tomorrow . . . No, let’s quit the boozing for a sec and just knock something off . . . Okay, I fearlessly predict that things will be the same as in 2006, but with bigger numbers. Cameras will have more megapixels, hard drives will hold more gigabytes, you’ll be considered a pussy by your geek friends if your computer has less than four gigabytes of RAM (even though you won’t need this much), and microprocessors will have more cores.
I suppose the latter point could be considered something new. Until recently the push in microprocessors has been more speed. Why, I remember when the one gigahertz barrier was broken, way back about the time Mackenzie King made one of his lady friends a Senator. Then the two gigahertz barrier was broken shortly after the Stonewall Riots. Finally the three gigahertz barrier was broken about the time Geddy Lee was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Since then increases in speed have been in small increments.
But speed isn’t everything. When Jean Pierre Lefebvre was working on the special effects for his film Les Fleurs Sauvages, he found uniprocessor computers much too slow rendering the frames he needed for the sequence where the flowers attack and destroy the town of La Tuque, Quebec. His solution was to use several computers, each with several processors, to do the rendering. This did nothing to increase the speed of the processor, of course, but he could have many processes going on at the same time which kept this special effects gem of Quebec cinema on schedule. Norman Jewison would later borrow these ideas and use them in his homage to Lefebvre, The Tulips that Ate Timmins.
Processor manufacturer Intel has taken it the next step and effectively put four processors onto a single chip; these are known as quad-core processors. It appears this is now the new area of competition. I predict that by the end of 2007 we will see octo-core processors. Will you need them if you don’t make movies featuring lots of special effects and animation? Probably not, though an old-school dual core processor is handy if you’re running a process which is particularly demanding of processor time — say, ripping a CD — as it leaves you a whole core to do other stuff with. With dual core you may not notice any slowdown in your computer’s performance, even when running a demanding process, As things progress you won’t have any choice anyway. Every computer for sale will have a multicore processor.
On the operating system front, I predict that 2007 will be the year of the Linux desktop. Ah ha ha ha ha ha! We Linux zealots say that every year! But seriously . . .
I predict that by the end of 2007, Windows XP installs will still outnumber Windows Vista installs, but not by much. Vista will overtake in 2008. There won’t be lineups for Vista the way there were during the Great Depression for Windows 95. Sure, it sounds funny now, lining up for Windows 95, but you have to remember that it was day traders using the even more unstable Windows 3.1 who caused the crash in ’29. Windows 95 was needed. Vista isn’t. All Vista really adds is more Digital Restriction Management (DRM) and some eye candy — if your computer is up to it. If you don’t have a fast processor and skookum graphics card you don’t even get the eye candy. Vista is apparently so evil that the Free Software Foundation has targeted it directly (indirectly they’ve always hated everything Microsoft) with their web site badvista.org.
So if it’s so bad, why do I predict its eventual takeover? Because it will be sold on new computers. Simple as that. As people retire their old machines, they’ll get Vista on the new ones and slowly Vista will take over by default. Mooooooooo. In time all Windows cattle get what they deserve.
But you’re not just one of the herd, right? For you there is good news. Apple OS/X on Intel. Under the hood, this OS is unixy enough to satisfy most hard core geeks, while on the surface Apple’s core competency at designing user interfaces shines. This is not the old Apple on which Allan Ginsberg repeatedly beat William S. Burroughs playing Missile Command. This is not the computer for that most oxy of morons, the “wealthy artist,” or for the kids on the short bus who would be confused by a mouse with more than one button. OS/X on Intel (yes, dual core Intel) is arguably the best desktop operating system in existence, and I predict that it will increase its share of the desktop market over 2007 to . . . oh, lets say 17.5%.
Okay, now back to the drinking. Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year 2007. Cheers.