Archive for the ‘Predictions’ Category

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans

January 23, 2012

The Buffalo Beast has produced lists of “The 50 Most Loathsome Americans” almost every year this decade (see their lists for: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) To recap, the most loathsome over the years, with…

Three entries: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin
Four entries: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, John McCain
Five entries: Ann Coulter, Joe Lieberman
Six entries: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney
Included every year thus far: “You”

I know this because I tried to put the info from the lists on Wikipedia last year, but they didn’t like that :( But hey, neither did Orly Taitz ;)

Their 2011 list is due any day now; HERE! In the mean time though, I thought I’d guess (total not guaranteed to equal 50) who might be on the list when it gets published, in alphabetical order:

Scott Adams
Roger Ailes
Casey Anthony
Levi Aron
Joe Arpaio
Any/all of these Bad Governors (Rick Scott (Florida), Paul LePage (Maine), Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania), Rick Perry (Texas) note: see also below, Jan Brewer (Arizona), John Kasich (Ohio), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Scott Walker (Wisconsin) )
David Barton
Glenn Beck
Rebecca Black
Michael Bloomberg
John Boehner
Harold Camping (I wasn’t raptured because I’m a godless heathen; what’s his excuse?)
Deryl Dedmon (and ‘friends’)
The Duggars (specifically the parents: their 19+2 kids didn’t ask to be born)
John Freshwater
Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO)
Christopher Hitchens
Victoria Jackson (INSANE.)
Kim Kardashian
Amy Koch
Charles & David Koch
Steve Jobs
Rush Limbaugh
Jared Lee Loughner
Keith Mason (Personhood USA)
Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform)
Barack Obama (even if only for signing the Patriot Act Reauthorization)
James O’Keefe
Bill O’Reilly
Sarah Palin
Pepper Spray Cops (Anthony Bologna & John Pike)
Phone hacking scandal participants (Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Les Hinton, et al)
Republicans running for President (Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty)
Jerry Sandusky
Charlie Sheen (and Sheen-wannabe Ashton Kutcher ;)
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Tea Party
Tim Tebow
Donald Trump
Anthony Weiner

If you think I missed anyone who really deserves it, leave a comment!


Linux on the cusp of 2010

December 31, 2009

We’re almost at 2010 and so I thought I’d revisit my 2010: The year of the Linux Desktop post. But rather than start with Linux, I want to start with Apple…

I noticed a story “2010: The year of the Mac?” which derisively began “It’s almost a pathetic assertion: This year, the Mac will break out of its ghetto and become a mainstream computer for individuals and businesses alike.” The author doesn’t understand what Apple wants to be (that is to say, what Steve Jobs wants Apple to be ;) I wrote back in late 2007 that “Apple will tend to restrict itself to the mid-to-high-end market”.  And you know what?  Apple won it; they now get 90+% of sales of $1K+ systems; this is where the largest profits are made and Microsoft has effectively been banished from this segment. Apple also has done well with its iPhone and of course its iPods; these are tech products with significant market share that do not run a Microsoft OS and do not necessarily need one to interface either; as Microsoft absolutely requires monopoly conditions to maintain its business, anything that reduces dependence on Microsoft will cause its empire to shrink.  There are now persistent rumors that Apple is going to release some sort of Tablet Machine that will likely sell below $1K; this will further pressure OEMs that currently preload Windows to compete on price…

Which still doesn’t bring me to Linux yet ;) In the refs to the 2010 article I included a letter that I wrote to ESR regarding his predictions about RAM in computers: by 2008, he wrote, we should see 4GB of RAM in “low end” desktop machines and 16 GB in “high end” ones. However, this did not foresee the transition from majority desktop to majority notebook form factor, the current emergence of netbooks, which have begun to displace some notebook sales (see also here) and which tend to have Windows XP preloaded… at least for now; it uses MUCH less RAM than Vista did! ;) Notebooks tend to use less RAM than desktop machines and netbooks less than notebooks; it is still possible to buy a notebook (albeit refurbished) from FutureShop here in Canada with 512 MB of RAM!  Even the average netbook only has 1GB of RAM and low end notebooks typically come with 2, 3 or 4 GB of RAM.  All this has helped drop the price of off-the-shelf notebooks considerably.  Netbooks still tend to be in the $300 range (the same as last year, but with a larger screen and other ‘improvements’; Microsoft has been pushing for this to keep prices artificially high: “What’s the industry’s advantage in saying lets drive this thing to rock bottom…What we are enabling with Windows 7 [is the ability] to try to maintain higher average selling prices…This doesn’t have to be about who can get to $199 first.”)

And this brings us, finally, to Linux. Currently about a third of netbooks are being shipped with Linux globally and this should rise to a majority by 2013. This is the beginning of Linux taking over the low-end of ‘desktop’ (that is, ‘not server’) computing. What I think will happen this coming year is going to be a convergence of technologies that are going to result in that sub-$200 machine, and it won’t have Windows XP or 7 on it.  But unlike the current generation of netbooks that are Intel Atom-based, these will run on ARM processors. Predictions include that 20% of 2010’s netbooks will have ARM processors and the amount will be over half by 2012. And while Google’s Android will be on some of them, Ubuntu stands to grab a large amount of the market with its 10.04 LTS release.

So, will 2010 be the year of ‘desktop’ Linux? I think yes, but in a way that I didn’t quite imagine in 2007. The “major commerical apps designed to run on Linux” aren’t “designed to run on Linux” per se; they’re designed to run in standards-compliant web browsers (e.g. Firefox) and are ‘free’ (gratis) ala Google (mail, maps, news, etc.)  The low-end of computing will be amazingly inexpensive, almost disposable in the new and uncharted sub-$200 range (the “race to the bottom“).  We probably will see lots of Asian OEMs that most in the west have never heard of before cranking these out (perhaps even toy manufacturers; look at this one that uses rechargable AA batteries! :-), while the bigger ones attempt to maintain their Windows-based notebook sales.

An example of what I hope to see for specs on a 2010 Linux netbook:

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Pixel Qi Monitor (10″) [read more]
ARM Processor (2 GHz Dual Core)
1 GB RAM (DDR2 or 3)
Fast SSD (8 or 16 GB)
Cost <$200

a backlit keyboard, lots of USB ports and wireless n would be nice too, but those would probably cost extra ;)

Update Jan. 7, 2010: An article mentioning ‘smartbooks’, an intermediate between smartphones and netbooks, and predicting ARM/Linux ones to do well in 2010. But THIS ARTICLE has the real deal; a gorgeous and incredibly thin 12″ ARM “smartbook” which “runs full Ubuntu plenty well”. Look at the pics and watch the video…

Browsers of Europe

December 21, 2009

I took a blank country map of Europe and colored it in; orange is countries with significant Firefox 3.5 plurality as per StatCounter, blue is the same but for IE, while red are countries with unusually high Opera usage (note that in the Russian Federation for example, Firefox 3.5 usage is actually slightly higher than Opera version 10.0, but it is remarkable to see the latter at >20%!)

The fact that browser distribution is not randomly distributed across European countries, but appears to closely follow traditional regional boundaries is somewhat surprising and suggests that there are significant cultural factors that affect browser choice.  Note for example the large gap that StatCounter shows between Germany with ~60% Firefox and ~25% IE (so over 2:1) and its neighbors France with 55~60% IE and 30~35% Firefox and Denmark ~60% IE and ~25% Firefox (basically the opposite).  One wonders how this will affect the IE ballot screen.  My suspicion is that it will increase non-IE usage, but only proportionally to existing non-IE usage; in some nations where Firefox 3.5 is close to the most used version of IE (especially where those countries are near the ‘Firefox region’… possibly Italy or Sweden?), that could well push it past a tipping point, but west Europe looks like it’s going to hold onto IE the longest.

Another wrinkle is Chrome; Google’s browser is making some headway in Europe and a brief eyeballing of the data gives me the impression that it will do very well in the coming years… but probably more in certain regions than others; the Balkans seem to have relatively high Chrome usage already (Chrome as the alternative to a majority Firefox would be interesting to see!) and some west European nations might eventually see Chrome nipping at Firefox’s heels for second place, but that’s too far out into the future to accurately predict.  I suspect that Safari won’t make too many inroads; I just don’t see it having massive appeal outside of Macs.  Opera will continue to maintain a substantial user base in east Europe, but my gut feeling is that with more browser choices, they will get further lost in the shuffle as ‘yet another alternate browser’ where they don’t have a major presence already.

And that’s how things look to me at the end of 2009.

Electoral Math

May 11, 2008

Now that Obama appears almost certain to be the democratic nominee [1, 2, 3] (even with Clinton on track to win West Virginia and Kentucky by ~2:1 margins it should be over by May 20, though she might not admit it to herself ;) the question becomes ‘How can Obama win the 2008 general election?’  And I have a nice map site to help me illustrate :)  The goal is the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

These are my basic assumptions:

1. The states that voted for both Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 will almost certainly vote for Obama in 2008; this gets Democrats 248 votes immediately.

2. I will give McCain the benefit of the doubt and give him each state where he’s currently polling favorably (>5% in his favor).  I will give Iowa to Obama as they voted for Gore in 2000 and currently are polling in Obama’s favor (NOTE: polls will change between now and November and thus recalculations will be needed! e.g. watch New Hampshire).

3. Of the remainder, states which Clinton neither won in 1992 nor 1996 and which Obama is not leading (curiously enough, they’re the same right now ;) go to McCain. (NOTE: as in #2 except this should be more stable; if any do get Obama leading I would switch them to undecided unless it was >10%)

The result of all this is that (currently) just four states are in play:

Nevada, Colorado, Ohio and Florida

Yes, again with Ohio and Florida; ugh.  Let’s hope that Obama picks up significant support in some of the other states (perhaps via a VP candidate? :)

Update: a very interesting article about how Obama could win simply by increasing voter turnout…

Update 2: linked from the above article is this very interesting set of maps.  Note the “best case” (for Obama) scenario at the bottom; of the sixteen states that Bill Clinton never won in ’92 or ’96 (AK, UT, ID, WY, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, IN, VA, NC, SC, MS, AL), Obama actually has a small chance in five of those: TX, IN, VA, NC, SC.  It would be an amazing coup if Obama could win Texas, though of those, it looks like his best chances are in Indiana and Virginia.

Also interesting is that if you take the 2004 results and do the following switches: NH -> Rep.; IA, NV, CO, NM -> Dem (see this page), Obama can win without West Virginia or the south…

XiTiMonitor data for February and March now online!

April 25, 2008

French; Google tranlation (official English translation soon here)

Based on previous XiTiMonitor numbers, Firefox reached record high levels in 20 of the 32 countries surveyed in the last month!  Eyeballing the March data for discontinuities, I note that there are three main ranges:

18 countries 15% – 27% (these seem to be the low-to-mid adopters, which form a fairly continuous range)

9 countries 30% – 38% (the mid-to-high adopters)

5 countries 41% – 46% (the high adopters)

Curiously, the high adopters in east-central Europe follow an almost North-South line from the Baltic to the Adriatic Seas and the usage rates tend to drop as you go east or west from that Line.  Finland also appears to be a center, with the usage rates in Scandanavia and the Baltic states decreasing the further away you go.  Pretty much the only exception to this is Ireland, which spiked in July and has remained mid-to-high ever since.  That the high adopters continually flirt with the 50% mark is a tad frustrating; one wonders if FF3 will finally push one of the countries (Poland would be my best guess right now) over that.  I was wrong in guessing that FF would break the mark somewhere in Europe in 2007, but its time will come and I don’t think it’s going too much out on a limb to say that 2008 is very likely.

Dell continues to expand its Ubuntu sales area

February 24, 2008

Dell originally announced that it was going to ship Ubuntu systems, only in the U.S., on May 1, 2007. On August 7, 2007 they announced the addition of Germany, France and the U.K. Most recently, on February 21, 2008, they announced the addition of Canada and all of Central and South America.

Dell as a company is clearly not doing this as a charity or public service; there is a real demand for these systems, contrary to what the occasional naysayer (do consider the source) would have you believe.

I expect that in the not-too-distant future, Dell will add Australia and more (if not the rest) of Europe to the list of nations being offered Ubuntu systems. I wouldn’t be surprised if the timing is planned for shortly after Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04) is released in April, or its update (aka ‘service pack’ in Microspeak) 8.04.1 in June.

[post submitted to ELL]

Update: Now China too! (announced March 3)

The Death of Cable Television is Coming…

January 25, 2008

The internet is a amazingly disruptive technology; this is a good thing :)

Today I got a brief glimpse into the future and it was a real eye-opener.  I read this article which talked about Miro and how it will eventually replace the proprietary behemoths that are the cable companies.  I nodded my head in agreement, but then I saw this comment and I had a ‘WOAH!’ moment: with a couple extremely simple steps, Miro can absorb the entire content of a torrent site that carries just about every current TV show in existence.  Imagine ‘The Pirate Bay TV‘ kind of thing.  The infrastructure for completely replacing cable TV exists NOW.  It is just a question of how to transition content producers away from cable onto the internet; that’s the hard part :)  For independent producers though, its an amazing opportunity to be heard.

Miro represents an extremely consumer-friendly platform; no nasty DRM, no stinky proprietary nonsense and bittorrent inverts the download speed problem (downloading from regular servers slows down as more people try to access the file; with bittorrent, the more people download the file, the faster it goes).

I hope that as Miro continues to mature, that it becomes an integral part of Ubuntu, just as Firefox is.

2007 Predictions (how am I doing so far?)

October 29, 2007

Back in late November 2006 I made some predictions in the comments to a Scobleizer article. Let’s see how I’m doing two months before time’s up :)

within a few months after Vista is released, someone is going to find a major security vulnerability in it which will get patched on a Tuesday ;)

That one was too easy ;)

On a more serious note, based on what I’ve been reading, I’ll predict that the MS-Novell deal (at least as far as patents are concerned) is going to collapse.

Hmm… not yet and looking doubtful that this will happen before the end of the year now.

Update Jan. 2, 2008: WOAH! No *wonder* they didn’t cancel the patent deal:

During fiscal 2007, we [Novell] received $355.6 million from Microsoft related to the Microsoft agreements

That’s some serious cash! OK, yah, if the devil wants you to sell your soul, I suppose that would be the sort of amount that would make it hard to turn down ;) If I had know it was THAT much money I never would have predicted that the patent deal would end.

Just one question for Steve… for that kind of coin, how many hundreds of patents is Windows infringing?

By the end of 2007, Firefox should have 50+% market share in at least one European nation.

Finland is less than 5 points away from that. So close… we shall see.

Update Jan. 25: Not quite! Aaarrrggghhh :) XiTiMonitor now has its December numbers up and Finland still seems to be hovering around the 45% mark, as is Slovenia. Poland, Slovakia and Hungary aren’t too far behind though, each with over 40%

And finally, some politics: GWB’s popularity will reach new lows as we get further stuck in Iraq; US casualties will sail past 3000 and will probably pass 3500.

Here’s a graph of GWB’s poll numbers and another here. Nixon-esque would be a good description.

As for US casualties, I’m sad to say that not only was I right, but I underestimated the numbers: As of today, 3839 dead, 28171 wounded.