12 Days of Techmas (or, what goodies might be arriving in 2010)

Here’s to the New Year!

It’s time to give a nod to the departure of the leading 0 in ’09 and welcome in the 10s.  And in that tradition, I bring you this year’s New Years Column, borrowing on that classic song that celebrates the time between Christmas Day and Epiphany in early January …  So strike up the band and sing along!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me,  twelve phones texting …

It’s everywhere! Communication as you grew up with is a mere memory. The digital natives rule this decade and non-linear, multi-modal conversations are the norm.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, eleven applets running …

It’s the age of the software mammal, with all these little programs running around nibbling on the edge of things in agile ways, running with each other to create custom environments and mash-ups  … the big software monolith is crumbling.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, ten folks a-friending …

Everyone and their uncle discovered Facebook in 2009. For 2010, the friend requests continue to pour in until everyone gets tired of going through their high school year book and asking, ‘where are they now?’


However, the idea of ‘social media” and of connecting to each other in digital ways will only continue to be part of the daily fabric of life.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, nine babies mousing …

Programs for toddlers are nothing new, but as the first wave of digital natives born in the mid 1980s zoom past the quarter century mark and start having babies en masse, babyware will take on a whole new meaning.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, eight apps a-moving …

Here is a fun fact: in its just-released predictions report, research firm IDC says that the iPhone had 10,000 applications a year ago, has 100,000 today, and will have 300,000 in 2010. Other platforms will have similar growth.

Oh, and it also predicts that 1 billion mobile devices will access the Internet in 2010 -- just in case you hadn't already figured that one out  just from looking around a crowded room where everyone is tapping on their smart phones …

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, the technies gave to me, seven tools a-wireless…

Wires, who needs those stinkin’ wires? It’s been a slow and steady move but increasingly the expectation is that elements – remotes, printers, sensors, mice, headphones, you name it – connect without wires. Is it magic? Or just the ongoing roll of technology?

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, six accounts a-roaming …

Another one of these trends that has been quietly moving forward over the past several years will become the norm – with Intuit’s late-2009 purchase of Mint and the broad expectation of mashing up information into one user controlled location, look for the digital wallet with all our accounts reachable in one user managed place, anytime, anywhere. 

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, five broadband paths…

Broadband is the essential highway for this decade. The more options the better! The optimist hopes that this year light will dawn and data infrastructure can be a public empowering tool for us all. And holiday wishes that here on the Cape, OpenCape will become one of the options, as well.

Remember, underneath all these wireless and mobile applications must lie a robust backhaul network to move all our billions of interactions around - without it, all these other goodies can't be delivered at all.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, 4G networks…

The much talked about 4G (as in fourth generation) networks keep on talking about emerging. How fast they do will depend on political factors like broadband allocation and net neutrality rulings, along with seemingly insatiable market demand for all things in mobile digital form.

Research firm The Yankee Group in its predictions – see, everyone does ‘em!  – says that  2010 is a rebuilding year for the communications industry, shaped by the ways the economic crisis has changed the ways in which individual consumers, businesses/organizations, and network builders themselves approach connectivity.

On the Third Day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, 3 avatars…

Avatars are a character that represents you in a virtual world. Virtual worlds continue their move into mainstream use. Having a group meeting? It might be happening in Second Life.

On the second day of Christmas, the techies gave to me, 2 wii remotes…

Next stop, the holodeck.

“Video games” is such a quaint term. With platforms like the wii, digital games aren’t just for some freaky closet gamer who wants to blow up orcs. Digital interactive family game night is here, right now, this holiday season under a tree or menorah near you.

On the First Day of Christmas the techies gave to me, an advanced-preview iphone in a leather case!

Word on the street is that real soon – maybe even as part of its annual January announcements -- the Apple rendition of a tablet or an ebook reader is stepping out.  The rumors are flying because, well, nothing gossips quite so well as Apple leaks.

Whenever it happens, what it represents is this: a thin portable reading device, an idea that’s been hyped at various times since at least the 1960s, might be technologically ready for the masses. And it will probably look cool, too.

And, if past keeping holding true, its very existence will spawn a whole secondary industry of  accessories, both technical and decorative.  It's not just tech gizmos - it's fashion and lifestyle too.

Yup, the year of 10 is going to be interesting! This won’t be the year marked by things new and striking, but will instead be a year for all kinds of threads coming ‘round and tying in together, finally showing what the past decade of change can create for the rest of us.

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