Joel's Predictions for 2011 (and Mike's comments)
Joel has posted his predictions for 2011. I find his predictions very interesting, mostly because I am crappy at doing predictions myself. However, I am seldom at a loss for commenting on someone else's work:
1. The Kanban Influence:
I have seen a little bit of this, and I like what I see. I would like to try to implement this in the project I am currently on, but I think it will take a lot of education of many involved in the project, as most of them don't even know the term.
2. Digital Entertainment Crossing the Chasm:
In December 2009, our family purchased a high-def digital cable video recorder (DVR), and a new LCD flatscreen TV. The DVR has completely changed my viewing habits, I seldom watch programs live anymore. I watched the Vancouver olympics on two channels, in near-real-time, by using the two tuners on the DVR and using pause/skip to split our viewing across the channels, and avoid commercials.
The new TV has USB connections, so we occasionally watch videos and view photos on the TV as well. We recently received an XBox 360 as a Christmas gift and I am probably going to explore its integration with Windows Media player on our home PCs.
3. Many App Stores:
I recently noticed an "App Store" tab in the latest version of uTorrent. It lists the uTorrent add-ons available for download.
4. Kinecting with your PC
We also received the Kinect with our Xbox 360, and it significantly changes the gaming experience, I think. Still a little lagging in responsiveness in some games and situations, and really hard to be precise, but it's a huge leap over the WiiMote (which we also have).
In terms of using Kinect on the PC, there is already a burgeoning community for this: http://kinecthacks.net/
6. Mobile Really Race Heats Up:
I am following this somewhat, but our house is certainly not "bleeding edge" with our mobile phones. My daughter is on a pay-as-you-go plan, the cheapest service for what she needs - texting and very little voice calls for $15/month. My wife has a relatively old phone, and she is on a pick-5 plan with unlimited texts (no data). What she likes most about the phone is the large number buttons, which makes me wonder about the aging demographic and when the mobility companies will start catering directly to people who shouldn't need to put on their reading glasses to send/read a text or make a phone call.
My (non-smart) phone has a full qwerty keyboard (about the size of a Blackberry) and I have still refused to read/send email from my phone. I do find myself using the web occasionally from my phone, but primarily I use my phone for texts and voice (in that order). With those limited phones, I still pay between $120-$150 per month. That seems crazy, and I can't imagine a decent plan for a smart phone would reduce my costs. Add $30-40 per month for my landline that hardly ever gets used anymore, and I have long since concluded that I pay MTS too much (but changing providers probably wouldn't reduce anything either).
What I would love as a feature on my phone: voice recognition for texts - I speak and the phone types. Or the phone reads aloud the texts that I receive.
7. Cloud Apps will gain momentum:
This is only recently that I have looked at Windows Azure, and it has changed the way I think of software architectures. The development experience "just worked" - things that I thought would be pretty complex to do (configure Visual Studio 2010 to deploy an app to the cloud) worked first try, and pretty darn simply. The large multi-national company that I am currently working on a project for may never use a public cloud for their applications, but they are starting to use Verizon cloud services, and I have already talked to some people there about using the Azure app fabric in a corporate cloud and how it would change their IT and Development processes significantly.
8. Storage Class Memory:
I would so love to buy an SSD drive for my laptop. That would be sweet. 'Nuff said.
9. Another Stage of Social Networking:
I am a Facebook user. I probably browse it a dozen times a day. I don't post as much on a regular basis, but Facebook has changed the way I keep track of my friends and family and former schoolmates.
10. In Vehicle Experience will spark new dimension:
I have a relatively new vehicle (2007), and I am guessing the next brand new vehicle I buy may not be for another 5 years or more. Since my last purchase, a number of technologies have become more common in vehicles:
easily accessible auxiliary connections for MP3 players (mine has an "Aux" selection button on the front and the connections for it in the back)
GPS-assisted navigation/mapping (I use Microsoft Streets and Trips but the laptop is awkward and requires power bricks, etc). The built-in ones or the after-market ones are much more convenient. I remember travelling in the 90's in foreign cities in rental cars and being stressed about finding the hotel or the training center. GPS and Google/Bing Maps and MS Streets and Trips has tamed that stress.
Bluetooth integration for mobile phones. I've seen this work, seems pretty nice.
Ford/Microsoft Sync - I haven't seen this first hand, but I suspect I would like it.
11. Learning Content:
I have recently taken several Microsoft exams, after a hiatus of several years. I can't believe how difficult it is to schedule these things. It is easier for me to schedule an exam when I am travelling for work in St. Louis than it is to take it in Winnipeg. Also, I can't quote my MCT number on the Prometric website to get my MCT exam discount when booking an exam.
OK, I'm going to add one "pet peeve" of mine here, not as a prediction, but as a "I hope this gets better in 2011":
Managing usernames and passwords
For all the things I do online or with my credit and debit cards electronically, I have a hard time managing my usernames and passwords and PINs. My recently replaced credit card now has a chip built in, and it required me to set a PIN (this is a step up from some previous cards that have *told me* the PIN to use). However, the PIN was limited to 5 digits, and my "normal" PIN that I use on other cards is 6 digits. Needless to say, I have had that card locked out and the PIN reset a number of times because I couldn't remember the PIN for it. And to access it online, I cannot use the card number for the account, the provider created me a new account number to use for web access. That's more secure, I suppose, but now I have to "write down" that account number somewhere, and I have an encrypted file that contains a bunch of those accounts and their passwords stored, hopefully securely. The list of those usernames/passwords is growing, and becoming more unmanageable for me every month it seems.
However, the prospect of having "one key to rule them all" doesn't make me feel any better either. I don't know what the solution is here, but I hope this gets better for me in 2011.