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In 2006…

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The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.

Last year, I made a list of predictions for the year of 2006.

I predicted that at least 4 of them would come true.  Let’s see what happened!

1. Prediction: The CAN-SPAM Act will have little effect on the growing problem of spam, even with New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer spearheading the “movement”

Results: The CAN-SPAM act did little to stop illegitimate spam (to which we actually saw an increase, according to various statistics).  The CAN-SPAM act has had an effect on how legitimate mailings are regulated to some degree.

Conclusion: 90% Correct.

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2. Prediction: The recording industry will lose a lawsuit, thus prompting a review of their lawsuit practices.

Results: The recording industry has pulled a number of questionable moves, but none of which has prompted a review of their practices.  I think I’ll leave this one for next year

Conclusion: Still pending.

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3. Prediction: CPU speeds will officially hit 4 GHz.

Results:  Intel was closest to hitting the 4GHz mark, but discovered serious overheating problems.  Intel dropped the idea of increasing speed and followed AMD’s lead with dual core technology (and quad-core CPUs on the way).

Conclusion: Way off.

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4. Prediction: A “finalized”, “working” version of ATi CrossFire will hit store shelves.

Results:  A stable release hit store shelves around October/November.

Concusion: Correct

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5. Prediction: Windows Vista will face a delay that pushes back the release date.

Results:  There was not only one delay, but several that pushed back the official release date past the end of the year into 2007.

Conclusion: Obvious.

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6. Prediction: Yahoo, in a surprise move, will come out with a new feature, beating Google to the punch.

Results: As far as I could tell, Yahoo didn’t produce anything earth shattering that Google scrambled to duplicate.  Yahoo did, however, release their 360 social networking service, but it hasn’t really caught on.  Google, on the other hand, has come out with a number of services that have been quickly gaining popularity over the past year (Spreadsheets, Calendar, Writely, etc)

Conclusion: Close, but no cigar.

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7. Prediction: eBay will add a Skype option to its auctions as another means to contact sellers (other than by email).

Results: eBay has evolved a considerable amount in the past year, and Skype has certainly gained popularity (VOIP in general certainly has).  So, I’d like to draw your attention to: http://pages.ebay.com/skype/

Conclusion: 100% Correct

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8. Prediction: Podcasts will increase in popularity, and you’ll start to find advertisements in them (as you would on the radio) in the latter half of 2006.

Results: Podcasts have definitely seen a jump in popularity, but as for including advertising like a regular radio show?I haven’t seen an example of that myself.

Conclusion: 50% Correct.

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9. Prediction: Torrents will begin to gain popularity in terms of using them as an alternative to server mirrors for file downloads.

Results:  Torrents have gained popularity in the last year, but not so much as an alternative to mirror servers–torrents are too complex for that (however, the Opera browser now has an easy-to-use torrent manager).  Torrents have also made leaps and bounds in the legal distribution of multimedia content (BitTorrent teamed up with a number of movie studios), but they are still far from being considered as mainstream as an HTTP download.

Conclusion: 75% Wrong.

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10. Prediction: DVD burners will become as common-place in prebuilt machines as CD-RW’s are currently.

Results:  At the start of 2006, this was already becoming the case, so this ended up being a gimme.

Conclusion: A gimme.

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So, the grand total is 5 correct, with the addition of a partial one correct, and 4 mostly or completely wrong.  Not too shabby.  So what about 2007?  I’ll be bringing you those predictions in next week’s newsletter after we ring in the new year!

(Originally published in the pcmech.com newsletter)