Philip Fierlinger, currently working for Xero, has won the crown (literally) as the blogger with the most potentially accurate, or perhaps amusingly foolhardy predictions for 2008.
The award, symbolised by a tacky plastic tiara, is given annually by software developers’ organisation Unlimited Potential.
Fierlinger’s predictions, at an UP meeting last week, include the rise of an open wi-fi billing platform which will identify a user with the Yahoo OpenID authentication scheme and bill them through a widely available service such as PayPal, then connect to whichever service is closest, saving the trouble of keeping accounts with multiple providers.
Presence detection will become a significant feature of social networking; your cellphone PDA or laptop will alert you if someone from your network is physically close at hand, he suggests.
Mesh networks, which link a device to its nearest networking machine and form a network on the fly, will start catching on, Fierlinger predicts. On the broader front, oil will hit $200 a barrel and despite the rise of biofuels more people than ever will work from home. An operating system will follow applications in being provided through the web.
Software driven materials will reshape themselves on command, so an ATM, for example, will grow new keys for each application. And we won’t know it yet, but 2008, he says, will mark the start of the robot uprising.
Less controversially, Fierlinger predicts Barack Obama and Helen Clark will win their respective elections, but Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast will resign in controversial circumstances.
Last year’s winner, Geekzone’s Mauricio Freitas, predicts “digital content will explode” in 2008 with most of us trading and a good few creating, videos and music. This will expose New Zealand’s internet for the fragile network it is. It will collapse frequently under the load and NZ ISPs “will continue to provide the worst customer service in the world” to those who complain.
Telecom will sell its network back to the government for $1 on the OnTrack railways principle and set up its main business in Australia, Freitas predicts. And the Queen will abdicate. Freitas made that predicition for 2007, but this year, he insists, it will really happen.
Political blogger and former InternetNZ vice-president David Farrar, in contrast to Fierlinger, foresees a National and Maori Party coalition government, which as an early measure will implement FTTM — fibre to the marae.
Other contenders were Tom Beard and Hamish MacEwan.