Time to quit, but not without a dig

After writing this column 51 times a year for eight years, I've finally decided to quit while I'm still ahead.

After writing this column 51 times a year for eight years, I've finally decided to quit while I'm still ahead.

The publications in which it runs can now look forward to all those subscriptions not being cancelled by readers whom I annoy. And I can look forward to not having a weekly deadline.

Having readers is a high honour. So I'm going to miss you. And I can't help hoping you're going to miss me too.

But not quite yet. I'm gathering items for technology's big US autumn 2000 lineup, which will include The Final Episode of From the Ether later this month.

So let's get started.

The November US presidential elections: I invented the Internet with Al Gore at Harvard in the early 1970s - and it still runs on many of our original ALGORithms, which encapsulates why in November you should vote for Governor George W Bush.

Many will vote against Gore for the wrong reason. They hope Bush will save Microsoft from the Clinton-Gore administration's antitrust watchdogs. Their votes will be welcome anyway.

Microsoft's antitrust problems: Technology today is led by three great monopolies - Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. Only one, the bad boy, has an antitrust problem.

I'm still hoping Microsoft president and chief executive Steve Ballmer will have an antitrust epiphany. First he should fire his legal beagles for their disastrous results to date. Then it's time to settle in Seattle.

Privacy: Internet privacy will be autumn this year. And next autumn. And the autumn after that.

For one thing, there are two kinds of privacy paranoids. There are those who think corporations are dangerous to our privacy.

And there are those, like me, who worry more about governments. What happened to all those unencrypted Census 2000 long forms that went missing?

We are right to worry about what both corporations and governments will do to our privacy.

GHz microprocessors: On the bright side, technology's fall 2000 lineup will feature waves of GHz-plus microprocessors.

It will be hard to argue that they will do much for word processing or spreadsheets. It will be exciting to explore new application frontiers above 1GHz.

Linux v Windows: Is Linux killing Windows? Unix maybe, but not Windows.

The technology press is now high on Linux. Open-sourcerers, this is not good for you.

The press turns on its darlings. Linux stocks are already way, way down (but not all the way down) from their highs.

Disappointments will dominate this autumn as Linux fails to meet high expectations, as happened, for example, to the so-called push companies.

Neither Windows nor Linux is likely to be the operating system of the future. Watch for several new post-PC platforms to take their turns as media darlings this autumn.

Push: Remember the day Web browsing was suddenly called pull? And when pull was supposed to be surpassed by PointCast (RIP) and the next big thing, called push?

Well, push will be big again this autumn. Few companies will call it push, but push they will. Hey, even this column is emailed to 75,000 US readers who have requested that it be pushed.

Peer-to-peer computing: Some call it distributed, others community, others peer-to-peer, but it's back and it's big.

The pendulum continues to swing between centralised and decentralised.

This is of course a false dichotomy. But Napster and similar "sharing" systems have put peer-to-peer into prime time for the autumn 2000 lineup. There are many delightful peer-to-peer surprises ahead.

Wireless: Getting rid of wires is a perennial in various lineups. Perhaps this autumn a demo of a cellphone browsing the Web might actually work twice, at which point it will be obvious you'd never want to do that.

That's it this week for autumn 2000. What have I missed? Please push me something strong for The Final Episode, and, oh, for Agenda in October (www.agendaweb.com).

Or, if it's good riddance you're into, go ahead, take your best shot at metcalfe@infoworld.com.

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