The world has changed, and the clock has rolled back to IBM of the 1970s. Everyone wants to own their own stack, from software to hardware to services.
500 words into the future
Unapologetically opinionated views on technology, in the office and out
Simon Bisson is a freelance technology journalist. He specialises in architecture and enterprise IT. He ran one of the UK's first national ISPs and moved to writing around the time of the collapse of the first dotcom boom. He still writes code.
Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.
Experts are valuable. Anyone can have an opinion and you can find instructions for doing a great many things online (including brain surgery, I'm told) but while I'm a maker, a crafter and a DIY fan, I also believe that it's not just that experts can do it faster - they can often do it better.
I don't want to think about how many email messages I get a day, but in 2010 it was over 10,000 messages that I didn't delete on sight (or didn't get around to deleting during the year). I know that because while I've never declared email bankruptcy and deleted the lot (old messages are far too useful), I do like to start the new year with at least the feeling of clearing the decks.
After the furore at the end of last year of the removal of Drive Extender from Windows Home Server "Vail" and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials things have gone quiet in Redmond. The last few years have seen Microsoft advertising Home Servers all over CES, with its "Mommy, Why Is There A Server In The House" and "Home Server Feng Shui" campaigns, but this year there was nothing.
Thinking about WHATWG's rather Orwellian approach to the specification formerly known as HTML 5, where the 'specification' becomes a 'living...
The discussion about Google dropping support for H.264 produced some comments that complaints about WebM ignored the inherent advantage and goodness of openness - as well as suggestions that given that WebM was originally developed as the proprietary, commercial VP8 codec and hasn't been submitted for formal standardisation, calling it more open than an open but commercial standard really depends on your definition of open.
Walking the show floor at CES this year it was clear that there were more people there than the last couple of years (and most of them seemed to be standing in front of the Microsoft stand watching other attendees play Kinect). The Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic stands were also crowded all week, taxi and bus lines were far longer than last year, show rates at hotels sold out early in December and most restaurants had queues for tables again - which we hadn't seen since 2008.
Sometimes the other shoe of an executive's departure drops pretty quickly. We wondered why the CEO of AMD was on his way out right after what seemed like a pretty successful CES for the combined CPU and GPU that AMD dubs an 'advanced' processor unit (it's last year's discrete GPU at a bargain price and with good battery life) in favour of someone who the company thinks can deliver "significant growth, establish market leadership and generate superior financial returns".
So that was CES 2011. We’re finally sat in our hotel room resting our feet, and calculating the number of steps and miles walked.
The Facebook shorthand for unusual relationships applies well to what used to be known as Wintel: despite flirtations with Alpha and Power PC and other processors, for the last few years Windows has been synonymous with Intel x86 and compatible processors. But Intel hasn't been exactly monogamous.