2009: what to expect (or at least hope for)

Zack Whittaker is still trying to work out where he lives, after one massive new year party last night. This post was written a few days ago.

Zack Whittaker is still trying to work out where he lives, after one massive new year party last night. This post was written a few days ago. 

Since becoming a student, my eyes have been wide-opened to the world. Through my research, learning, understanding and general mayhem, I realised my perspective on the world of "students and technology" isn't in reality what it should be.

We can "want" all we like, but students need to focus on what they "need". Super-fast Internet speeds aren't always needed, but having open access to academia in places where freedom is restricted is a necessity.

Faster broadband speeds

Education nowadays relies on the Internet as a major source of academia, journal articles and research. As I've previously shown, broadband is essential to some students. Most academic institutions have at least a 1GB line running into the campus, but with the rise of optic cables, we could be seeing faster broadband in the home.

The rise of ADSL2+ which can enable speeds of up to 24Mbps, depending on line quality and distance to the telephone exchange, could open up the floodgates to new ideas, academic research, and on-campus cloud computing which I shall explain shortly.

Restrictions lifted on Chinese academics

There has been mass controversy in regards to Internet democracy and freedom of speech in China; a discussion I don't particularly want to dive into too much myself. Whilst I can understand why the Chinese government does this, I condone such behaviour.

The "great firewall of China" doesn't just have cause-and-effect on citizens, but university students, learners and academics. One of my criminology lecturers left China because the work she wanted to conduct simply couldn't be undertaken in the environment she lived in.

I feel more needs to be done from democratically-developed countries to lift the restrictions imposed on academics - as a first step towards Internet freedom in the region. I know many will agree with my sentiments on this topic.

Windows 7 and multi-touch

Windows 7 will be the first operating system which fully supports multi-touch features. This could well be the revolution we are looking for; high performance machines, and full human-interaction with models on display. Just take a minute to think; a medical student fully examining a 3D model of a body, an engineering student pushing down on a virtual chassis to see the load bearings, or an architecture student brushing a building as if it was a high wind. I have high hopes for

A new theory as to why we're here

When I first heard of the Large Hadron Collider, I thought it was a cocktail drink... "larghadron colada"... instead, it could hold the key to the Big Bang, and essentially why we are here. Crikey, that would be a bit strange; a cocktail which could end civilisation as we know it, or as we call it, "an ordinary Friday night in Manchester."

The LHC, if it works, could literally blow open the world of physics as we know it, and revolutionise the way we think about the universe. After the disappointing breakdown shortly after it was first turned on, we can expect the LHC to power up again in the summer.

Cloud computing reliability and stability

The ability to access your files from anywhere and everywhere is no longer a thing of the past. Using mesh technology, linking and connecting your devices together, working from home and the university library becomes a seamless, lossless experience.

With Windows Azure, a highly scalable platform for developing web applications, cloud computing can be brought to the campus, essentially creating a "cloud campus". There will no more web browsing directories of files, mapping of network drives, VPN or FTP. The power of the mesh shall be realised in 2009, and I hope, as all students should, that universities jump on the mesh bandwagon and create studying a more meshified experience.

Micro-blogging/emailing to rocket

I'm not a huge fan of Twitter, and still don't see the point. But after reading an article on micro-emailing by my good friend, Jennifer Leggio, it made me think about the power on how "shorter is power".

University students are busy, busy people. When we're not struggling to cope with our caffeine overdoses as we scribble down the final words of our essays, or partying like its 1988, we're emailing and organising our lives. Shorter essays are always harder to write because of the concise nature of what is being written. Having shorter, more information packed into one short space could take off as being "more efficient and more powerful communications".

We will just have to wait and see. Let me know what you think.


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