Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free
Tech predictions for 2014
Categories: Tech misc

Just recently, I came across a list of my NY resolutions from a year or two ago, and it was fun to see how many I’d accomplished (around half, not bad). So, this year I’ll make a couple of techie predictions, and add on some geek resolutions too.

Here’s what I’d like to see in the tech space for 2014:

  • Ubuntu Mobile goes stable, and a number of Chinese device manufacturers start testing their hardware on Ubuntu as well as Android. The increased processing power available on tablet devices these days will mean that for lightweight tasks (web browsing, sending an email, checking the diary) the tablet can semi-replace both the desktop and the laptop, even if users usually plug it into a HD monitor at home.
  • There are a number of laptops emerging supplied with F/OSS BIOS systems, which is a positive step for software freedom. However, the ones I’ve seen are of relatively old specification – hopefully we’ll start to see the likes of Coreboot being applied to high-end Linux machines, like the Dell XPS 13 or the Darter Ultrathin.
  • The general availability of decent laptops with Linux pre-installed (or at least without an operating system) is woeful at present. The makers of the Darter are bucking that trend, but don’t have much in the way of worldwide distribution. So, 2014 would be a great year for hardware manufacturers to start releasing some Linux-tested laptops – and for those with touch-screens, they can make Ubuntu Touch their default distro.
  • I am rather hoping that virtualisation will start coming into the mainstream, even if it is transparently integrated into the OS environment. Rather than running a browser on a desktop, users run a browser on a virtual machine on a desktop. The VM is cloned every day, in the background. Then, if a virus is downloaded and starts sending spam, the user just shuts down the VM, destroys it, and restores one from the day before. Data is kept on a “network drive” on the host machine, and so is not at risk of being wound back.
  • In a similar way, it would be great to see system build tools, like Vagrant, for ordinary computing environments. All operating systems tend to get “tired” as the disks fill up, log files are not pared down, disks are not defragged, registry trees are not rebuilt, and so on. Coupled with the idea of working permanently in a VM, imagine if a user could press a button and their VM would be (re-)configured for them. All the user’s preferred system settings, applications, application settings etc, all re-build from a clean install – and quick enough to do once a fortnight!

So now to a couple of geek resolutions, to keep me on track:

  • I’ll release a freely available PHP tutorial, build in around 70 commits, with background discussion and code diffs for each stage. This is intended to counter the dearth of good and up-to-date PHP tutorials available on the web, and to give people something to practice when the subject comes up on Stack Overflow. I suspect this endeavour is quite substantial – if each commit takes up at least a traditional printed A4 page (as it will do, with code changes) then I’m looking at a tutorial of 45-ish pages. Thankfully it won’t actually be printed!
  • Next, I’ll get back to a scraper-based job website, currently in progress.

If I manage both of those before the year is out – and I really ought to – then I’ll add to this list.

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