"Are you Madame Sinclair, the fortune teller? I really need your help. I have to write a column looking ahead to technology in 2010, and my predictions are coming up empty."
"Yes, I am Madame Sinclair, and I can help you with your predictions. But first I would like to let you know that I am running a special. For just $1,000 you get a full year of readings. I am calling it the Sinclair 1000. Interested?"
"Um, no, that's OK. Let's just stick to the 2010 technology predictions."
"Yes, yes, of course. Madame Sinclair knew that you would say this, but I have to ask or my business partner gets angry.
"So, what do we see in 2010? It is foggy ... wait! I see, I see ... a new sitcom about vampires starring Kevin James and Brad Garrett as two bloodsuckers looking for love in the big city. It's called 'Life Sucks.'"
"Madame Sinclair, can we stick to the technology predictions?"
"Yes, yes. It's coming ... I see four letters and a number ...homl, mlmt ..."
"Is it HTML?"
"Yes, that's it. HTML 5. As this next version of the language of the Web moves closer to becoming a full standard, more browsers and Web applications will take advantage of its capabilities, leading to improved use of media, more interactivity and greater desktop integration-all of which will move us closer to the reality of the Web as operating system."
"That's good. I can use that. What else?"
"It is not clear. I see ... Books? ... Bricks? ... Slates? ... Oh, tablets! Yes, tablets will be big news in 2010. Major vendors will once again be pushing the tablet as a PC. They will be interesting, and show promise as entertainment and media devices. But they will fail to make inroads in business and daily computer use, where, let's face it, you really need a keyboard-at least until you can use your mind to input text into a computer. Would you like to know what year that will happen?"
"Um, no. Let's stick to 2010 for now. Do you see anything else?"
"I am looking. This is strange. My vision is cloudy, very cloudy. Oh, wait! It is the cloud that I am seeing! The continued push to use cloud computing in all aspects of business and personal computing will suffer a few setbacks in 2010, as high-profile data losses and outages lead many to find that they can't always rely on applications and data in the cloud to get their business done.
"Ah, now the visions are coming fast. Google will face regulatory challenges on the Chrome OS because it can't use third-party Web browsers. The continued use of augmented reality to mix real-world places and objects with the virtual world will lead to major privacy violations. Major ISPs and wireless carriers will pull out all of their lobbying weapons to try to stop network neutrality. And Megan Fox will start dating Steve Wozniak."
"OK, Madame Sinclair was kidding with that last one. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. So, has Madame Sinclair given you enough of a look into the future?"
"Yeah, I think I can use this. Do you have any other predictions?"
"Well, Madame Sinclair can tell you that Facebook will make changes to its interface that will annoy many users and lead to petition drives to roll back the changes, but you don't have to be a fortune teller to know that."
Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.