Predictions for 2010

Everybody’s got ’em. Here’s mine:

What Will Change Radically:

  1. Ebooks. In 2009 they really started taking off. With the release of Apple’s Tablet, the Nook finally appearing in stores, and Borders launching their own reader/ebook service, the world of publishing will finally start lurching into the 21st century.
  2. The OS Wars. With the release of Google’s Chrome OS netbooks, coupled with the increasing market share of Android on smartphones, the internet revolution will be complete. Mac vs Windows won’t matter as much to users anymore, since everything important (email, documents, reading) will either work on their phone or in their browser. Only coders and gamers will care about platforms as such anymore, since you’ll still need a full-featured OS to develop or play on.
  3. Online Publishing. The Nook and the Kindle are already experimenting with subscription-based magazine and newspaper content. This market will grow to replace the paper-based income streams for most newspapers and magazines. Some customers will still want their ad-based online content, and some will still want a physical copy, but most will switch over to the convenience of electronic versions. Publishers will also move in this space when they see it’s a way to replicate their old revenue streams in the new electronic age.

What Will Stay The Same:

  1. Sci-fi/Fantasy Publishing. While everyone else starts to pile on the ebook wagon, genre presses (especially the small ones, that could benefit the most from electronic distribution) will continue to take timid steps in the direction of electronic publishing, but refuse to embrace it.
  2. M$ dominance. Even though Google is pulling the rug out from under Windows, sheer inertia will keep them moving forward in the marketplace for the next year or two. That, and the videogame industry.
  3. Books. They won’t go anywhere. They’ll just finally be seen for what they are: 500-year-old relics that have a lot of nostalgic value, but don’t meet the needs of most people anymore.

What do you think? How far off am I?

UNR on HP Mini 110

I’ve been thinking about trying out Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the version of Ubuntu Linux made especially for netbooks like my HP MIni 110, for a while now. I was attracted to the idea of being able to run a real Linux distro on the netbook, as opposed to the tightly-controlled version that came on the Mini. HP’s version of Ubuntu–Mie–isn’t bad, so much as completely un-customizable: you can’t remove the screen-hogging front panels from the desktop, for instance, which left me staring a large blank space where Email was supposed to appear (I used Gmail, so a desktop-bound email program is useless to me).

So this week I finally bit the bullet, wiped the harddrive, and installed the latest version of UNR.

Thus far, things have gone well. I had some problems with wifi at first, but running the software updater and rebooting fixed that problem. I’ve been able to download and install Wine, which lets me use the Windows version of eReader for reading my ebooks. I’ve re-arranged the icons in the menus, ripped out some software I didn’t need, and in general had a good time customizing the hell out of the OS.

I feel like I’ve been given a new computer, one that’s more fun to use and easier to bend to my will. In the end, that’s always been the appeal of Linux to me: it puts power back in the hands of users, where it belongs.