This time last year I gazed into my crystal ball and made a bunch of predictions about what we may see in 2008. I actually don’t think that I did too badly at all.
- Contactless cash will take off.
Okay, this one didn’t really come to fruition although Barclaycard did start pushing their OneTouch scheme towards the end of October.
- Microsoft release IE8 . . . and it doesn’t suck.
The first Beta of IE8 was release at the start of March. Last week, Microsoft officially announced on the IEBlog that, surprise surprise, their new browser will be delayed until 2009. IE8 only meets ACID2 at a time when other browsers started to pass ACID3. Style sheet support has been vastly improved with the squashing of lots of bugs and even the inclusion of some CSS3 features. The DOM has been enhanced to bring Internet Explorer into line with the implementation of other browsers. Unfortunately, SVG appears to be a non-starter as far as Microsoft are concerned maybe they see it as a threat to Silverlight?
- There will be a massive hack of a major financial institution.
The financial institutions did a pretty good job of screwing themselves this year so there was no real need for the attentions of hackers. Besides, the banks appear not to have much money so they may not be as an attractive target!
There wasn’t much exposure in the news but the World Bank has been subject to an ongoing cyber attack for most of the year. It has been described as being potentially the worst security breach ever with the hackers having access to pretty much everything.
- The Internet will start to have serious problems.
Technological advances have nullified this threat to a certain extent. A breakthrough in photonic switching combined with a large investment in undersea cabing promise to keep the pipes unclogged for a good while yet.
Some say that the predicted data “exaflood” isn’t actually happening at all. Yet, that is. BitTorrent traffic soared by almost a quarter in the first half of this year. Verizon have been looking at developing P4P to ease the load on their network. Decentralised BitTorrent has also emerged as a thorn in the side of ISPs and copyright owners. More research has taken place looking to usher forth the next generation of P2P video delivery: live BitTorrent streaming.
- Efficient hydrogen storage.
As I said at the time, this one was a bit of a stab in the dark. It turns out that the consensus on hydrogen powered vehicles is that they won’t make much difference for decades yet. Research continues all the same in an attempt to slash the timescales involved in getting hydrogen adopted as a popular fuel source. The UK’s first hydrogen fuel station did open this year though.
This year did in fact see a breakthrough in hydrogen storage as I guessed. It turns out that buckyballs can hold an astonishing amount of hydrogen. A new type of solar cell has been developed that produces hydrogen from water directly. The advent of “Black Silicon” has promise for further development of solar power. Another method of building photovoltaic cells also moved us closer to harnessing renewable energy with a new record of nearly 41% efficiency. Hydrogen and the sun have been combined by Lonnie Johnson (the inventor of the Super Soaker no less) to produce a solid-state heat engine that could potentially achieve over 60% efficiency.