Every January, the Marco.org forum members assemble a list of predictions for the coming year. We're still working on this year's list, but here's our list for 2004, based on this forum thread. Overall, we weren't too far off. Here are the highlights:
The US won't start any new wars.
Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 will come out, and Half-Life 2 will be considerably better.
Half-Life 2 will be released in May, not the current release date of April. Doom 3 will beat it to the market, which will steal a lot of Half-Life 2's fanfare.
Few weapons of mass destruction will be found.
Music piracy will spread, and the authorities and the pirates will get more and more annoyed at eachother, but things won't boil over this year.
Some fool will be elected.
There will be a medium scale terrorist attack.
Microsoft will come up with a new version of Windows, and it will look more like the classic sort instead of the XP sort in terms of colors and style.
Howard Dean will be elected as our next president, but he will not be the man inaugurated in January 2005. Bush will use his family's influence to buy the election again.
Intel's Pentium 4 "E" (Prescott) will be too hot and not fast enough to justify its cost. Its sales will be marginal and people will make jokes about its high heat dissipation.
Intel will release a 64-bit extension to its desktop chips, but it will not use the AMD64 instructions. They will try to use their huge market share to convince Microsoft to make a 64-bit version of Windows for their new instruction set, and Microsoft will politely say "Screw you."
Athlon 64 will continue to have a slow start and will always be slightly behind the P4 in price/performance ratio. 64-bit Windows will not be available for purchase during the first half of the year, which may be due to politics between Microsoft and Intel.
Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) will be delayed past its current release date of November.
We will see slow but steady growth of Tablet PCs and absolutely no growth of Media Center PCs.
DVD+R9, the dual-layered DVD+R discs, won't be available until at least June (Philips has promised their release by April). They will be very expensive with bad DVD player compatibility.
Another company will buy and absorb/dissolve Gateway, or it will undergo severe changes that will essentially remove it from the PC market (for example, they may decide to sell only consumer electronics).
U.S. call centers will continue to be outsourced to India. Calling any major computer company will still result in talking to Habib in Bangalore. Non-computer companies will see the big savings here and start outsourcing their bitch-support lines as well. Soon it will become standard practice to redirect expensive call centers (mostly those dealing with “customer support”) to India. Any time you need to be walked through something that might take a while, or any time you wish to make a complaint, arrange for a return/refund, etc., you will be redirected to India in an attempt by the company to save a lot of money and get you to drop your complaint because you can't understand the person on the phone at all. People will bitch about this, but they won't organize themselves and take any real actions against it, letting it become an accepted part of consumer life.
Software companies will continue to outsource programmers to India, and most of my graduating Computer Science class will have trouble finding non-academic computer-related work.
A new Windows will not come out this year. Or next year. We will see Longhorn (aka Windows XP SE) in 2006. And it will cost $200.
The Democrats are going to get clobbered this November. Which is a shame. Especially because they are up against Bush, who is not only running for office, but running for the title of Worst President Ever. Only a big surprise, such as Hillary entering the race, can save them.
The RIAA will find a new way to get what they want: your consumer rights and your money. The trend towards licences replacing ownership will continue. Consumers will continue to be crushed until some time in the future when they revolt and dissolve corporations or else are killed off, but that won't happen in 2004.
Cellphones will become so ubiquitous I'll be forced to get one. People will look at me funny when I say I don't have one, as if I said I don't have a toilet or running water.
Tablet PC market share will grow, but will not being replacing typical laptops for several more years.
AMD will reclaim significant marketshare lost to Intel because of problems with the Prescott, giving AMD 3-4 months of unchallenged processor expansion in the first quarter. AMD, if you want to live, run with this now as far as you possibly can.
Microsoft will continue to delay 64-bit Windows for no good reason. Linux will continue to make small, unsettling inroads into MS's marketshare, stealing much of the high end business market. Workstations are next. Forget about home users, though, for a long time.
Microsoft will release a new version of Internet Explorer which, again, fails to do anything revolutionary. Like tabs. Or FTP that doesn't suck. Or opening a new window from Favorites. Come on, guys, this shold be obvious.
(Jason helped evaluate the international events in Dan's predictions, since I don't know anything about the world.)
Dean wins Democrat's nomination then pulls a McGovern. Clark runs independently and pulls a Perot.
Most of Iraq is stabalized. A constitutional convention has started. France whines about it for some technicality. One major attack will succeed in either killing 20-30 Americans, 30-50 international workers/observers/journalists, or 150-200 Iraqis.
Not a whole lot will happen in Afghanistan. We'll hear about it occasionally. There will be occasional skirmishes. The country will remain underdeveloped. Kabul be essentially a city-state.
North Korea will brag about its nuclear power. The world won't really care. North Korea just wants a hug.
Chirac will receive international censure for infringing on religious liberties. France, and only France, will consider France a leader in international politics.
Iran will partially comply with international weapons inspectors. It will be enough to avoid war. Moderates will gain influence as its citizens see the stabalization of a more liberal Iraq.
There will be fewer suicide attacks on civilians in Israel/Palestine. Sharon's party will lose influence to more moderate groups.
Gadafi will astound the world by pandering to U.S. interests.
Lebannon will become the "new Iraq" except that it won't have any influence at all. It will be respected for standing up to the United States, However, it won't really stand up to the United States. It will do whatever the United States says, then flick it off behind its back.