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BLOG: New year, new you: The IT slob's road map for 2014

Robert X. Cringely | Jan. 3, 2014
Predictions, schmedictions -- here are the real changes we IT workhorses can expect in the new year

The cloud won't slow down in general, just in NSA-controlled territories
Dollars to digital donuts, entrepreneurs in various pirate economies are looking to build government-neutral data fortresses, which means 2014 will see the emergence of ultra-high-security, Teflon-coated, Swiss bank-style offshore clouds protected from anyone without authorized access. At first, they'll be welcomed by enterprises the world over -- until it comes out that pedophiles, criminals, and terrorists have petitioned the Pope to declare Edward Snowden a saint for his role as martyr-catalyst.

Corporations will follow the NSA's lead
You know it's going to happen. One side of their mouth will be spewing frothy, pro-privacy outrage, while out the other side will issue secret directives to take a page from the NSA's "How to Circumvent That Annoying Bill of Rights" handbook. Your boss isn't just going to track his customers six ways from Sunday -- he'll also start tracking you via your Facebook-style social media twitterizing, the GPS in that neat company smartphone you were given, context-keyed dips into your server-side email inbox, and backroom, strip club-lubricated deals with your corporate-sponsored health insurance executives to find out who is submitting those telltale psychiatric billings. Your Google Glass will report where you're looking during meetings, and those Angry Birds on your phablets are going to ask some very personal questions before your get to level X.

It's all coming in 2014, and it'll take a brigade of WikiLeak warrior-weenies before we're forced to face it. In fact, if you want to push your IT career forward in 2014, forget about that "learn to code" and devops hype and get into crypto and counter-crypto, a discipline that will exist if it doesn't already. The NSA will sponsor a surge of almost-secure, consumer-simple encryption technologies to satisfy public relations, and companies will need people who can secretly break them as soon as they're released. We're talking big bucks -- don't miss out.

BYOD will spark weekly psychotic episodes at corporate support centers
BlackBerry may be going the way of the dodo, but you're about to get slammed with BYOD requests for everything from Google Glass to the rumored iPad desktop (undoubtedly the result of way too many fanboys with unchecked rabies). Connectivity problems for Bluetooth-enabled underoos; smart watches that won't stop playing porn, even though the user never accessed those sites ("It started all by itself. I never go to those sites, sir. Nope, never, not me. Must be a Chinese attack."); and preschoolers who slice through your firewalls like hot knives through cheese spread using the VPN-enabled Windows 8 tablet that Daddy left out -- these are the kinds of complaints that "Dave" from customer service in Bangladesh will soon have to field. You can take only so much before you wind up on a high-rise roof with heavy artillery.


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