Warning: If you prefer your DevCentral blog posts to be purely technical, move along, you won't like this post. If you like tech conjecture, then read on...

 

We're at an interesting juxtaposition in world history, and it's worth taking a second to point it out.

This came to me while I was pondering the concept that while I think nostalgically of locations, my children - particularly the as-yet-unborn child - will think nostalgically of websites that are gone.

My Grandmother lived from the 1880s to the 1980s, possibly seeing the largest volume of change in world history. She watched cars, radios, television, and nuclear bombs come along.

And she has nothing on us. My electric meter is now read via IP (not ethernet, but IP. I know, I lead the IT part of that project in its formative years), cable is essentially IP at this point, television shows can be watched online, and all of those bands that would never have made it into the studio because they didn't meet approval of some producer are putting their stuff online without the recording industry's help. Cell phone access is nearly ubiquitous world-wide (except at my house), and your new BMW may well be running Windows (ROTFL). Your employees can work almost anywhere - particularly your IT employees - and be as productive as if they were in the office. As long as they don't need to be involved in office politics anyway.

But we're not planning the future, we're letting it happen. No one can tell you what OS you'll be running on your corporate desktops in even as little as ten years. They can tell you it won't be Vista, but not much beyond that. How much storage will you need in a decade? No one knows. How much internal bandwidth will you be consuming ten years from now? Wild guesses. What will your infrastructure look like? As always, there are those heralding the end of people-staffed IT, but don't hold your breath. After umpteen calls for the end of software developers, we still need more. The funny part of this is that, should trends continue, you're unlikely to be at your current in ten years, so no surprise you're not planning for it.

There are some certainties, unless there is a worldwide meltdown, bandwidth needs will continue to grow, storage needs will continue to grow, and the need for load balancing/remote access/security products will continue to grow.

But ponder the world your children will work in when they're 40 for a moment. It can really take you down an interesting line of conjecture. My Internship in college was at a regional phone company with an old Mitel switch. Not only is the phone company gone, no one uses that switching gear in the US anymore. That's only been 15 years. Seven years ago Lori and I helped define and presented on the Spatial Data Transfer Standard - the "newest standard" in GIS file formats. Today it is being considered for phasing out at the US FGDC. After the government spent millions getting it into place, the new way of thinking about maps that it promoted spawned innovations that have overtaken it.

I, for one, am looking forward to the next fifteen to twenty years. There is a school of thought that believes the higher the rate of innovation, the higher it will be tomorrow as people stand upon each others' shoulders. At the current rate, the world will be a very interesting and different place by the time I retire. As Rush said "not the world we thought we would inherit".

But with companies like F5 staying on top of the change in their areas of expertise and branching out at times that it makes sense, you'll be covered from the technical perspective. The social aspect will be rougher - but we as human beings will figure it out, we always do.

 

Don.

Reading The Battered Bastards of Bastogne, Koskimaki; Presidio Press