Forget the (predictable) predictions for 2016. What’s here and happening right now? Perhaps, hiding behind the cloud (check) of ignorance, the rotting corpse of media disinterest or the red lit distractions of modern life, are things that may soon be obvious to all. Here’s my view of What Lies Beneath the fog, the decomposing bodies and those that still succeed in catching the eye.
Really, who cares about mobiles other than a young demographic right now. Innovation is scarce, prices are ridiculously high, functionality, lifespan and utility are low. The gaming rig I recently specified and bought, to play the most demanding PC games available today (for my son, honest) cost less than any of the current high-end phones. The obvious fact that a touch interface is great for consumers and simple, mass appeal applications but awful for work (real or otherwise) is finally sinking in.
Artificial functional restrictions and omissions exacerbate the dissatisfaction; your phone can somehow ‘transform and improve your life’ yet lacks rudimentary functions provided only through an untrusted (and untrustworthy) app. It reminds me of Notepad on Windows. I’d mention privacy but still, no-one outside of the IT field seems to care. For some numbers see this Register article (still no TLS which is getting on my wick): http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/05/want_new_smartphone_laptop_tablet_no/.
The iPad Pro pushes to the past with its heavy ‘artistic’ appeal. What goes for phones, goes for tablets; they should be better than a phone but well, they’re not.
Also in the MP3 player and network card category of disinterest, irrelevance and appathy are TVs, PCs, laptops, printers, servers and gaming consoles. No one cares, nor should they. Quite why IoT peaks anyone’s interest is beyond me.
Dell and EMC merging, HPE emerging, oh the excitement of reasonably priced commodity ToR switches and, where HPE are concerned, a bit of OpenFlow thrown in. I’ll buy it if I need it, it’s all just good enough.
Ciao Ciao Free
Free? Free of value, of morality, of shame and of responsibility? We all know what free really means in the consumer market these days, and whilst most still don’t care where privacy is concerned, the push back from many varied communities is growing in strength and concerted. I’ll take free when it’s the real thing; I don’t have to pay – with anything more than the time it takes to use the product or service.
On the enterprise side of the house, well, keep those sales people away from the CIO!
Free and Open Source Software
This isn’t free either but as anyone or any company finds out when they invest in the necessary time, the payback is well worth it. FOSS Won the war, on the quiet. Skillz are required, tin is not.
Who uses them? Everybody. Who uses them in production? Nobody? I think you’ll find that’s changed.
I remember Mike Bushong discussing this many years ago and the points he raised are as relevant as ever and debated often. If you don’t have a very, very nuanced view of what open can mean today, you’ll lose out. The stench of Deja Moo is strong, my ongoing disappointment even stronger.
Forget learning Python or programming; in isolation anyway. If OpenStack, Docker and all the rest are the future, you are not part of it. You might have a Github account but really, what are you contributing? Are you helping design the next iteration of the Linux TCP/IP stack, or having an influence on the next release of Neutron? I didn’t think so – neither am I; who is?
Coders and (to a lesser extent) sysadmins are ruling the new world and part time rookies are not making a difference (are our guru’s like Matt Oswalt?). Perhaps I just hate the fact I don’t have the time to even attempt to contribute and influence – assuming it’s possible. See this great article from Trevor Pott for another view and the great quote that gets to the heart of the matter: “Software-defined really means developer-controlled”.
Part of the daily fabric (check) of life yet not quite as certain as death and taxes, but close. Absolutely a utility although one typically provided by a cheap, ignored, insecure router/modem/WiFi-AP that is understood by few. A path to every good and bad aspect of human life. The invisible computer of legend; the network of our end in many a dystopian novel. World War III will involve bad weefee, autocarrot and default pisswords over helnet. Just there, everywhere and, when you really care, nowhere.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
It’s still all flaky, pointless, insecure, stupid utter shit. Give me a swarm of consumer funded drones that can deliver food to Syrians, not a WiFi enabled vacuum cleaner for Bowie’s sake.
Past its peak in the western world. A waste of time, a dilution of what ‘social’ really means. Over. For everyone it’s just an app; it’s still core to daily life for many, but perhaps as invisible as the internet in many ways. Profitable but no longer distinct.
Indicative of a real market and thirst for automation, SDN (and Linux too). I’m not sure a book or two will help prevent the irrelevance of the network engineer (see Codrz Rl) but its certainly a step in the right direction and might possibly motivate the first step for many. I think the authors are paid more for long titles!
- Network Programmability and Automation: Skills for the Next-Generation Network Engineer
- Programming and Automating Cisco Networks: A guide to network programmability and automation in the data center, campus, and WAN (Networking Technology)