five years from now…..

Some days I wish I had a crystal ball and could predict what will happen five years from now. If I could look into the future, I would know what to do today. Unfortunately, five years from now I know a few things are given but a few things are still hazy. For example, I know that my 2002 VW Jetta will be gasping it’s last breath and my daughter will need to replace it during her freshman year in college. I know that my wife’s three year old car will be eight years old and probably on it’s second clutch by then. I’m not really sure what my next new car will be. Electric? Hybrid? Another Diesel? Who knows. That decision isn’t until December of this year.

Right now I am looking at getting a new home computer at the end of the summer. Since my daughter is starting high school, should I get her a laptop? Her new school provides computers so why get her one? Should I invest in a cloud computer running Windows and let her remotely log into it? The cost of an Amazon Windows system is $100/month which comes out to $1200/year. I can buy a pretty nice computer for that much considering I get a new computer every three years. That says that I could spend $3600 on a new computer today and save money. Sigh, if I could only convince my wife that the $2700 Mac Laptop is a cheap solution, I would have one now. The big drawback to a hosted Windows system is that things like USB drives and audio don’t really work well remotely. Considering the integration of iPod devices into this environment, I guess we will need to stick with a physical device at home.

Speaking of iPods and iPhones, I commented on this in my personal blog, It seems like the iPhone is becoming more and more part of my life. We just released an ldap application that allows me to look up the office phone and cell phone of anyone in the company. It also gives me a photo of the person. Unfortunately, it does not allow me to save this into my contact list locally. Next version I guess. I wish I could predict what my phone would look like in five years. It would make things much easier. Will it be just a slimmer version of the iPhone? Will it be something like the Shuffle and be voice activated? Will it be more like the Kindle and a hybrid between a tablet, a book reader, and a cell phone? My dream device would be a color Kindle with 1T of storage that recognized voice commands, does bluetooth stereo, allows me to connect with a VPN client, plays my iTunes songs, and connects to my virtual server instances in the cloud. My gut tells me that we are a couple of years away from something like this, not five years. Oh yea, did I mention that I want it to integrate with my new car so that I get a heads up display on the dash or windshield that is voice activated?

It is fun looking into the future and dreaming. Unfortunately, not many people are doing this these days. Many are looking over their shoulder and trying to keep a low profile. My recommendation is that now is the time to be bold. Do something different and something that will get you noticed. Play with some new software. Start a new skunk-works project that might make a difference some day. I personally have been playing with the Amazon Cloud because for very little money I can install some of our technology and see how well it works for me and for some of our customers. I am using it to teach some seminars and to do some proof of concepts. Some of my work has gotten noticed.

Five years from now what are your dreams? Staying at the same job and being secure? Dealing with the change that others force upon you? Are you leading the charge or are you the Cobol programmer that keeps the old stuff running? Personally, I want to be the change agent. I drive a Diesel VW because it gets better gas mileage than a Prius. I blog and have created my own wiki pages internal to Oracle to encourage people to contribute. I play with new technology to see if it enhances my life or makes it worse. I can honestly say that the iPhone has improved my life. I just need to stop using it at the dinner table and talk with my family.