Looking back at Y2K from the Trump Era

Recently I came across an old column I wrote a decade ago on the 10th anniversary of Y2K. You can find it in my archive along with a thousand more, but I am also reproducing it, below. For those who have forgotten Y2K or are too young to remember it, the crisis was Climate Change for an earlier era. It was a very real global problem that turned out to be anticlimactic only because we as a society took heroic efforts to handle it. We should be so lucky today.

The column holds up fairly well, I think, and its major lessons are worth remembering. If anything, it’s even more relevant today because we are living in the Trump era of bombast […]

Not dead yet! What Bob Cringely has been up to…

A few days ago I tweeted something and a reader reacted, saying about Cringely, “I thought he was dead!” Not dead yet, but I should probably explain my disappearance a few months ago from life in print. I’ve just been too busy working for a living. How does a 67-year-old hack with three minor children recover from going blind, losing his home and business in a horrible fire (like 2,000 others, we are still fighting with insurance companies), while appeasing an angry crowd of Kickstarter supporters armed with pitchforks and shovels? In my case, I went looking for venture money to recapitalize MineServer and I simultaneously started a satellite launch company to fund […]

The Future of Television

How is a television like a fax machine? They are both obsolete.

Remember a time when nobody had a fax machine? Then suddenly everybody had a fax machine. And now nobody again has a fax machine. What would have previously come by fax today is a PDF attachment to an e-mail or text or to one of a number of messaging services. Well the same transformation is happening to traditional television and for generally similar reasons. And just as fax machines seemed to disappear in just a few years, I’ll be surprised if broadcast TV in the U.S. survives another decade.

Technology transformations are like murders: they require motive, method, and […]

Prediction #5 — Drones become Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood (PTTN)

I’ve already written one prediction about autonomous cars — that they’ll be far later to the market than most pundits and autonomous car inventors are suggesting. Today’s prediction is about a tangentially-related technology — aerial delivery drones. These drones are definitely coming just as fast as regulators will allow them, but I don’t think they’ll be implemented in the way people expect. What we’ll see, I predict, is something I call Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood or PTTN.

Aerial drones are a new type of distribution network operating in a new kind of ether. They don’t travel on roads and neither do they travel in what we conventionally think of as airspace. […]

Prediction #4 — Self-driving cars won’t happen this year no matter what Elon says

We all know people who seem to not like anything. There are very successful people who sometimes seem to have reached that success entirely through saying “no.” I’m not that kind of person. I’m an optimist. I’m even a bit of a risk-taker. But I can’t say that we’re going to see anything beyond more beta tests of self-driving cars in 2019. So my Prediction #4 is that self-driving cars won’t hit the retail market in any fashion this year. We simply aren’t ready and probably won’t be for years to come.

The problem with self-driving cars isn’t the technology. Heck, we’ve had the technology pretty much whipped for the past decade. […]