Computer trends for 2014

Here is my collection of trends and predictions for year 2014:

It seems that PC market is not recovering in 2014. IDC is forecasting that the technology channel will buy in around 34 million fewer PCs this year than last. It seem that things aren’t going to improve any time soon (down, down, down until 2017?). There will be no let-up on any front, with desktops and portables predicted to decline in both the mature and emerging markets. Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system: PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespan continue to increase. Death of the Desktop article says that sadly for the traditional desktop, this is only a matter of time before its purpose expires and that it would be inevitable it will happen within this decade. (I expect that it will not completely disappear).

When the PC business is slowly decreasing, smartphone and table business will increase quickly. Some time in the next six months, the number of smartphones on earth will pass the number of PCs. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone: the mobile business is much bigger than the computer industry. There are now perhaps 3.5-4 billion mobile phones, replaced every two years, versus 1.7-1.8 billion PCs replaced every 5 years. Smartphones broke down that wall between those industries few years ago – suddenly tech companies could sell to an industry with $1.2 trillion annual revenue. Now you can sell more phones in a quarter than the PC industry sells in a year.

After some years we will end up with somewhere over 3bn smartphones in use on earth, almost double the number of PCs. There are perhaps 900m consumer PCs on earth, and maybe 800m corporate PCs. The consumer PCs are mostly shared and the corporate PCs locked down, and neither are really mobile. Those 3 billion smartphones will all be personal, and all mobile. Mobile browsing is set to overtake traditional desktop browsing in 2015. The smartphone revolution is changing how consumers use the Internet. This will influence web design.


The only PC sector that seems to have some growth is server side. Microservers & Cloud Computing to Drive Server Growth article says that increased demand for cloud computing and high-density microserver systems has brought the server market back from a state of decline. We’re seeing fairly significant change in the server market. According to the 2014 IC Market Drivers report, server unit shipment growth will increase in the next several years, thanks to purchases of new, cheaper microservers. The total server IC market is projected to rise by 3% in 2014 to $14.4 billion: multicore MPU segment for microservers and NAND flash memories for solid state drives are expected to see better numbers.

Spinning rust and tape are DEAD. The future’s flash, cache and cloud article tells that the flash is the tier for primary data; the stuff christened tier 0. Data that needs to be written out to a slower response store goes across a local network link to a cloud storage gateway and that holds the tier 1 nearline data in its cache. Never mind software-defined HYPE, 2014 will be the year of storage FRANKENPLIANCES article tells that more hype around Software-Defined-Everything will keep the marketeers and the marchitecture specialists well employed for the next twelve months but don’t expect anything radical. The only innovation is going to be around pricing and consumption models as vendors try to maintain margins. FCoE will continue to be a side-show and FC, like tape, will soldier on happily. NAS will continue to eat away at the block storage market and perhaps 2014 will be the year that object storage finally takes off.

IT managers are increasingly replacing servers with SaaS article says that cloud providers take on a bigger share of the servers as overall market starts declining. An in-house system is no longer the default for many companies. IT managers want to cut the number of servers they manage, or at least slow the growth, and they may be succeeding. IDC expects that anywhere from 25% to 30% of all the servers shipped next year will be delivered to cloud services providers. In three years, 2017, nearly 45% of all the servers leaving manufacturers will be bought by cloud providers. The shift will slow the purchase of server sales to enterprise IT. Big cloud providers are more and more using their own designs instead of servers from big manufacturers. Data center consolidations are eliminating servers as well. For sure, IT managers are going to be managing physical servers for years to come. But, the number will be declining.

I hope that the IT business will start to grow this year as predicted. Information technology spends to increase next financial year according to N Chandrasekaran, chief executive and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest information technology (IT) services company. IDC predicts that IT consumption will increase next year to 5 per cent worldwide to $ 2.14 trillion. It is expected that the biggest opportunity will lie in the digital space: social, mobility, cloud and analytics. The gradual recovery of the economy in Europe will restore faith in business. Companies are re-imaging their business, keeping in mind changing digital trends.

The death of Windows XP will be on the new many times on the spring. There will be companies try to cash in with death of Windows XP: Microsoft’s plan for Windows XP support to end next spring, has received IT services providers as well as competitors to invest in their own services marketing. HP is peddling their customers Connected Backup 8.8 service to prevent data loss during migration. VMware is selling cloud desktop service. Google is wooing users to switch to ChromeOS system by making Chrome’s user interface familiar to wider audiences. The most effective way XP exploiting is the European defense giant EADS subsidiary of Arkoon, which promises support for XP users who do not want to or can not upgrade their systems.

There will be talk on what will be coming from Microsoft next year. Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a series of updates in 2015 that could see major revisions for the Windows, Xbox, and Windows RT platforms. Microsoft’s wave of spring 2015 updates to its various Windows-based platforms has a codename: Threshold. If all goes according to early plans, Threshold will include updates to all three OS platforms (Xbox One, Windows and Windows Phone).


Amateur programmers are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the IT landscape. A new IDC study has found that of the 18.5 million software developers in the world, about 7.5 million (roughly 40 percent) are “hobbyist developers,” which is what IDC calls people who write code even though it is not their primary occupation. The boom in hobbyist programmers should cheer computer literacy advocates.IDC estimates there are almost 29 million ICT-skilled workers in the world as we enter 2014, including 11 million professional developers.

The Challenge of Cross-language Interoperability will be more and more talked. Interfacing between languages will be increasingly important. You can no longer expect a nontrivial application to be written in a single language. With software becoming ever more complex and hardware less homogeneous, the likelihood of a single language being the correct tool for an entire program is lower than ever. The trend toward increased complexity in software shows no sign of abating, and modern hardware creates new challenges. Now, mobile phones are starting to appear with eight cores with the same ISA (instruction set architecture) but different speeds, some other streaming processors optimized for different workloads (DSPs, GPUs), and other specialized cores.

Just another new USB connector type will be pushed to market. Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen ‘type C’ jacks will be reversible article tells that USB is to get a new, smaller connector that, like Apple’s proprietary Lightning jack, will be reversible. Designed to support both USB 3.1 and USB 2.0, the new connector, dubbed “Type C”, will be the same size as an existing micro USB 2.0 plug.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Startup to Open Source Parallel CPU
    Rex targets 10x leap in performance/watt

    A startup founded by two teenagers is designing a parallel processor that it hopes delivers a 10x leap in performance per watt for high-end systems. Rex Computing will make open source its instruction set architecture in hopes of rallying supporters around it.

    The startup’s ambitions are high, as explained by chief executive Thomas Sohmers, who recently became old enough to sign the company’s contracts. He aims to create an alternative to today’s processors and accelerators, which are too expensive (mainly in power consumption) to scale to the exaflop performance researchers hope to deliver in the next decade.

    Sohmers was recently elected co-chairman of the high-performance working group under the Open Compute Project (OCP) started by Facebook. He hopes Rex can finish the design of its neo core as early as January and make it open source through the group.

    The 3W Neo chip (above) packs into 80 mm2 256 cores, each consisting of a 64-bit ALU, IEEE floating point unit, and 128 Kbits of SRAM scratch pad memory. Each core has a 16 Gbyte/s link to its neighbors with about 384 Gbytes/s of aggregate bandwidth between chips.

    Sohmers was inspired by Adapteva’s Epiphany chip, on which he based his first prototypes.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Finnish information technology is 8 th best in the world

    The UN World Telecommunication Union ITU on Monday published the ICT Development Index composites index. Finland retained 8th place in the UN’s annual 166 in the information and communications technology review.


    ITU releases annual global ICT data
    & ICT Development Index country rankings
    Denmark ranks in first place in global ICT Development Index (IDI)

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Google Chrome will block all NPAPI plugins by default in January, drop support completely in September

    Google today provided an update on its plan to remove Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) from Chrome, which the company says will improve the browser’s security, speed, and stability, as well as reduce complexity in the code base. In short, the latest timeline is as follows: Block all plugins by default in January 2015, disable support in April 2015, and remove support completely in September

    For context, Google first announced in September 2013 that it was planning to drop NPAPI.

    The latest usage data (for October 2014) shows the following launch percentages:

    Silverlight (11 percent of Chrome users, down from 15 percent)
    Google Talk (7 percent of Chrome users, down from 8.7 percent)
    Java (3.7 percent of Chrome users, down from 8.9 percent)
    Facebook Video (3 percent of Chrome users, down from 6 percent)
    Unity (1.9 percent of Chrome users, down from 9.1 percent)
    Google Earth (0.1 percent of Chrome users, down from 9.1 percent)

    The above six are part of a small number of popular plugins currently whitelisted and allowed by default in Chrome

    In April 2015, this will no longer be an option as NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome and Google will unpublish extensions requiring NPAPI plugins from the Chrome Web Store. That being said, Google will provide an override for advanced users (via an “enable-npapi” flag) and enterprises (via Enterprise Policy) to temporarily re-enable NPAPI.

    Web developers who use or build these plugins can find out more information in the NPAPI deprecation guide.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Intel promises 10TB+ SSDs thanks to 3D Vertical NAND flash memory
    November 21st, 2014 at 5:54 pm – Author Anton Shilov

    At present solid-state drives with extreme capacities are very expensive and even the best of them cannot match high-capacity hard disk drives for nearline storage applications. However, thanks to the evolution of NAND flash memory in general, and 3D vertical NAND (3D V-NAND) in particular, the situation may change soon and SSDs with 10TB or higher capacities will become reality.

    Intel Corp. revealed at its Investor Meeting 2014 event this week that in the second half of 2015 its joint venture with Micron Technology – Intel Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) – will start mass production of 3D vertical NAND flash memory chips with up to 256Gb (multi-level cell, 2-bit-per cell) or 384Gb (triple-level cell, 3-bit-per cell) capacity. 3D V-NAND flash memory chips will feature 32-layer vertically stacked cell arrays that are “interconnected” using four billion through silicon vias (TSVs).

    The upcoming 3D NAND chips from Intel and Micron will enable solid-state drives with capacities simply not possible today. According to Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s non-volatile memory group, the 3D NAND will enable 10TB and larger solid-state storage solutions in the next two years.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:
    We have a winner! Fresh Linux Mint 17.1 – hands down the best
    Beats Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Elementary

    Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they’re focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint.

    That’s because Mint 17.1 sticks with the Ubuntu released earlier this year – the first time this desktop Linux has not gone with the more recent Ubuntu.

    It’s a welcome upgrade for Mint fans.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Microsoft exams? Tough, you say? Pffft. 5-YEAR-OLD KID passes MCP test
    Proud dad: ‘son cached his opportunity’

    Wannabe techies take note: A five-year-old kid from Coventry has passed Microsoft’s Certified Professional exam.

    According to the BBC, Ayan Qureshi – under the guidance of his dad, Asim – first showed an interest in computing at the age of three.

    When the young lad arrived at the exam centre to sit the test, invigilators initially expressed concern about his age. But his father reassured them that the kid, who is now six, would do just fine on his own.

    “The hardest challenge was explaining the language of the test to a five-year-old,” he said. “But he seemed to pick it up and has a very good memory.”

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Attack of the one-letter programming languages

    From D to R, these lesser-known languages tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Debra Donston-Miller, November 26, 2013
    10 Skills IT Pros Need for Cloud Computing
    - See more at:
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn’t Really Exist
    “There’s no evidence of any way, shape, or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense,”

    The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn’t Really Exist

    “There’s no evidence of any way, shape, or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense,” says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. “They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV.”

    For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers, and the shortage was solved. In contrast, Salzman concluded in a paper released last year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, real IT wages are about the same as they were in 1999. Further, he and his co-authors found, only half of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) college graduates each year get hired into STEM jobs. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) would like to have more, cheaper workers,” says Salzman’s co-author Daniel Kuehn, now a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Julie Bort / Business Insider: HP Misses On Revenue, All Businesses Down Except PCs

    HP just reported its fourth quarter earnings: inline with profits and a miss on revenue.

    Revenue was down in just about every business unit. The only bright spot was the PC division, where revenue was up 4% year over year with a 4.0% operating margin, entirely due to businesses finally buying new PCs. Consumer PC revenue was down 2%.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Netflix Sues a Former Exec — Now Yahoo’s CIO — For Allegedly Collecting Kickbacks

    The Netflix suit says Kail, who joined the company in 2011, arranged Netflix contracts with IT service companies Vistara and NetEnrich, and then pocketed commissions of 12 percent to 15 percent of the monthly fees Netflix paid each company.

    Netflix says it paid the two companies a total of $3.7 million from 2012 until Kail’s departure, which would mean he could have collected between $450,000 and $560,000.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:
    IDC: iPad Sees First-Ever Decline As Wider Tablet Shipment Growth Drops 7.2% In 2014 To 235.7M Units

    As Apple rides a cresting wave in the stock market with its market cap now dancing around $700 billion, a dark cloud moves in from IDC. The analysts report today that full-year iPad shipments will decline for the first time in its history, amid a sluggish market overall for tablets.

    Apple — which ironically now offers more models of its iPad tablet than ever before — will ship 64.9 million iPad tablets in 2014, a decline of 12.7% on the total number of shipments a year ago. The bigger tablet market will see shipments of 235.7 million units, growth of 7.2% over 2013.

    This is a big drop in growth. As a point of comparison, tablet shipments between 2012 and 2013 grew 52.5%.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:
    C’mon, Brocade: QLogic’s left the Fibre Channel game. Flat revenues again?
    Plus: Is storage firm REALLY shopping itself…

    Brocade is a member of the flat revenue Earth society, with its mix of annual and quarterly Fibre Channel and Ethernet revenues hardly changing between last year and this year.

    It’s a mature market and Brocade is holding its own but the growth spark is fizzling out. Can anything be done to reignite the fire? A Wall Street Journal article speculated it was trying to shop itself last month.

    He says Brocade is positioned well for the “new IP”: one that is “optimised for the unique requirements of the cloud, social, mobile, and Big Data.” Sounds pretty much like last year’s IP – but this one is “open software-driven, agile, and [has] secure networking architectures.”

    New software-defined networking apps will be delivered next year. Carney said: “Customers are ready to move away from vendor-driven proprietary systems that are overly complex and impede their ability to rapidly respond to changing business requirements.”

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

    With LTO media sales down by 50% in the last six years, is the end near for tape? With such a large installed base, it may not be imminent, but the time is coming when vendors will find it increasingly difficult to justify continued investment in tape technology

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Samsung Shows ‘Eye Mouse’ For People With Disabilities

    Samsung today announced a project among a group of its engineers to build an input device that allows people with limited mobility to operate a computer through eye movement alone. The EYECAN+

    they’ll soon be making the design open source

    Samsung ‘eye mouse’ helps the paralyzed use PCs, will be made open-source

    Although the eye-tracking technology may have other applications, Samsung sees it as particularly helpful for those paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury. Other potential users include those with progressive neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is illness in which patients lose control of mobility and in the later stages are only able to use their eyes.

    The portable, wireless device sits below the computer monitor and can respond to the eye movements of a user 60 to 70 centimeters away. After a one-time calibration process, the Eyecan+ shows a pop-up menu on the screen, which provides 18 commands that the user can choose from.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:
    NSF Commits $16M To Build Cloud-Based and Data-Intensive Supercomputers

    he systems — “Bridges” at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and “Jetstream,” co-located at the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute and The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center — respond to the needs of the scientific computing community for more high-end, large-scale computing resources while helping to create a more inclusive computing environment for science and engineering.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Technology quiz reveals that nobody including quiz drafters knows anything about IT
    <0.5 get TRUE/FALSE answer right on Moore's Law

    A terrifying new quiz has indicated that the state of knowledge among Americans regarding IT topics is abysmally low: but the questions are such as to indicate that even the drafters of the quiz didn't know much.

    The quiz in question is one from Pew Research, intended to find out "What Internet Users Know about Technology and the Web". It was conducted among a supposedly representative group of 1,066 American internet users earlier this year, by means of emailing them a link to the questionnaire.

    It would seem that one major internet technique that most of the respondents had not grasped was the use of search engines to find things out, as their responses – despite the rather basic level of the questions – were stupefyingly ignorant.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:
    What Internet Users Know about Technology and the Web

    Results of the “Web IQ” Quiz

    American internet users’ knowledge of the modern technology landscape varies widely across a range of topics, according to a new knowledge quiz conducted by the Pew Research Center as part of its ongoing series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

    Substantial majorities of internet users are able to correctly answer questions about some common technology platforms and everyday internet usage terms.

    On the other hand, relatively few internet users are familiar with certain concepts that underpin the internet and other modern technological advances. Only one third (34%) know that Moore’s Law relates to how many transistors can be put on a microchip, and just 23% are aware that “the Internet” and “the World Wide Web” do not, in fact, refer to the same thing

    Many online Americans also struggle with key facts relating to early—and in some cases, more recent—technological history.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:
    College Student Spends Summer Coding OpenStack; Discovers the Ins and Outs of Open Source

    Under the auspices of the Google Summer of Code program, which pays college students stipends to write code in a particular open source discipline, Argentinian student Victoria Martínez de la Cruz has been spending the summer creating code for OpenStack’s messaging module, Marconi.

    One of the biggest takeaways from her experience so far is to have patience. Yes, you have to learn the code base well and get familiar with the submission and approval process and the overall workflow.

    “[E]ven though you succeeded submitting your change, the review process take[s] more time than you thought and you need to be open minded to explain the decisions you took to reviewers and accept changes that could make your code better,” she writes.

    The collaboration aspect is what de la Cruz feels is the most empowering experience of her internship, mainly because she was able to give feedback on others’ code as well as get comments on what she’s written.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:
    This pocket-sized gesture controller aims to replace your mouse

    If a new Indiegogo project has its way, you could soon be waving goodbye to that old, beloved mouse of yours. Meet Flow, a small gadget that pairs with your desktop or laptop and can be programmed with shortcuts to your most frequently used actions. At launch, Flow is said to offer support for more than 30 applications, including popular ones like Final Cut Pro X, Photoshop, Premiere, SoundCloud, Spotify and YouTube.

    Flow. An intuitive & precise wireless controller.

    Flow is a programmable shortcut to your favorite actions.

    We work on graphic design, video editing or CAD on a daily basis. Keyboard and mouse are great but they are far from giving you the same sensitivity and abilities as your hand.

    The same applies for music, browsing or presentations. We need a tool that gives us flexible shortcuts and perfect control, a tool that makes the things we love fast, precise, intuitive and fun.

    That’s why we created Flow, a freely programmable wireless controlle

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Intel Firmware Support Package for the Internet of Things

    There are a number of unique firmware requirements for embedded systems and IoT that do not require the familiar BIOS but rather domain- and application-specific needs. Specific firmware support addresses these unique needs in the embedded and IoT space.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:
    How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

    For too long, it looked like SSD capacity would always lag well behind hard disk drives, which were pushing into the 6TB and 8TB territory while SSDs were primarily 256GB to 512GB. That seems to be ending. In September, Samsung announced a 3.2TB SSD drive. And during an investor webcast last week, Intel announced it will begin offering 3D NAND drives in the second half of next year as part of its joint flash venture with Micron.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives–cms-22445

    Talk about 15 minutes of fame: upstart social networking startup Ello burst on the scene in September with promises of a utopian, post-Facebook platform that respected user’s privacy. I was surprised to see so many public figures and media entities jump on board—mainly because of what Ello isn’t. It isn’t an open source, decentralized social networking technology. It’s just another privately held, VC-funded silo.

    In reality, the road to a usable open source social networking technology is paved with the wreckage of good intentions.

    Remember Diaspora? In 2010, it raised $200,641 on Kickstarter to take on Facebook with “an open source personal web server to share all your stuff online.” Two years later, they essentially gave up, leaving their code to the open source community to carry forward.

    For this series, I’m going to introduce you to six of these technologies:

    GNU Social

    This article will briefly walk through the state of these solutions


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