Politicos in the crosshairs
In the legislative battle over copyright and file swapping, you might assume the entertainment industry's lobbyists are sitting fat and pretty.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and the constellation of forces in Washington could be ripe for a redrawing, said Declan McCullagh--one of the many columnists who offered CNET News.com readers insight and analysis of the major tech events of 2004.
Take the surprise resignation of cyberczar Amit Yoran. It raised heated questions about the government's commitment to cybersecurity--and led to congressional calls to do more. Zoe Lofgren, who wants to create the post of assistant secretary of cybersecurity within the Department of Homeland Security, explains why time's a-wastin'.
Microsoft won the browser war with Netscape in the late 1990s, and that's the end of that, right? Wrong. Millions of people are now using Firefox, the Mozilla Foundation's new browser. I finally got so fed up with Internet Explorer that I dumped it for an early version of Firefox, and I'm obviously not alone. One month after the release of version 1.0 of Firefox, 10 million people had downloaded it. Get ready for the Internet browser war of 2005.
The Internet's 35-year anniversary was a milestone event that came and went with hardly any of the expected hullabaloo. Still, New York University Economics professor Nicholas Economides found time to provide readers with some context about the Net's massive impact so far.
This year's presidential candidates actually talked about how to expand broadband Internet access. If anything ever comes of it, we'll be the first to let you know. In the meantime, many of the same folks who helped create the thing we now refer to as cyberspace have been mulling over the issue of broadband. One of them, Vint Cerf, offered a few concrete proposals, saying it's time to get serious about realizing the promise of broadband.
Silicon Valley's famous stock option culture helped mint many a millionaire. But some financial experts now say it's time to expense options as part of better corporate governance. You couldn't make a bigger mistake, argued TechNet CEO Rick White.
When they write the official history of blogging, 2004 might figure as the official coming-out party. This year, bloggers even received invitations to cover the presidential conventions for the first time. But the granting of insider status by the establishment changed expectations, and that touched off a hot debate that got the attention of legendary software entrepreneur Dan Bricklin.
Not everyone was so enamored of the blogging phenomenon. In fact, some--like venture capitalist David Hornick--worried that the hype had become so bad that it threatened to derail what remains, fundamentally, an intriguing innovation in communications.
With Michael Powell at the helm, this is a very different Federal Communications Commission from the one of the Reed Hundt era--so much so that policy specialist Lawrence Spiwak worried that the government was out to gut key provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, provisions that were designed to ensure competition among phone carriers.
A lot can change over the course of 30 years--especially in the computer industry. For Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen, the advances registered during the last three decades pointed to an even more exciting computing future.
Spyware graduated from the status of minor online nuisance to major pain in the neck, as CNET News.com's own John Borland, who told readers a cautionary tale of woe.
Each new year seemingly brings a new round of whispers about the imminent demise of Moore's Law. But Sun chip guru David Yen said that, as interesting as it may be to speculate about the end of Moore's Law, what if this is not even the right question to ask? Maybe it's time for innovation of an entirely different sort.