This blog in review, 2008
In 2007's review I decided to do more in-depth, thinking pieces, and I largely succeeded. My year was dominated by the election of our new messiah and your personal flying unicorn, saint Barack of Obama, but I got a bunch of tech stuff in there as well. I also quietly relaunched the Gay Geeks site, which is beginning to pick up steam.
- I resolved to never go out in the Castro again (I broke this several times)
- I explained why Obama is the technology candidate, and went into more detail later in the year.
- And attempted to persuade former supporters of John Edwards to support Obama when Edwards dropped out. (Edwards would later implode spectacularly in a sex scandal)
- The first genuine news broke of a Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo, and I was less than pleased. The acquisition talks went on for ever and ever and it still seems like some sort of deal is inevitable. Meanwhile, Yahoo! floundered around shedding billions in market capitalization and our CEO, the all-around nice guy Jerry Yang. His replacement has not yet been announced.
- I was inspired by Obama to get more involved in an election than I ever have before, mostly focussed on the primaries in California (we lost, but we still got nearly as many delegates since they are split proportionally, a fact of which the Hillary campaign was famously unaware).
- I ranted against "tolerance" of gay people, as if homosexuality was bad manners. Be oblivious, not tolerant.
- I talked about American self-confidence, and how central it is to American culture.
- I spent quite a lot of time researching why mobile phone technology sucks in the US in particular, and where the future lies for mobile technology: namely, voice will cease to exist as a separate class of data, and we will instead have complicated wireless Internet devices which incidentally carry VoIP traffic. This is happening much, much faster than I expected.
- I applied for a driving licence. I passed the written exam but had panic attacks just thinking about getting lessons, so I never got the licence itself.
- I laid out my vision of the future of the web (and then summarized it because the MTV generation can't read more than a page of text)
- The Olympics came and went, impinging on my world only long enough to weigh up the political implications and notice that Matthew Mitcham was hot, gay, and a gold medalist.
- Spring is always a time of low blogging, as I get out of doors a lot. Autumn is too, for similar reasons.
- My obsession with the election continued. I talked more about why I support Obama, and demanded Hillary leave the race (but she was having none of it). And I registered an old guy who didn't know he was allowed to vote, which was probably the most valuable thing I did for the whole election.
- A history of the Caribbean told me a lot about the region I thought I knew, but didn't.
- I declared that Twitter does not have any competitors. This remains true, and since Pownce shut down and Twitter largely got its reliability problems under control, there are not even any pretenders to the throne (Google's Jaiku remains in closed beta, and shows no signs of emerging anytime soon).
- Barack Obama won the democratic nomination for President, and I was overjoyed. McCain gave an awful, ridiculous speech that night, and a friend declared "it's done. We got this one."
- I expanded on my theme of the Emergent Web from earlier in the year by talking about the future of social software. In brief: the networks have been built, but the tools that make them useful are what are going to appear, and those tools require radically large amounts of processing power, on a scale which is only just beginning to become available.
- Google launched Knol, a shameless attempt to usurp and monetize Wikipedia, a move I declared as being indisputably evil. The article got a ton of traffic.
- I demanded that iTunes be split into more than one application.
- I wrote some short fiction for the first time in a while, and again in October.
- Barry gave his acceptance speech to a pretty big crowd.
- The hapless Sarah Palin appeared on the national scene, briefly invigorated the Republican base, and gave the McCain campaign a brief two-week lead in the national polls. Democrats freaked the fuck out, but I was unperturbed, and she eventually exploded memorably all over Katie Couric.
- Google released Chrome, its own browser, which included some genuinely revolutionary performance enhancements and has proven surprisingly popular despite some major problems. Google still seems uncertain whether it has released a reference implementation for other browsers or a competitor, and this probably reflects some internal debate.
- Google also released Android, the Linux of the mobile world, and I predicted that it would not make much impact versus the iPhone. I'm sticking to that one through 2009.
- The entire global system of credit and international finance crashed and burned, messily, destroying John McCain's hopes of becoming elected on the strength of his military experience.
- I revisited an article I wrote about gay life in Trinidad 10 years ago, and its surprising aftermath.
- I switched focus from the Obama campaign (presuming it in the bag) to the fight against California's proposition 8, against legions of Mormons, presumably in a collective case of sour grapes. It was passed in November, and I resolved to fight it -- in 2010.
- Obama was memorably endorsed by Colin Powell, and as Barack-doubters began to grasp at straws, I dismissed the Bradley effect, and was entirely correct in doing so.
- Mr. Obama won that little election, leading to spontaneous street parties nationwide, a completely unprecedented reaction to a presidential election.
- I outlined what I think Obama's national CTO should do, including a Department of Getting Stuff Done.
- Isaac and I came up with HTTP conversation codes along with some co-workers, producing one of the most-trafficked articles in my blog's 8-year history.
- I became completely obsessed with Were the World Mine, a brilliant film that I am going to buy on DVD and watch dozens of times as soon as it becomes available. It was very well-received critically as well.