New Year's wrap up
The first half of this year was the second worst of my life. The second half of 04 has been a long, slow upswing towards what is shaping up to be a pretty good 05. I had a few setbacks in October and November, but on the whole it's shaping up.
Last year I was hacking on the kerbango memorial radio and X10
, was two months behind on my mortgage, and had -230 dollars in the bank. The space program was in disarray
, my personal life was a mess, and I had had to quit my job for ethical reasons.
This year I'm hacking on a series of voip products, am 15 days behind on my mortgage, and have -160 dollars in the bank. I was really encouraged by the success of SpaceShip One
, heavy lifters are launching, and my personal life is complex, but improving.
Things REALLY ARE going up. My thanks to all the friends (evan
and web sites
that made last year bearable. My especial thanks to ep, who doesn't have a web site.
I made no predictions for last year, at least not publically. But one long bet paid off. In 2002 I picked a dark horse as the up and coming candidate, and this year:
is my pick for product of the year. It's my pick for product of next year, and the year after that. It's not just my pick, people like Jon Maddog Hall are saying nice things, and the world's smallest
voip installations are using or switching to it.
It was not obvious when I first started working on porting asterisk to various plaforms back then that it was going to dominate.
And as late as March, 2004, the field of voip PBXes was dominated by commercial products like Cisco's call manager, Avaya, et. al.. All were well ahead of where asterisk was. Asterisk got no respect. There were no commercial companies working with asterisk, people stared at you blankly when you mentioned it, when you talked to a VC (and I know, I tried a couple) about it, they laughed you off.
Now, today, it's obvious that Asterisk is the Apache and the swiss army chainsaw, of voice over ip. There are at least 20 businesses built around it that I know of. There are dozens of adwords on google being sold on it. People are falling over themselves to use it, are requesting it in RFCs and new products, the future of all the expensive commercial pbx platforms looks dim.
How did asterisk get ahead?
1) Asterisk is GPLed. Say what you may about the problems of the GPL license, Asterisk is proof positive that GPLing code makes it better, faster.
2) In Mark Spencer, Asterisk has a strong, fair leader.
3) Asterisk has one of the most profligate user communities contributing code and configurations to what has become the world's premier voip site
. The pace of development continues to accellerate.
4) By embracing the SIP protocol, asterisk became a vendor neutral product at a time when the SIP phone manufacturers needed a vendor neutral product.
5) By creating the IAX protocol asterisk tackled head on the problems of NAT and SIP... and solved them.
Chip of the year
Athlon64. What can I say? This chip makes Intel look slow. I never thought I'd need 64 bits, and still don't - but I can feel the itch towards 64 bits now, when I couldn't before the Athlon64.
Motherboard of the year
I'm not going to chose a motherboard per se', but a motherboard form factor - mini-itx
. It's the first platform that gains points for style that Apple can't hope to match.
Technology Advance of the year
Space Ship One
. It replicated what the government could do 40 years ago - but proved that private space travel is possible.