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Culture

What's ahead this year, or whenever

From Web 2.0 to mulch to Mister Magoo, CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos offers his predictions for the new year.

Predictions in the tech industry are easy to do.

You can make some generalized statement--media and computing will converge--and then point to the fact that YouTube emerged in 2006 as the fulfillment of your prophecy.

The fact that you made the prediction in 1989, or were one of the many VCs who passed on investing in YouTube when it was just two guys and some cute cat videos, is irrelevant. You just didn't want to get bogged down in details.

In that spirit, here are my predictions for 2007.

• Executives from the Blu-ray and HD DVD consortiums will announce at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that they will settle their differences in the parking lot of the Golden Nugget.

• Advanced Micro Devices will claim its chips will outperform comparative processors from Intel. Intel will disagree.

• At an O'Reilly conference in San Francisco, pundits will point out that users already share music, movies, pictures, home videos and their personal thoughts (via blogs) over the Internet. No one will be able to come up with something else to share and the entire Web 2.0 movement will suddenly crumble.

• Mulch will become a corporate giveaway. So will expired packs of instant pudding.

• Steve Jobs will become a public figure in the fight against trans fats when he introduces vegan foods into the Hillsdale minimum-security correctional institution--his new home after an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Other Silicon Valley titans will bang their spoons against their trays in protest.

• The line between and real life will blur, and Second Life patrons will complain about inept customer service and the proliferation of strip malls.

• Sony will manage to increase the volume of PlayStation 3 consoles in the U.S. In response, consumers will stop stabbing each other and just sort of nudge each other while waiting in line.

• Independent consumer advocates will have a spaz attack over what seems like a flimsy patent, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will uphold it anyway.

• IBM Chief Executive Sam Palmisano will make his first major public appearance since assuming the helm at Big Blue five years ago. Attendees at the conference will remark on the lifelike feel of his handshake.

• Bloggers and individual tastemakers will see their power increase and force KCRA in Sacramento to bring back Magoo's Scrooge during the holidays and move Barnaby Jones to a new time slot.

• Time magazine declares: Keyboards are Hot!

• Start-ups will insist on inserting tildes and angstrom marks into their names.

• Those thick, crinkly hairs that grow on your big toe? Inexplicably, people will begin posting pictures of these on their MySpace.com pages.

• Software as a service. Well, there's really not much you can do with that one.

• And finally, security advocates will warn about a plan by the federal government to monitor your travel to and from the U.S. with passports.