Dan Gillmor

Technology Columnist

2004 Outlook
39 minutes, 9.1mb, recorded 2004-01-17
His technology column for the San Jose Mercury News usually appears in the Business section, but Dan's self-assigned beat includes a personal blend of technology, economics, law, and civil liberties. He began his journalism career covering economics, but he and two brothers have always been geeks at heart. Although he feels the responsibility of covering tech for the Silicon Valley newspaper, he insists it carries no real power.

In this IT Conversation, Dan gives his views on a broad variety of topics facing us in 2004. Regarding the "copyright cartel," he points out that if we had been in this state 30 years ago when photocopiers became commonplace, "every one of them would have been registered with a serial number, and there would have been some heavy reporting system that prevented anyone from making an unauthorized copy of a piece of text...That sounds like the Soviet Union."

Dan's excited about the convergence of WiFi and VoIP. He already sees rapid growth of higher-bandwidth 802.11g, and anticipates progress on "the glaring lack of security in current WiFi systems." His reaction to SCO's lawsuits over Linux? "Unprintable and unsayable...reprehensible...disgusting." Dan believes that open-source software is ready today for certain corporate environments, but perhaps the most important effect is "that it's forcing Microsoft to get more creative on its extortionate prices." If Thailand can get Windows and Office for only $40, what about other countries and large companies?

But what does Dan consider "one of the really great scandals in the last 10 years?" The "revolving door" of voting officials who go to work for voting-machine vendors. Don't miss Dan's explanation of the problems of the touch-screen voting machines that may well determine the outcome of the U.S. 2004 presidential election.

This free podcast is from our Behind the Mic series.