Stories we want to see in 2008

We at the Radar put our heads together and came up with this list of headlines we’d like to see in 2008.

Verizon Launches Billing System APIs: In an industry first, Verizon (VZ) today released a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that will offer customer management and billing services to the emerging “open telephony platform” that encompasses iPhones, Android-based Yahoo! (YHOO) phones, and Sun‘s (SUN) OpenJ2PhonarisPlus wireless wallets.

Google Announces Privacy Dashboard: Internet giant Google (GOOG) today announced the launch of a portal,, where consumers can view all the information that Google has about them, request the deletion of any of that information, and download privacy-enhancing tools such as cookie cleaners.

New Standard: All Products Released With Screwdriver: President of Consumer Electronics Association announces “warranty void if unbroken” program—”it cost you $15 at Wal-Mart, why should we try to fix it if you won’t?”

Doomsday Seed Bank Requires Seed Patent Holders to Release Claims: The Doomsday seed bank stunned biotech and agribusiness giants by refusing to store any patented seeds, unless the patent holders agree to renounce all claims in the event that seeds must ever be redeemed from the bank.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Endorse & Support OpenID and OAuth: Add it to all of their properties and require it of all partners, including consumers of their APIs.

(more below the fold, and don’t miss the companion “Stories We Won’t See In 2008” article)

Obama Announces Open Source Voting Machine Mandate: President-elect Barack Obama’s first act of office will be the development of voting machines designed to “give America the reliable audits, voter privacy, and trustworthy elections we deserve”. The new machines will be based on so-called “open source” technology, where the software is open to inspection and review.

Mozilla Corporation Reverses Course on XULRunner: The Mozilla Corporation, makers of the popular open source Firefox web browser, reversed its earlier decision to focus exclusively on Firefox itself, and decided instead to build out its nascent XULRunner application platform so that standalone, desktop applications could get maximum benefit from the Mozilla technologies.

Amazon Releases “Open Grid” Facility: Open Source Code Runs Free: Acknowledging that the Web 2.0 world requires “Google-scale” infrastructure for many interesting applications, today announced that it is throwing open its popular S3 and EC2 facilities to open source projects around the world. “Open source helped build our company, and all of the major Internet companies,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “But in today’s world, if you’re not the size of Google, having the source code isn’t enough. We’ve launched this initiative to enable the open source world to build an open source search engine—or whatever else they want, as long as they’re contributing back to the community.” Bezos also announced that any project on the Open Grid network would have full access to Alexa’s crawl of the Internet. “Data and infrastructure matter as much as source code these days,” Bezos said.

Google Resurrects SOAP Search API; Adds REST Interface: “We realized that enabling cool things was worth the small drop in advertising revenue,” founder Sergey Brin said today as he cut the ribbon on the new old APIs.

Kindle Able To Read PDFs Natively; Removing the Need For Time Consuming Work Arounds: “You spoke, we listened!” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos today before letting off a trademark laugh that shook windows in the greater Seattle area and took 2 points off the Dow. “The hell was that?” Bill Gates exclaimed in a meeting across town. “Did Steve hit the red button again?”

iPod Touch Uncrippled; iPod Dongle Replaced With Micro-USB: Steve Jobs announced an end to cable hell today at his MacWorld keynote. He held up a handful of the different and incompatible cable standards used by companies, including his Apple (AAPL). Then he dramatically shredded them all in a General Atomics military grade “Stormin’ Eagle Class Shreddamatic S-60” before announcing all future iPod models would use the industry standard mini-micro-USB connector. He received a standing ovation, the queue for the new iPods went around the block at the flagship downtown San Francisco store, and Apple store jumped $2.50 in midday trading. Insiders report Microsoft will announce a move to the industry-standard SCSI connectors for the new khaki Zune 2008.

Nebraska High Schooler Makes Ethanol Breakthrough: Emmett Jordan, a high school student in Nebraska, successfully demonstrated high-efficiency production of cellulosic ethanol by a genetically engineered bacterium during the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, beating out biotech giants to the prize. This step signals a major milestone in what Freeman Dyson calls the domestication of biotechnology.

Federal government agrees to use version control for all legislation: Following a suggestion made here on Radar, Nancy Pelosi today announced that the U.S. House of Representatives is deploying version control for all legislation, allowing the public to see who made changes to any bill, just like they can do with Wikipedia. The Senate is expected to follow suit. Virgil Griffith, creator of Wikiscanner, announced LawScanner within two hours after Speaker Pelosi’s declaration. The Register writes up the story: Code is Law, but Law is Sausage.

NAVTEQ, TeleAtlas Release Open Developer Programs: With new self-serve license endorsed by two leading map company, anyone can download or upload map base data, points of interest, and navigation layers. “We’re tired of being disintermediated by Google and Microsoft,” says NAVTEQ CEO. “We have the data and we want it to spread,” adds TeleAtlas CEO.