Broadly speaking? Or speaking of broadband. . .

Australia is finally getting a National Broadband Network!

While I'm tempted to go on at length about the government's proposed $43 billion broadband roll out, I'm going to resist the urge and restrict my comments to just two areas:

As a user, I'm excited about the applications that the NBN will make possible, both for enterprises and in homes.

As a journalist, however, I'm even more grateful for the NBN announcement. Now that the project is finally a reality, those of us who write about IT will no doubt be provided with a constant stream of material for the next eight to ten years, as the inevitable controversies, skills shortages, missed deadlines and cost blowouts ensue.

There are plenty of issues surrounding the NBN, to be sure, but the reason I am not going to weigh in on the debate is that I intend to leave that to my successor, for this is my last issue as editor of Computerworld.

After two and a half years, I'm moving on to concentrate solely on my responsibilities as editor of CIO, Computerworld's sister publication. For the past eight months I have done double duty as editor of both titles. Despite the global financial crisis, both the Computerworld and CIO brands have continued to grow and thrive -- so much so that the job is simply too big for one person. All I can say is thank goodness that in times of economic uncertainty, people need reliable news and analysis more than ever.

A quick recap of my last 30 months at Computerworld yields a tally of 51 print issues, 1644 pages and roughly 2800 online newsletters. A pretty good innings, if I do say so myself.

Looking back over the past two and a half years, the chief insight I can offer is that the pace of change in IT continues to accelerate.

Back in October 2006, when I assumed the role, the industry buzz was focused on MySpace. Twitter had just been founded six months earlier and was still a distant blip on the radar. And clouds were things that floated in the sky.

Of course, we all know how those stories played out. As I write, Facebook -- once thought of as the up-and-coming social network -- has just passed its 200 millionth user. Recent data suggests that than 1 in 4 people with Internet access visited Facebook in February 2009, which translates to 276 million monthly unique visitors -- more than twice the size of MySpace's global traffic. Twitter is now a certified pop culture phenomenon, and cloud computing has become part of the everyday lexicon of IT professionals.

Even more interesting are the trends from the past that refused to go away. A hot topic like virtualisation, for example, is a retread of concepts first pioneered in mainframe environments. And of course, Microsoft's release of Vista back in 2007 was not only underwhelming, it reminded everyone just how good XP was -- so good in fact that millions of users refused to give it up.

Sometimes I think the only safe prediction you can make as an IT writer is that technology will remain unpredictable. I wouldn't want it any other way.

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