R. Fink | Meet the New Year, same as the old year?

The Packet Rat

As the Rat prepared to hit the town with his spouse for New Year's Eve, he started to wonder if there would be anything actually new about the new year'or if it would seem more like 2007 was skipped entirely.

With 2006 behind us, most of us are looking forward to 2007. But for a lot of folks stalking around Washington, it isn't 2007'it's just early 2008.

With John Edwards' announcement that he's running for president, and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney and a host of others preparing their own bids for that job, it's virtually guaranteed that a good chunk of the conversation around D.C. will be about 2008 instead of 2007. And the Rat is guessing that means 2007 will be, for all intents and purposes, The Year Nothing Major Got Done.

With the current regime somewhat restrained by last November's elections, and the margin of control in the House and Senate measured by a hairbreadth, the whiskered one is hunkering down for a year of place-holding.

And that's just fine by him: When things stay still for a while, that means he can catch up on all the mandates that got rolled over him in the last couple of years ... or at least prioritize which ones he should care about.

Maybe by 2008 the Rat will care about Microsoft Vista. Maybe by next year he can
upgrade his hardware to run the resource-sucking monster from Redmond well enough on most of his users' machines that he has reason to care.

Until then, it might as well be 2006.

A lot of folks in the tech industry might wish that 2006 could get a bit of an extension. 2007 is looking, by many accounts, to be a slow year for the tech industry, as the economy starts to slow down. Big software companies are now trying to go after smaller and smaller companies as customers, now that they've saturated most of the enterprise market. And given that the whiskered one is focused mostly on consolidation of what he has right now, he's betting he won't be of any help to most IT vendors in 2007.

By 2008, maybe the executive vacancies in his agency will be filled, and actual policy priorities will be set, so he can shuffle toward them until after Inauguration Day 2009. Until then, the cyberrodent will be working on his 2006 priorities ... particularly since he never got to them in 2006.

The cyberrodent will be working on his 2006 priorities ... particularly since he never got to them in 2006.

'Maybe this is the year I actually get my systems and my official enterprise architecture to match,' the wirebiter mused.

'Or maybe I can bruise enough people's knuckles to get our security policies fully implemented.'

'Or maybe Glenda the Good Witch will come and hand you a pair of ruby slippers,' said his spouse. 'Now get that bow tie on, or we'll have to wait until 2008 to celebrate the new year.'

'Now there's a high-priority initiative I can get behind,' the Rat replied as he adjusted his clip-on and collar. 'I guess ambivalence will have to wait until tomorrow.'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected]


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