by Constantine von HoffmanThere is no stupider and unkillable feature in the media biz than the annual prediction. They are the modern version of examining a sheep\u2019s liver, throwing coins on a board or any other form of divination \u2013 and every bit as accurate. Despite this, readers (myself included) love them \u2013 it lets you feel for the two minutes you\u2019re reading them like you\u2019re getting some inside scoop. Writers love them because they require no heavy lifting (i.e., reporting) and, unless you write about sports, you can predict whatever you want because no one ever remembers them a year later.\u00a0\u00a0Or maybe not. This year\u2019s crop of tech prognostications from Robert X. Cringley, Popular Mechanics, and the usually redoubtable San Jose Mercury News seems dedicated to predicting what has already happened.Let\u2019s give Cringley his due: The man actually rates and publishes how accurate his predictions from the year before were. For the year past he says, \u201cI hit only 73 percent, but would have been over 80 percent had Intel decided to come around and support AMD\u2019s 64-bit instructions just a week earlier. Alas, readers have been looking back lately and say my average may be down -- perhaps WAY down -- for 2005.\u201d Well, judging by this year\u2019s efforts it\u2019s a wonder he isn\u2019t at 100 percent. He goes way out on a limb by predicting that, among other things, \u201cMicrosoft still sucks at security and users suffer for it,\u201d \u201cTiVO will be bought by another company,\u201d \u201cApple WILL make some inroads against Microsoft\u201d and \u201cGoogle will continue to roll out new products and services as it builds out its infrastructure for a huge push in 2007.\u201d In that same vein let me add that the Patriots will definitely NOT win the Super Bowl this year. The San Jose Merc hedges its bets with the unusual-only-if-you-aren\u2019t-paying attention prediction that 2006 will see more city-wide WiFi, cell phones that \u2013 get this \u2013 do everything from play music to surf the web, VOIP goes mainstream and video-on-demand starts showing up in new and unexpected places. Ummm, are you guys sure you haven\u2019t just recycled last year\u2019s prediction column, cuz I\u2019m pretty sure all this has already happened.Meanwhile, Popular Mechanics (motto: Touting Flying Cars For More Than Half A Century) tries to straddle the line between predicting and rewinding by offering us \u201c15 Tech Concepts You\u2019ll Need To Know In 2006.\u201d (Did I remember to turn it on remains Number 1 on my list for this topic.) They vaguely suggest that this is the year that Electronic Medical Records somehow hits critical mass. Their reason? The White House has proposed spending $125M on it in next year\u2019s budget. The fact that that\u2019s roughly what the US is spending per day in Iraq tells you everything you need to know about where it stands in the Administration\u2019s priorities and about how important it will wind up being. Give Popular Mechanics credit for making a lot of real predictions and not just passing along developments to current stories. Their only really painfully obvious pick for the coming year is that, get this, Ajax will get big. That\u2019s get big, not just get big buzz.But let\u2019s be fair here. If I\u2019m going to lambaste others for their lame-o views of the future than I should really put my money where my crystal ball is. OK, so here goes: \n\nSteve Jobs will get serious talk as the next Democratic pres nominee but will decline once he realizes that he can\u2019t call it the iHouse. \n\nThe Linux\/Windows war will claim its first casualty when some CIO\u2019s head explodes while having the various merits\/demerits explained to him.\n\nEBay will make money.\n\nIndia starts outsourcing to Massachusetts.\n\nThe Cubs win the World Series.**I have been making that prediction for decades, no point in stopping now.You can leave a comment here or send your predictions for the coming year to email@example.com. I promise to give them all the respect they deserve.