Our e-mail newsletter authors gaze into the future and make their predictions in convergence, messaging, storage and moreNew Year's predictions are a time-honored journalistic tradition, one that several of our e-mail newsletter columnists observe every year. With Paul "Buzz" McNamara out on a short-term medical leave, we thought we would share some of those predictions in this space. The Convergence Newsletter tag-team of Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick must have eaten their Psychic Wheaties, for they list no fewer than 10 predictions for 2004. By their reckoning, it should be a good year for voice over IP (VoIP). Among their prognostications:"Internet taxation will not become an issue for the 2004 U.S. presidential election unless one of the candidates claims to have invented VoIP. However, the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to hear a case to decide if voice over the Internet should be taxed. . ."More than 30% of large companies will issue RFPs to scrap their existing PBX in favor of an IP PBX. . . ."Somebody will figure out a cool business application for sending pictures to cell phones. Then, somebody else will figure out how to block spam and pictures delivered to cell phones. And a clever employee will figure out how to use the cell phone picture mode to prove he's working even when he's not."For the complete list, check out the\u00a0Convergence Newsletter\u00a0later this week.SOHO Life's Mike Wolf concurs that VoIP will gain momentum in 2004:"Sure, VoIP's been around for years. But you know something's up when Tom Brokaw talks about it on the evening news. IP telephony service provider Vonage continues to sign up consumers in droves and just introduced a low-cost package for about $15 per month. Incumbent carriers are scrambling to offer services, too. Cox and Time Warner Cable are also now moving to VoIP."Messaging Newsletter author Michael Osterman zeroes in on spam:"Spam will continue to be a problem for many companies, but the problem will wane from a practical perspective for most corporations because of the widespread deployment of good spam-blocking tools. To be sure, enterprise e-mail systems, as well as those of ISPs, will continue to handle a deluge of spam, but most end users will be relatively insulated from this onslaught. Consequently, the problems with spam will continue to be faced more by IT staff than by end users. . . .The ISP News Report also addresses spam. For 2004, author Carolyn Duffy Marsan relates the predictions of Brownlee Thomas, telecom industry analyst with Giga Information Group:"Thomas predicts ISPs will offer more bundled anti-spam and anti-virus offerings for small businesses and consumers. She also expects to see ISPs introduce more security services - particularly against distributed denial-of-service attacks - for their Web hosting clients. However, Thomas says corporate network managers will need to continue cobbling together their own anti-virus and anti-spam solutions using third-party software packages."Mike Karp recently picked several "vendors to watch" for his Storage in the Enterprise Newsletter. They include Celion Networks, "for reducing costs associated with long-haul data transfer over fiber-optic cable"; GlassHouse Technologies, "a well-respected provider of planning services in areas such as storage strategy, business continuity, and back-up and recovery strategies;" and IntraDyn, which "makes a back-up and archiving appliance that contains everything a small and midsize IT environment should need to implement a sound back-up strategy."James Gaskin also likes IntraDyn. As he wrote for his top prediction in the Small Business Technology Newsletter: "We'll see new back-up tools in 2004, but [IntraDyn's] RocketVault will be tough to beat." Plus, Gaskin says all-in-one appliances will improve and will increase in popularity at the expense of Microsoft and Novell small business products.Caruso is the managing editor of online news.