Think back to 1999. If you owned a computer, it was presumably running Windows 98, or maybe the “new & improved” Windows 2000. You probably connected to the Internet through AOL and your home phone line (if you connected at all). More than likely, you carried your digital files back and forth to school or work on a floppy disk (or a Zip disk if you were cool enough). Only mathematicians used the word “googol”, and nobody knew what a Facebook was. Yes… technology has come a long way during the last decade. Here’s our recap. Enjoy!
10. Hybrid/Electric Vehicles: It’s true that the electric car concept is decades old. It is also true that Toyota released the Prius to a Japanese market in 1997. However, it was the worldwide release of the Prius in 2001 that made people notice Hybrids for the first time. Since then many manufacturers have released hybrids and even fully electric vehicles.
9. USB Flash Drives: Think back to the 90’s or even the early days of the 21st Century and envision portable computer storage. 1.44 MB 3.5” floppy disks were common. Eventually, 100 MB Zip disks made an appearance, followed by 1 GB Jaz disk, and 2.2 GB Orb disks (there were many others not worth mentioning). In late 2000, the world’s first USB flash drive was unveiled by IBM. At the time, the 8 MB wonder was quite expensive, but over the following decade, the storage sizes increased as the prices decreased. Zip, Jaz, and Orb became obsolete as USB keychains started showing up everywhere. Nowadays kids say, “what’s a floppy disk?”
8. MySpace: A website called Friendster debuted in 2002. It was considered by many to be the first social networking site. However, it was MySpace (which launched in 2003) that proved social networking was a viable commodity when they reached 100,000,000 accounts in 2006. Wow!
7. Broadband Internet: Broadband Internet certainly existed before 2000, but it wasn’t widely adopted until the last decade. The graph below says it all.
6. Public Wi-Fi: In 2003, Pittsburgh International Airport did something incredibly innovative. They unveiled a public wireless network (with Internet access) for travelers. What was at the time, revolutionary, has now become commonplace… and aren’t we thankful for that?
5. YouTube: In 2005, three former PayPal employees started a website that allowed users to post their own videos and share them with the world. They called this site YouTube. They had no idea how far this concept would go. What can be said other than “pure genius”?
4. Smartphones: Some people argue that the Simon (released in 1992) started the smartphone revolution. This may be true, but there’s no doubt that the Palm Treo, released in 2001, and the RIM BlackBerry, released in 2002, were the first real smartphones. 2007’s release of the Apple iPhone raised the bar for smartphones. It’s getting hard to find dumbphones these days.
3. Facebook: The website went online in 2005. What else needs to be said? Even Geek Trio has a page.
2. The Google Revolution: Though Google was founded in 1998, it was an obscure company for its first few years. It was not until several years later that The Google Revolution began. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004; Measure Map, YouTube, & JotSpot in 2006; DoubleClick, GrandCentral, & Postini in 2007; and On2 & Teracent in 2009. These acquisitions have led to Google Maps, GMail, GTalk, Google Analytics, Google Video, and more. Today, we know Google as the search engine holding over 60% of the market share. They are often referred to as “the new Microsoft.”
1. The iPod: Apple’s 2001 release of iconic music player has not only changed the way listen to music, but the way the recording industry markets and packages it. Over the last 9 years, the iPod has undergone a multitude of revisions, but there is no gadget more iconic or indicative of the time period. The iPod screams “early 2000’s!”
Happy New Year from the Geek Trio! Be safe and stay geeky!