With 2009 coming to a close this week, many blogs and tech sites are taking a look back at technology over the past decade. I’ve read several of these articles, and each one of them list Cloud computing in their top three. That doesn’t surprise me in any way… computing in the Cloud is a huge development, one that makes life a lot easier for us all.
What does surprise me is the fact that none of the bloggers can agree on anything else. Sure, there have been a lot of innovative, useful gadgets released in the past ten years. And, of course, each has been important in its own right. But did nothing other than the Cloud cause an impact on the World? Was there not a single other product worthy of making everyone’s lists? I happen to think there were.
In my mind, one of the greatest releases of the decade has to be the launch of the thumb drive (via Trek) back in 2000. Let’s face it – how many of you have at least one USB flash drive in your possession right now? How many of you have more than five of them lying around? We take these tiny little gizmos for granted. They make life simpler, and they are a huge seller. We stopped using floppies and zip drives. We started buying – and still purchase now – tons of these lovely little sticks! How can they not be at the top of the heap for everyone?!
Many blogging pundits are also listing the advent of social media at the top of their lists. I’ll have to agree with this one. Social media has opened new doors to the way we connect with others, whether it be business contacts or family and friends. With the advent of Twitter, we can get our messages across quickly and painlessly, without slaving over a long blog post. I fully believe we have not yet seen the actual potential of services such as Twitter in the marketplace, and even in the workplace.
As I’m making my list, my fiance keeps hollering across the room at me. Apparently, any man with half a brain (and a love of tech!) would put a GPS near the top of this list. I’m of a different mindset here. I don’t like them and I don’t need them. I simply don’t see the value of owning one. So what if it can talk to me? I’ve ridden in a car with people who used a GPS device, and it annoyed the heck out of me. I cannot imagine trying to drive in downtown Chicago during rush hour, and have that thing squawking at me!! I still prefer mapping my route using something such as Google Maps, and carrying a hard copy of the printed directions with me. Call me crazy, it’s okay! Add them to your list if you wish.
I guess it is more difficult than I imagined to narrow this list down and make it more unified. As I research, I’m finding things I had simply forgotten about. Take the iPod. At the time we first saw it hit the markets just a few years ago, it was huge news. However, MP3 players today are so mainstream (with so many different ones available), that I forgot the impact the original iPod made on us all.
Along that same vein would come the Amazon Kindle, the BlackBerry, and TiVO. Each of these gadgets have made an enormous impact on the market, and in some ways changed our lives as we knew them. Sure, you may use a different phone… but the BlackBerry started it all. You may use (as we do here in my house) Comcast’s DVR to capture your favorite shows… but it was the TiVO that got us there.
I guess there won’t be a definitive list here today, after all. What I would like, though, is for all of you to tell me what ONE piece of technology you feel changed the World the most in the past decade. It will be interesting to see the answers, and attempt to compile them into a short list at a later date.