Since we are wrapping up this decade I decided to look back and mention the things that happened in technology that I found interesting. Below is my list of ten technologies.
Most of us were probably on dial up at the start of this decade (I was) but these days it is hard to find a person that still uses dial up; I only know one person that still uses dial up. We also have to thank Intel Centrino to make the wireless experience on laptops so easy when it just came out; there was no need any more to add wireless cards to the laptop…it was all built in. Of course now that wireless is everywhere and everyone is using it some carriers are having trouble with their networks.
Personal Media Player
The personal media player has come a long way. In the 80s I got the WM-1 by Sony in 1982 as a present. This thing took 4 AA batteries, it didn’t even have autoreverse. You want to ruin your tape? Shake the player while you are listening..fun times…oh and who remembers those metal and chromium dioxide tapes?
In the 90s I bought the Rio PMP300. This was the first available mp3 player in the US after Creative won the lawsuit against the RIAA who claimed claiming the player violated the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act. This player had a whopping 32MB (yes that is megabyte) of internal memory and also had a smartmedia slot. I remember encoding songs at 64 kb/s so that I could fit more than 10 songs on the device. Over the years I had a plethora of devices and my current device is a Zune HD.
The devices that you can buy these days are so much better than that first MP3 player, you can’t compare this at all. These devices do a lot more than just play songs, they will play video, they have apps a wireless connection and some of them can even output to a HDTV screen. Of course everyone knows that Apple owns this market now with the iPod and the iPod Touch.
These days a smart phone is more powerful than the computer you had at the beginning of this decade; it definitely has way more memory than your desktop just 5 years ago. Thanks to Moore’s Law this will continue until these devices will replace our desktops and laptops.
This is a biggie for me since I am a database guy and we all know that reading data from disk is 1000 times more expensive than reading data from RAM. The nice thing with 64 Bit is that your computer can see more than 4GB of RAM. If you do a lot of video encoding or if you need to run several virtual machines at the same time then 8GB is a minimum these days.
Multi core chips
The beginning of the decade was all about speed; it started with about 1.4 GHz. By February 2, 2004 the Pentium 4 was running at 3.4 GHz. Then we started to get Hyper-Threading which would look like you had 2 CPUs and then finally we got Multi Core Sockets. But the speed on these Multi Core chips did not get faster, as a matter of fact most of them were in the 2 GHz range; just now we are seeing the Extreme Edition chips run faster than 3 GHz. I expect to have 100+ multi core chips by the end of the next decade, programming against those is another story, I am sure someone will figure this parallel thing out by then.
If you go on a trip and you look to read you don’t have to bring 6 books with you anymore and because you are not sure which book you want to read on the beach; with an ebook reader you can bring them all. But there is a predator lurking…..this is of course the Apple Tablet (iSlate or perhaps iTablet??). There is a rumor that when this Apple Tablet gets announced in January at an Apple event that Ebay will have a lot of Kindles listed the next day.
Web 2.0/The social web
I wouldn’t really call this Web 2.0 anymore; this is the web period. You can’t ignore any of these sites anymore; most likely you are using at least 5 of these. Here are some I use on a regular basis
I think that most young people only go to sites like that. How would you go to a relative in the 1990s? You would call up ask for directions, write them down and hope for the best. These days you can use GPS or a mapping site like Google Maps, type your destination, get directions (including reverse directions) and print them out and you are done. You like to track your finances? No problem there is mint. For everything that you can think of there will be a website that caters to your needs. When was the last time you bought an actual encyclopedia? Why would you, there is Wikipedia
Solid State Drives
Solid State Drives are the future and by the end of next decade I don’t think that there will be a lot of computers sold with regular hard drives at all. Adding a Solid State Drive to your computer is like adding more RAM, the seek time on these drives is just amazing. Just take a look at this video
Touch especially on handheld devices is now common; just take a look at the iPhone, the Droid, the Zune HD, the Palm Pre or the Blackberry Bold. You can also buy a Windows 7 touch screen PC
Compare a HDTV to a regular TV and you can count the lines in the regular one, there is no comparison. I wonder were this will stop, we went from 720p to 1080p, what is next will we go to 2000 lines in the next decade?
So this is my list, if you can think of something major that I forgot leave me a comment. Also what do you think will be big in the next decade? Will it be nanotech or biotech, perhaps robotics or maybe even the start of the synthesis between man and machine (yes I can’t wait for that cyborg to knock on my door)?