Today's top products might end up in tomorrow's scrap heap.
While coming up with my suggested
contributions for this week's 25 Technologies that Changed the '00s
(which I like to call the "Naughties"), I considered whether product or technology played a significant role
in my day to day operations for a portion of the decade, and how much
staying power the product or technology maintained to this day.During the process, I started
reflecting on those things from the '90s that could have made such a
list a decade ago - things that were essential during that time
yet no longer have any role at all in my activities. '90s
evolutionary technology dead ends, if you will - dinosaurs that once
thrived but could not evolve to meet future conditions or that had
their niche co-opted by something else that did the job better,
cheaper, or faster.
On the personal front, some of these
dinosaurs easily popped to mind. For instance, my VCR is long gone
and, with it, my association with Blockbuster (last visit, 2003).
Dialup Internet connectivity is, of course, mercifully a thing of the
past - allowing me to say good riddance to AOL and its ilk, baud
rates and modem banks (last successful modem connection, 2002).
On the endangered species list, my
landline phone would be at the top. I never use it, but I
dutifully keep paying the bill each month like a good little sucker.
But many, many others have moved on and, I assume I will get there,
too. Optical media and cable TV also fall in this category.For me, the desktop to this day remains a Microsoft hegemony - Windows 98 and NT begat Windows 2000,
XP, and 7, while Office begat Office. But the cracks are showing here, as
mobile and online alternatives could spell trouble for both those
lines in the next few years.I cut my IT teeth in the -90s on
Novell NetWare 3.12, the bindery, and IPX. While Novell may have
moved more quickly to LDAP than some others with successive versions,
it was Microsoft that quickly supplanted NetWare with Active
Directory and built-in IP support.
Netscape also springs quickly to mind
as a post--90s casualty. Both Communicator and Navigator on the
desktop and Enterprise Server in the data center were dominant and
highly respected, but both product lines faltered in the "Naughties."
Their influence (and perhaps some code) still lives on in some
places, so I would hesitate to call these techs a dead end, but the
Netscape name has certainly ceased to be relevant. Looking around eWEEK's West Coast
lab, the first thing that struck me as markedly different was the lab
itself. Gone is the old model that first attracted me to the testing
business - a huge number of machines networked and scripted to do
the same thing at the same time, with lots of bodies to plan,
execute and keep tabs on it all. Now efficiency is the key word -
all the raw compute power is packed into one or two server racks, as
virtualization turns a single machine into many. We few who remain
don't even sit in our lab most of the time anymore - it's way
too loud in there, and wireless networks and remote access tools are
so good that we don't have to. This is particularly true as virtualization has
dominated the way we test today, reduced is my need for some tools
that were once essential. Ghost used to be one of the first tools in
my toolbox, as it allowed me to quickly restore test beds to a basic
state, ready for the next review. But with most elements of my tests
now virtualized, coexisting on shared processing and storage, the
snapshot tools included with the hypervisior are much more vital and
necessary. Of course, this is just my personal
list. Later versions of some of these products and technologies may
still have relevance to some. But for most, I doubt that is the
case. Such is the nature of the beast. So as we remember the former
-90s success stories turned victims of the Naughties, take a look
at our list of success stories of the Naughties, and ponder which among them
may survive in some way to face the '20s.