Technologizer: This Dumb Decade -The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009

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By Harry McCracken

If ever a decade began dumb, it was this one.* When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

Which was a relief–and a fitting way to kick off the technological era we’ve lived in ever since. Yes, it’s been an amazing time. But it’s also seen more than its share of misbegotten decisions, bizarre dramas, pointless hype, and lackluster products and technologies–often involving the same people and companies responsible for all the amazing stuff.

So–with a respectful tip of the Technologizer hat to Business 2.0 and Fortune’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business and, of course, to Esquire’s Dubious Achievement Awards–let’s recap, shall we?

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Long Live the PC!

iphone

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the iPhone replacing the PC. Here’s one from my buddy, Harry McCracken. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, wrote a piece as well. There is certainly a lot of buzz and hype about the iPhone, but as a practical matter, the iPhone is nowhere near able to significantly encroach onto the venerable PC’s territory. As I write this, I am thinking of all my friends that have iPhones, and the look of pride on their face. I am not trying to rain on that parade, I just honestly do not think of the iPhone in the same category as the PC. Here’s why.

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Vista Does Not Suck

The debate.

I bought Vista in March 2007, and after 16 months, I am happy to say that Vista does not suck. Yes you read that right. VISTA DOES NOT SUCK. Like many people, my history with Microsoft and operating systems goes back to the early 80’s with DOS 2.0. When I compare the two, there is literally no comparison. Vista is the clear winner.

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Firewire Ready PCs

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FireWire origins date back to the mid-1980’s when Apple Computer devised a high-speed data transfer technology for Macintosh internal hard drives. In 1995, the IEEE announced the IEEE 1394 spec which is sometimes called the FireWire400. In 2002, the IEEE came out with a updated standard called IEEE 1394b which allowed for a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 3.2 Gbps. Apple soon released a subset of the new standard under the title of FireWire 800. In December 2007, the 1394 Trade Association announced the FireWire S3200 that will soon be available and that will support the full 3.2 Gbps transfer rate.

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The Gateway Blues

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been working hard at PC Pitstop trying to get out our new products. I love this challenge, but my work flow has suffered a major interruption. Acer is buying Gateway, and I received 10, count ’em, 10, emails, asking for my thoughts. Rather than respond to all 10 emails, it is a far more efficient use of my time to write a blog.

How does this make me feel? Two basic and extremely visceral feelings, mad and sad.

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Vista Trends

Microsoft launched Vista Business in late 2006 and Vista Home in early 2007. Our research shows that in July 2007, Vista was found on 12% of the PCs running the PC Pitstop online tests. Our research also shows that Vista is significantly lagging the historical XP launch ramp by almost 57%. In the six months following the XP launch in 2001, the operating system had grown to be found on over 28% of all PCs. Vista’s prevalence, after six months from its consumer Vista Home launch, sits at 12%.

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Microsoft’s Image

About a year ago, I was helping a friend with some minor computer problems in his small business in Rio. He is a pretty smart guy, but his computer knowledge was lacking, and I wanted to help. As we sat down at the computer, we got the familiar XP error message that asked us whether we want to send the error details back to Microsoft. My neophyte friend hit “Do Not Send” immediately. When I asked why, he said “I don’t trust those bastards for anything and I would never send personal information over the internet to them.”

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Claria Goes Public

Claria Corporation (formerly Gator Corporation) has filed an S-1 statement, the first step in the United States for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. The S-1 is a very useful document because it requires the company to be very clear and honest about its business prospects. Potential investors use the S-1 to determine whether to buy stock, and to determine a fair price for that stock.

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