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Greatest Technological Inventions of the Past 25 Years
The Greatest Technological Inventions of the Past 25 Years
Who would have thought that combining a blog format with the direct connectedness of instant messaging would be so big? Obviously Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and the 75 million users of Twitter. Microblogging services like Twitter that usually come with their own social network have begun to usurp traditional media delivery services. You won t hear anyone ask, Did you catch the news today? Only, Did you check Twitter today?
32. Caller ID
Many of you probably can t fathom a time when you had to answer the phone without knowing who was on the other line, but before 1988 that s the way it was. After a Brazilian inventor wasn t able to secure a patent, Bell Laboratories, AT&T, and Western Electric came together to release what their marketing departments called Caller ID. Bill collectors have been pissed ever since.
33. Mobile Broadband
Without International Mobile Telecommunications 2000, or 3G as we know it, the current state of mobile computing would be vastly different. 3G brought with it the ability to simultaneously talk on the phone while surfing the web or sending a text message. It also allowed people to surf the web at a much faster speed than they were used to. Although 4G is expected to take off within the next year or two, it was 3G that showed us that we can surf the web wherever the hell we pleased.
Call them what you want: web logs, online diaries, wastes of online space. We call em game changers. Blogs, by giving regular users the same sized soapbox from which to preach, have completely turned the media game upside down.
35. MP3 Player
Now that they re available at every available price point, MP3 players have replaced CD players as the default portable music player. And it only took 14 years. Yeah, there were other MP3 players before the iPod. Nathan Schulof and his Audio Highway company dropped the first MP3 player in 1996. And there were plenty of other dope ones that came after. Remember the Rio? Or the Creative Nomad? They all set the way for Apple s grand entrance into the market.
36. Electronic Word Processing
If you ever had to write a 15 page paper using a typewriter or an old fashioned word processor, programs like Microsoft Word were a godsend. Instead of waiting until you ve typed an entire page to see how it turned out, these new programs let you edit the page in real time, go back and correct mistakes, and even told you when you spelled a word incorrectly. We wonder if this did more damage than good to our scholastic discipline.
Live television sucks. We prefer recording our favorite shows and watching them when we re good and ready. Thanks to digital video records, we re able to do that. Introduced by TiVo and ReplayTV at the 98 Consumer Electronics Show, these set top boxes allowed users to watch TV on their on terms which, of course, pissed off big money advertisers because they felt people would not see their commercials. They were right. We can t remember the last commercial we watched in its entirety.
38. DNA Profiling
CSI owes a debt of gratitude to Sir Alec Jefferys. Without his genetic fingerprinting technique, a big chunk of their show would be mission. Thanks to Sir Jefferys, law enforcement can identify people based on any bit of DNA left behind at a crime scene. Though he made the technology commercially available in 1987, it took a few years for it to catch on. Even today, convicts can be released from prison if the DNA evidence proves them innocent.
39. Social Networking Service
You may not think of it as such, but Geocities was one of the first big social networks. Yeah, it was crude, but it sparked the idea that would help change the way people interact online. From there, services let people really express themselves with visible profile pages, and let them search for and invite friends. It also made everyone really, really easy to find and get in contact with. Hey, there s two sides to every coin.
40. Genetic Sequencing
Though not an invention, the sequencing of the human genome was one of the biggest technological advancements in human history. The Human Genome Project, led by John Craig Venter, discovered a way to completely sequence the human genome, unlocking an unlimited amount of data about who we all are. Somebody clap for this dude.
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