Tech highlights: 2000-2010
December 20, 2010
by Mark Ollig

As we approach 2011, I thought it would be appropriate for us to look back and recall some of the milestones in technology we have witnessed since 2000.

It was in the year 2000, when the 10-millionth website was confirmed as being online.

At the start of 2010, there were approximately 234 million websites available over the Internet.

Global Position Systems (GPS) originally developed by the Department of Defense as a military system, became available for civilian use in 2000. GPS is a satellite-based system which provides precise location and timing information to users all over the world.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives (used to connect computing devices) were first publicly obtainable when Trek Technology and IBM began selling them in 2000.

Sony launched its PlayStation 2 video game console in 2000.

The next year, Microsoft released its own video game system called the Xbox.

In January 2001, we came across the presence of the noteworthy – and yet sometimes controversial – Wikipedia website. This non-profit site currently contains more than 17 million articles which have been written collaboratively by people from around the world. These articles can also be edited by anyone with proper user access to the site.

One of the today’s most popular media-player devices made its debut Oct. 23, 2001, when Apple first introduced the iPod. As of April 2010, more than 260 million iPods have been sold world-wide.

The year 2002 saw the invention of a helpful (and entertaining) household robot known as the Roomba. This circular 13.4-inch in diameter device is an electronic robotic vacuum which navigates around the inside of your house, cleaning the floor. It has built-in sensors which keep it from running into walls, and it won’t fall down the stairs – which is always a good thing.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store made its introduction in 2003, and Time magazine proclaimed it as the “invention of the year.”

In 2003, Apple also released its new Safari graphical web browser on their Mac OS X operating system. (A Microsoft Windows version of Safari became available in 2007).

With our computer and a headset, we were making telephone calls over the Internet in 2003 using Skype, a software creation of two Estonian developers.

The online social networking site called Facebook was launched in 2004. As of July 2010, Facebook boasts more than 500 million active users, with your humble columnist being one of them.

Google started a free e-mail service called Google Mail, commonly known as “Gmail,” in 2004. Paul Buchheit is the programmer responsible for its creation.

Mozilla’s FireFox, a popular web browser alternative to the Microsoft Internet Explorer, was first released Nov. 9, 2004.

The year 2005 saw a ground-breaking method of sharing video files, when YouTube went online.

We began to tweet short-length messages to the world in July 2006, when Twitter appeared on the Internet scene.

In 2007, we were broadcasting our own video content creations live over social networks like Justin.tv and Ustream.tv.

Apple’s first Internet and multimedia-enabled smart phone, called the iPhone, first hit stores Jan. 9, 2007. One interacts with the iPhone via its glass liquid-crystal display touch-screen.

In March 2007, the Hulu website began showing streaming video of movies and television shows from most of the major mainstream networks and studios.

Amazon.com released the first Kindle e-book reader in the US Nov. 19, 2007.

Google came out with a graphical user web browser with its introduction of Chrome on Sept. 2, 2008.

Apple’s MacBook Air, a thin 13.3” notebook, was made available to the public Jan. 15, 2008.

In 2009, Google reveals a “big secret” at its April 1 Google Data Center Energy Summit conference in Mountain View, CA. Google announced that it builds its own computer servers. Each individual computer file server contains an internal 12-volt battery pack.

Jan. 27, 2010, Apple’s chairman and CEO, Steve Jobs, introduced the long-awaited iPad at an Apple press conference in San Francisco. The iPad is configured with 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal flash drive storage.

“Cloud computing” became a buzz word during 2010.

Many in the industry believe “the cloud” may become the future venue where we will store, access, and manage our documentation and all other web-based applications, software, and files. The programs we previously stored inside our personal computers’ hard drive will reside and be accessible from encrypted computer file servers attached to the Internet.

Just this month, Google came out with its new notebook computer specifically designed for using software applications stored in the cloud. The Google Chrome notebook uses Google’s Chrome Operating System.

My concern about cloud computing remains centered on the safety and security of the information being stored.

A video tour demonstration of the new Google Chrome notebook can be seen at tinyurl.com/2wwa69g.

The future discoveries, innovations, and technical advances of 2011 are yet to be revealed to us.

At the start of 2000, we talked about how much storage space our personal computers held using terms such as megabytes. By 2005, we spoke of gigabytes. It is now near the end of 2010, and we are speaking in terabytes.

The adventure continues . . . so stay tuned.

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