February 15, 2012 by
Elton Francis, senior AV engineer at Tea London, has compiled together some snippets from other technical articles on technology that definitely changed the way we live and tackle day-to-day tasks and activities. These are the sorts technologies that are hard to do without once you start using them.
Technology that changed you forever
I’m sure many of us have left our phone at home or worst, lost one.
I don’t know about you, but this creates mixed feelings within me.
If I left it home, I hate the idea that no one can get hold of me at the drop of a hat; but then again I also love the brief sense of freedom, being able to the shrug off the responsibility that comes that a mobile phone carries.
How did people function only just 20 odd years ago with out mobile phones or an email address?
This made me think about other devices and technologies that were not around in the last couple of decades, that we find are impossible to live without today. Some of the answers I came up with may surprise you…
The World Wide Web isn’t the Internet, it is essentially the ‘web browsing’ element of the Internet. Without it, it’s unlikely that your Gran would be looking at your Flickr pics or that you’d be chortling at things on Fark. Created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and released in 1992, the web took off in 1993 with the introduction of the Mosaic Web browser. Berners-Lee could probably have made enormous stacks of money from patenting and licensing his invention, but he gave it away instead. What a man.
The Global Positioning System was clever enough as a military technology, but when GPS became available to the rest of us it changed the way we drive or ‘navigate’ to a chosen destination. It might have made a lot of mapmakers redundant. The Sat-Nav systems we used in our cars are just the beginning, though. GPS in mobile phones is already heralding a new era of location-aware sites and services.
Part 2 >
February 15, 2012 by
Without the original Walkman there would probably be no Apple iPod. Sony engineer, Nobutoshi Kihara, made it a personal mission to design the Walkman so he could listen to operas during long plane journeys and change the soundtrack of the high street. The first Walkman played analogue cassette tapes but the idea was successfully transplanted into newer audio formats including CDs, MiniDisc and MP3s. You can see the Walkman’s DNA in pretty much every portable music device. If stick an iPod next to the original 1979 Walkman, they look like they are brothers.
PageRank is a link analysis algorithm originally developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while still at university. PageRank went on to become a website called Google, you may have heard of it. Unlike other search engines, which simply scanned the content of pages, PageRank analysed a page’s incoming links too – rightly assuming that a site with loads of incoming links from reputable websites is likely to be reputable too. The rest is – ahem – search history.
I’m not talking about the Napster, the subscription service, which pretty much has nothing to do with Shawn Fanning’s groundbreaking file-swapping software. Copyright protectors can say what they will about how Napster facilitated copyright violations on a massive scale (it had 60 million users at its zenith); however piracy was around before the Internet. Napster was eventually taken down. What was important about Napster was not it being an enabler for the proliferation of pirated media but its development of P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing. More importantly they forced Record labels and other content rights holders to radically rethink how they did business and give up on their reluctance of publishing on the Internet. P2P is already being used in many legitimate guises prompting the likes of Warner Brothers and Paramount to sign deals with upstarts BitTorrent and TV streamer Joost to distribute their content.
Before it unveiled the Roomba Floorvac for the home market in 2002, iRobot built land-mine-clearing robots, which used the so-called crop circle algorithm. This very same technology was adapted to make the Roomba circle and sweep autonomously. Within a year of its launch, iRobot’s Roomba Floorvac was the top gift request on American wedding registries. Sales of the revolutionary vacuum cleaner surpassed the combined total number of all mobile robots previously ever sold.
Digital Video Recorder
When ownership of this gadget crept past 1 million in 2002, TV and advertising execs worried aloud that DVRs enabled viewers to skip commercials and would ultimately be a sure-fire killer of TV. “There’s no Santa Claus,” one CEO said. “If you don’t watch the commercials, someone’s going to have to pay for television and it’s going to be you.” Fast forward 10 years later and 40 percent of households have a DVR; whether out of habit or laziness almost 50 percent of DVR users still watch the ads; networks have, on average, seen ratings jump 10 percent, thanks to the DVR.