10 Technologies That Complete 20 Years of Life in 2017

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When you refer to the 1990s, it seems like it’s pretty close, is not it? So maybe it’s time to revise your perception of time because we’ve been through 1997 for no less than two decades.

That’s right: exactly 20 years ago, a host of technologies, services, and programs that we have used to date (or gained a place in our hearts) have emerged. Here you have a list of the main highlights in the area – whether it’s seeing you for the first time, refreshing your memory or just making you feel older.

1. DVD players

Natural successors of the VHS player, DVD players were still in Japan at the end of 1996, but only started to win other countries the following year.

Like other technologies, they started out extremely expensive and with serious distribution restrictions. Film studios were concerned about the copy protection of their films – something that actually happened afterward, but that turned out to be inevitable. Gradually, brands such as Toshiba, Sony and Panasonic have gained the market with players and also the entries for recording DVDs on computers.

2. Netflix

Well, Netflix seems extremely modern, but the truth is that the company has been around for some time. Before moving to the streaming world in 2007, the company founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph specialized in making movie rentals over the internet, later introducing the monthly subscription to receive the products without leaving home.

It is not known if it is an invented story or not, but Hastings says he had the original idea after having to pay a $40 penalty to a video store just for delaying the return of a feature film.

3. Winamp

If today you use streaming services to listen to your favorite artists and you barely remember what life was like before, believe me: it was not always like this. And, between slow downloads and program settings, one of the most famous music players among those who caught the stage of listening to MP3 files on the PC was Winamp.

The Nullsoft program stood out from the rest for a number of qualities. It had a much more modern look, the ability to easily install skins and plugins (which left the software completely customized to the user experience) and good playlists control. Winamp took some time to gain fame and expand, even because the first version was so minimalist that it had no window: it was just a bar with a simple playback menu.

4. WiFi

The year was also marked by the first big step in establishing this technology. Created in 1997, the so-called “IEE 802.11 legacy” was the first wireless networking standard that defined the protocols that would be used in this form of data transmission.

To establish the rules, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) determined that WiFi would operate between 2.4 GHz and 2.4835 GHz frequencies with 1 Mb/s to 2 Mb/s.

The use of one of the established techniques slightly reduced the speed of the data being transported but allowed multi-channel transmissions and reduced interference and loss of information.

Two years later, the sector was started by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), now called the Wi-Fi Alliance. The coverage area grew, and the original standard was almost completely modified, but it helped to underpin one of the today’s most essential technologies.

5. CD-RW

Throw the first stone who lived the 1990s and never recorded a CD by computer! CD-RWs have revolutionized the world at the time by allowing non-stop recording of files, just requiring you to erase the previous content first.

The secret of these models lays in the composition of the disk surface. It was made of a material capable of changing its shape by the application of heat. Thus, when there is contact with the recording laser, it is possible to rewrite data on the media.

This technology popularized the sharing of content between people and even made new and more powerful readers appear on PCs. Each rewritable CD could have overlapping data about a thousand times.

6. Nero Burning ROM 1

Nero Burning ROM 1, or simply Nero, became synonymous with the program to “burn” (copy some content) to CDs and later DVDs. It was not the first of the branch, but it was certainly the most famous.

The interface was kind of streamlined even at the time, and several different procedures were supported, making it an ideal program even for those who did not have a great experience with the PC.

7. Babel Fish

The translator of Google today is a reference, but the role of transforming texts from one language to the other has already mostly been in the Babel Fish service. It was born as part of AltaVista, another giant of the past on the internet, and was later acquired by Yahoo!. Since 2012, it has been completely replaced by Bing, the Microsoft search engine, but still, exists as a company.

Did you find the service name curious? It is a tribute to the fish-babel, an animal of the universe of the series “The Guide of the Hitchhiker of the Galaxies,” of Douglas Adams. In work, it is used by humans and aliens to serve just as a “universal translator.”

8. Pentium II

So, did you ever use a Pentium II processor on your computer? It was the sixth generation of Intel for chips, at that time based on the Pentium Pro predecessor architecture, or P6. Attaining clocks of up to 450 MHz, this model brought novelties in the composition to eliminate some not so important components and to add new technologies.

The new circuit board integrated the processor and L2 cache, ensuring a cheaper production method without losing performance. The chip was still capable of reading 16-bit and 32-bit instructions at the same speed, making it ideal for both new systems – Windows 98 was the leader of the day. The classic line of Celeron processors was initially released based on the Pentium II.

9. Yahoo! Mail

This is especially symbolic since Yahoo! will hardly continue to exist as we know it after 2017. The Yahoo! Mail e-mail service has already become the third most accessed in the world (according to Comscore data) in 2011, with 281 million of active users. Plenty of storage space and organization were the keys to the service for a long time.

Born from the Rocketmail client, Yahoo! Mail maintained the classic visual identity for several years, pleasing those who were already loyal to the brand. Unfortunately, security breaches, the massive presence of advertising and few changes to bother competitors have made the domain lose credibility and lag behind.

10. Symbian

The market dominated today by Android and iOS has already had an undisputed leader made by Nokia. It is Symbian, a mobile operating system that has been used in handsets of the most diverse manufacturers in an era of the smartphones.

At its peak in 2006, Symbian was present in 67% of smartphones sold worldwide and was highly praised for interface and processing. Except that soon it was outdated, with serious security flaws and much fragmentation, which generated incompatibilities between apps.

By |2017-03-03T07:53:50+00:00March 3rd, 2017|Digital Empowerment, Digital Literacy|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Daniel Ogeto Omwancha November 7, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Very interesting and nostalgic article right here for me. Over the last 30 years the pace of digital technology change has increased so quickly that one decade’s must-have gadget becomes the next decade’s laughing stock. We say it every year, but Digital technology moves forward at a breakneck pace with many more innovative startups showing up with much more gadgets for us to gawk at and marvel. Whether it’s being applied to consumer-facing products today or research that’ll take hold in the years to come, we have had a fair share of industry-shaking technology advances. So many new technologies have appeared in the past half century that it’s impossible to list them all. But these 10 high-tech breakthroughs stand out over the last 50 years because they’ve revolutionized the way we live. These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop further. Technology has a critical role to play in addressing each of the major challenges the world faces, yet it also poses significant economic and social risks. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is vital that we develop shared norms and protocols to ensure that technology serves humanity and contributes to a prosperous and sustainable future

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