For the tech industry, The Noughties were very nice indeed. Except when they weren't. During the first decade of the millennium, it goes without saying that computing has changed in a big way, becoming cheaper, easier to use, more mobile, and - in the words of the Mountain View Chocolate Factory - more "webby." But it should …
One correction, though:
Microsoft were never as evil as Google are.
Still, a great read and a very nice summation of this decade. Every other magazine in the world is deriding the 2010s as the worst decade since WW2 and its very nice to see that IT didn't quite follow that trend.
Are you sure about that?
Which companies did Google bribe/blackmail to provide only their products at the explicit expense of others?
When did Google get shafted in court over anti-competitive practices?
Just how much handy software/services has Microsoft just given away compared to Google (and I'm thinking Google Maps, Streetview, Sketchup, Earth, and the list is a lot longer).
Being very successful is not being evil, that's "business".
I would agree that Google are far from perfect but M$ were definitely the bad boys of the last 20 years or so.
I know that you are trying to prove a point...
But naming someone in that manner is over the top, Bryce. That was vitriolic.
Are you sure about that?
Out of interest I searched on Google, Bing and Yahoo for that handle and guess what?
I found out the same information more or less from all of them.
I understand your point about privacy, but this isn't specific to Google; in fact as far as I can tell it's search engines indexing data that's being inappropriately leaked from other sites.
As for MS not actively doing anything to harm end users you might want to ask anyone who used AutoRoute before Nextbase were acquired by them. Or FoxPro. Or Mosaic. Or Vista (har har).
I think Google has the potential to be "more evil", but right now I think MS are still on top. I wouldn't give it more than about six months, though.
Have you seen the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", well if you did and had half a brain at that very moment you should have started making a fake identity like the the 30% of the IT population does.
Yes I invented the figure based on the assumption that I'm not the only 'inteligent being' on the planet. (some people do)
And in a competition between Microsoft, Google and Bryce, on the evidence presented, Bryce is the most evil. Clearly.
I like the phrase 'Google has the potential to do more evil'. So, until they actually do more evil, perhaps they should be left alone?
I, for example, have the potential to go round the Bryce's house, and beat the living crap out of him. But I'm not going to do it, even if he may deserve it, because I am not that sort of person. Just because someone or something has the potential to do evil, doesn't mean they will actually do it. Same applies to Google (and any of the other search engines, although they don't advertise a Do no evil mantra).
Nobody is anonymous
Bryce, I'll take a stab in the dark and say you live in Texas. I have the address but that’s neither here nor there.
Nobody is anonymous. This is not Googles fault or any other company's fault. It's a simple extension of IT (as in "information technology"). You are shooting the messenger (Google) in this case. Even if no search engines existed, the information could easily be collected. After all, it’s only a matter of programming, right? I could probably make a program that would manually crawl through some sites to get the information in a week or so. Would that make me the new Google?
I have said for the last 30 years that we are just in the beginning of IT. We still are. Nobody knows where it will end, but society will be completely different.
Is this good or bad? I don't know, but it *will* be different.
In the last 20 years we have accepted (or been forced to accept) that detailed personal information about us is stored by the authorities. For the last 5 years or so, "we" are voluntarily providing even more personal information (facebook, mySpace etc). In another 10 year the sheer volume of information available and the level of *private* information available will make the current state seem trivial.
In 20 years time I seriously doubt there will be any privacy left, save what is in your head, although I'm not sure about that as well...
not so fast
You directly contradict your point too, Bryce: as other poster already pointed out, the same information can be obtained using Bing. The argument you were making was that Google was worse than Microsoft, remember?
Second, you post all that information thinking you made your case but in fact you proved nothing. Did it occur to you that somebody who posts all this information on web…maybe wants that information to be found? You know, as in trying to improve his job prospects through better visibility and etc…wait, you got his name from a RESUME, right?
How can you hold Google, Bing or Yahoo responsible for making info available that people submitted voluntarily? Are you arguing that it is search engines’ responsibility to protect people from themselves?
Next, your statement about Google making profits on ordinary people as opposed to Microsoft profiting from "faceless corporate and governmental entities" has to be the biggest joke of this decade. The fact that MS has 90+ percent market share in OS and office software means that it was able to over-charge people and corporations for those products for decades. And if you think that increased costs of doing business due to Microsoft monopoly do not trickle down to ordinary people like you and I, then you are truly naïve person.
The road to Mountain View is paved with good intentions.
Actually, I don't live in Texas! That's the whole point in letting whois info fall out of date. Someone sends me a lovely package of white powdery substance and it's not even me that gets to open it! How wrong is that? All that time spent sending me a gift and some other jerk gets it. :(
All of you replying to my post make valid points. However, you all seem to miss the last point I made: Google knows infinitely more about Ralph, you and I than it shows in its search results and it has every potential to abuse this. Does Bing? Yes. Does Yahoo? Yes. Based on the fact that their market share is significantly lower than Google's you could easily assume that they don't know AS much, however, and based on the fact that Bing and Yahoo haven't made nearly as many faux pas regarding our privacy and how they intend to protect it - which is not at all - you could assume that Google is simply more honest about their daily business. Which is rubbish.
If you use Google, or any website that uses any Google product, they know. If you visit babiesdoingcutestuff.com, they know it through analytics. If you search for "nazi porn" via Google and click on totallyhotnaziporn.com, they know it. If you search for "how to cover up a murder on a college campus" because you want to read a Cracked article making fun of bad college horror movies and you don't like any results so you don't click on any links, Google knows it. If you create a blogger account, make a blog, offend somebody, they sue and Google turns over not only your identity but all information related to your account because some judge was incredibly lax in his judgment, Google could very well tell them everything they know. Think you're not prone to this because everything you search for is sweet and innocent and virtuous and pure? Well, (1), you're posting on an IT website, so we KNOW that's not true, and (2) perhaps you should do some serious thinking about your browsing habits and see what can be taken out of context.
Is any of that evil? Nope, not at all. That's business. Collecting information and using it to make money is an industry that people have been profiting hand over fist in for thousands of years.
What IS evil is that Google won't try very hard - if they try at all - to prevent the above from happening. Google has the army of lawyers needed to argue a case that would protect the privacy of their users but as has been proven time and again the only litigation they care to get involved in is when billions of dollars are at stake because Viacom is suing their copyright ignoring ass. Keepers of as much information as Google have a duty to protect it from malicious intent, just as government has a duty to keep Google from abusing its position as a monopoly dealing in OUR data and information - but they have a mutually beneficial relationship and as such, NEITHER care to "do no evil."
And THAT, my friends, IS EVIL. More evil than Microsoft, and for all the reasons I've all ready listed. As the AOL search data leak showed there is every potential for an Information Bhopal (Union Carbide disaster). All it will take is an careless, arrogant, greedy, evil company like Google to guarantee it'll happen. Not if, WHEN.
"What IS evil is that Google won't try very hard - if they try at all - to prevent the above from happening. "
Nope. What IS VERY EVIL is that you are presuming to predict Google's motivations and actions. Does this make you evil. Not necessarily.
Because evil isn't, as has been said before, about potential or inclination. It's about action -- and about the sum total of actions. Has Google done anything evil? Absolutely. How does that balance the good that they've done? I don't know and I'm not going to presume to guess.
So, if you'd like to call them evil, i'd like to see a moral account statement, with credits and debits duly processed. Otherwise, take the blue pill and relax.
Apparently your definition of ‘evil’ differs from mine greatly. In my book in order to be considered evil you have to not only show capability to do harm but also actually do it.
The way I see it, we had entire decade of poorly performing software and browser/OS security vulnerabilities because Microsoft didn’t try hard enough. Why bother? It’s not like people had choice. If you are so big on data protection, answer me this: how many credit card numbers and other personal info were stolen due to various security holes in MS’s software?
If you are going to dislike Google because of what they might do that is your choice. I chose to dislike Microsoft because of the stuff they have done.
@Simon Banyard and what the past decade has already shown us...
I agree it was vitriolic and brutal to read. But the point is, such an abuse of someone's privacy is just a glimpse of our future. It also shows what is possible even now. So if people think thats bad now, then they haven't even begun to see how far this abuse of our privacy is going to go. The way things have gone in even just the past 3 years, I truly fear where we will all be in another 10 years from now. Part of the problem is its not a quick thing to describe, so people with short attention spans are very much part of the problem (and have been throughout history).
Our privacy is slowly being totally wiped out by companies and many government departments, all trying to spy on parts of our life and then if that isn't bad enough, many of them are also seeking to sell whatever they learn from spying on us. The point is, collectively they are all destroying our privacy by effectively stochastic sampling. So that brutal example (once unthinkable) is only a small glimpse of where we are now let alone where we are heading. Imagine that brutal example as the norm done multiple times every hour of every day of your life, done by ever more companies (and governments) worldwide, carried out by complete strangers. Yet even that is nothing compared with where we are going in the next decade.
The companies and governments all want us to give up our privacy (and for good reason, they all smell far more money and power to be made from exploiting us all) and that is also another aspect that this first decade of this new century will be remembered for. The decade our privacy effectively almost died. We have gone from having privacy (and expecting some privacy) to the point now, where we are made to feel bad and wrong for wanting privacy and where some companies and governments have such utter contempt for our privacy, that they are committing effectively privacy rape against us all, whenever they wish.
Our privacy has been almost killed in the past 3 years, so give it another 10 years and it'll be totally dead. Sadly Orwell must be already spinning in his grave by now. Considering how fast its all changing, the next 10 years looks like a nightmare. I still remember the early Internet Utopian dream days. So much for that Utopia where we are all going.
The question I keep asking myself and everyone (and one I try to test on everyone around me) is why is it sliding so fast?. What factors in society are helping to push us all so fast into this Orwellian nightmare and what can be done about it. As far as providing effective opposition to the slide, there seems to be 3 main factors that someone needs to be aware of before they can see and fully appreciate the full danger of where we are going. The 3 factors are.
(1) The lessons of history especially the lessons of the human nature of leadership and the pursuit of money and power throughout history.
(2) An understanding of how technology is being exploited as a way to abuse people's privacy.
(3) An appreciation of human psychology, that patterns of behavior found throughout history still exist today and why they exist.
Points (1) and (3) are different aspects of learning to understand human nature, where point (1) is the results of human action and point (3) is the driving forces behind human nature leading to the resulting harm we see throughout history. When technical people fail to see the danger of the destruction of privacy, its not due (most of the time) to a lack of understanding of point (2). Its far more about failures to understand the implications of points (1) and (3).
I've come to a conclusion that anyone who understands any 2 of these 3 factors has a very good intuitive understanding of the dangers of where we are going and can readily give shocking insights into ways technology can be exploited. The problem is the vast majority of the general population do not have an understanding of any of these areas. But then throughout history, people with an academic background have seen growing dangers in their time, that the vast majority around them fail to see, until its too late. (Throughout history as long as its others in society who suffer, the majority of the population fails to see until its too late. Not so much out of contempt for others, but simply due to a myopic perception of the world around them). The majority failure to see until its too late, is why events are left to spiral out of control for so long, getting ever worse until society ends up so twisted that ever more people end up suffering.
The core problem is, throughout history the minority of people who relentlessly (and most successfully) fight to become our ruling elite in business and government do so via deeply two faced Machiavellian attitudes towards everyone else and so as a result, they have always worked to create a social asymmetry which has allowed them to dominate. Its a process of holding people down and back while they dominate. If its about money, they don't pay people what they deserve, they simply pay what they can get away with. If its about power, they don't give people freedoms, they only give what they are forced to give and negotiated into giving, meanwhile they are always (behind people's backs) seeking new ways to out maneuver any negotiated position, to allow them to grab even more money and power for themselves. They are the driving force behind the social decay.
Meanwhile in the past, the academic people have always had a choice. Which was either get out of the way of the growing asymmetry i.e. move to a safer country, or stand and help fight for a return to a fairer country. The problem is this time around, the way things are going, there won't be anywhere in the world for people to truly hide. Knowledge is power and the Machiavellian attitude of the control freaks combined with exploiting ever more technology, is giving them more power than ever before in history. (The label Machiavellian is often used from the historical point of view of point (1) above, whereas from a point (3) psychology perspective, its more usually called Narcissism (at least at less extreme levels of the behavior (who lack almost all empathy for others), all the way up to sociopaths (who lack any empathy for others). Its nothing special, its simply a label to describe a dominate reoccurring pattern in their behavior towards others. But sadly all to often, their behavior (of effectively selfish contempt) results in considerable harm to others).
So if you think the destruction of even just one part of one person's privacy is in any way shocking or brutal to read, then you haven't even begun to see how far its all going. If the destruction of privacy isn't stopped and soon, then the next decade is going to become an utter nightmare, on a scale most people it seems are as yet, unable to even imagine possible. There will be no limit until people fight to set a limit and while the people in power feel there is no limit, they will continue to push for ever more and elections will not stop this social decay into such extreme asymmetry. Thats because no matter which party is in power, they all seek power so they are all (point 3) the same kind of person and (point 1) going to behave the same way we see throughout history, and (point 2) technology in the next decade is going to continue to improve and continue to be exploited ever more.
So where are we going in the next decade? ... well we all know knowledge is power and human nature hasn't changed throughout history. Worried yet? ... you will be.
Must say, I'm very much enjoying these proper, hefty comments instead of OS/Browser/Phone bitching and requests for Playmobil re-enactments.
That said, I would like to see a Playmobil reconstruction of the last 10 years of IT-related developments. Please.
I don't know if it was intended, but that was too long and at times a little patronising. I get that Bryce was making a point, but I think he overstepped a mark somewhat. The proverbial Sledgehammer and peanut spring to mind. I neither said I agreed or disagreed with his point of view. His action were *in my opinion* out of line - THAT'S what I took issue with. In fact, I'd go as far to say that it was irresponsible of the moderators to publish it. To be fair to El Reg, it has provoked an interesting debate, that apart from the root of the discussion, has been carried out in a reasonably cordial manner and without name calling. I'm not going to enter into a debate about whether or not Google or Microsoft or Apple are Evil (tm). They are businesses. They exist solely to make money.
Should it be:
Do you refer, honestly, to the "smart" phone which removed pen-based input in lieu of finger-painting?
If the iPhone fit your needs, great. But "creative" is so very subjective, and I, for one, does not welcome our old Apple overlords.
the end of the decade - surely not?
as happened at the time of y2k - when world+dog were proclaiming the year 2000 as the start of the new millennium - you chaps have ended the decade a year early.
the first decade of the noughties ends with 2010, not 2009. and the next decade begins in 2011.
as captain alberto bertorelli was prone to say in 'allo 'allo, "what a mistaka to maka."
Crawl back under your rock, will ya?
Casll me crazy but...
...a decade is defined as a period of 10 years.
Dunno about anyone else but with this fact in hand I see it as 2000 being year one of the naughties and 2009 being the 10th?
The start of the new millennium was defined in reality by the majority of people, as opposed to the pedants, as when the first number on the digital clock moved for the first time in their lives. That was what the celebrating was about. And if you want to complain that they should have used a different word because 'millennium' was already spoken for, there was a time when if I called you gay it would have meant you were happy, while now it means you're glad to be happy, regardless of what I or millions of others might want. And the choice of year to celebrate as 'the New Millennium' had sod all to do with what a bunch of saddo Viz characters think. TFFT and tomorrow is Friday.
The _start_ of the new Millenium was the point at which 1999 became 2000. Therefore, 2000 was year 1 of the noughties. A little math then tells you that 2009 is the 10th year, thus the article is correct and it is you, good sir, that is mistaken.
I believe someone once said, "what a mistaka to maka."
@ Doc Spock and others
New millennium didn't start in 2000 but in 2001. If it did as you want it, then first "millennium" would have had only 999 years. That's because there's no such thing as year zero- so year one is first year of the millennium and year 1000 is last. 1001 starts new millennium and so on.
I know I'm being anal here and it's very tempting to celebrate round numbers, but then we get stuck with first "millennium"/"century"/"decade" being one year short.
No, it's not 'anal'
Psycholanalysis has been long discredited. You _are_ being 'pedantic'. Sometimes it has a point. Other times it is merely 'revealing'. It implies a powerful need to be governed by absolute rules such that nothing else matters, as though if the pedants were running the world it would be like clockwork, as in 'mindless', as though perfection would be to eliminate consciousness. You pedants don't appear able to really see yourselves.
More google bashing
I have to wonder sometimes - did somebody at Google run over the El Reg cat at some point??
I've seen the vulture side itself with Google before. Once. Okay, just today, even.
The "scale and the intensity of the problem" now might not be headline grabbing, but the malware problem is worse. ILOVEYOU and Slammer had a large impact in a short time, but a malware family like Conficker is in for the long haul. The malware developers are going for criminal gain, as part of an underground economy: trojans compromise machines, bot herders control them and rent them to spammers, phishers and DDoSers. Headlines don't steal cash, so they don't want an internet-stopping incident. The move to criminal gain is the biggest change in malware over the decade.
a good read
Thanks for that round-up, it was rather interesting.
Netbooks did not come out of nowhere - they were a response to the problem of small cheap computers. Notebooks had become so expensive that they were too valuable to risk using in public. People had to buy an extra license to have the same software on their notbook as their desk top and they needed an expensive power hungry CPU to run it.
OLPC demonstrated that a useful computer could be sold for $200, and that people would buy them even if you made them jump through hoops to get them. They also demonstrated that the biggest profit centre for laptop distributors (proprietary software) could be entirely replaced with reliable free software.
Manufacturers were dragged kicking and screaming onto the small cheap computer bandwagon (each afraid that the others would get there first). Distributors refused to sell the Linux versions because they would not be able to shift profitable MS Office and crapware with Linux machines. Even so, small cheap computers sold because people would jump through hoops to get them and efficient distributors entered the computer market.
The term "small cheap computer" has been replaced with Netbook just like "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk drives" changed to "Redundant Array of Independent Disk drives". Removing the word "cheap" allowed prices to rise to the point where people will not risk using a Netbook in public. Manufacturers and distributors hope this will stifle sales to the point where they can claim Netbooks were fad people experimented with during a recession.
Perhaps they are right, and they can go back to their traditional segmented market. The next bump on the road map is the work AMD has done for ARM and MIPS CPU's. Investigations into how Intel kept AMD out of the market are starting to reach conclusions. If the regulators prevent Intel's anticompetitive behaviour, AMD will not be the only company to benefit. ARM laptops will not mysteriously disappear after a quick demonstration at a trade show.
The time has come for a new marketing name. I propose "laptop" for a silent computer that will not catch fire if you use it on your lap, uses a non-x86 CPU to keep the cost low and battery life high and has a pixel qi screen so you can read in sunlight. (Pixel Qi was started by the people who made the low cost daylight-readable display for OLPC's XO.)
the iPhone has nabbed 50 per cent of worldwide smartphone usage
Do we have to debunk your figures yet again?
Honestly I trust HM Govts usage of statistics more than El Reg at the moment!
Metrics and representation
The Reg really goes out on a limb on this one. I find it difficult to believe it's accidental either, and as a regular Reg reader this makes me sad.
The figures in the report are from downloaded ads by a single advert broker. But smartphone usage is not the same as smartphone Internet browsing.
"AdMob also serves mobile ads into iPhone and Android applications. The traffic from these applications is included in the Metrics report".
Think about it a moment. What a surprise that iPhone and Android come out tops. Half the downloads were also in the USA. Final quote from the report:
"Representativeness - AdMob does not claim that this information will be necessarily representative of the mobile Web as a whole or of any particular countrymarket."
"Imagine the world without MySQL and JBoss. That world existed just last decade, when you handed over tens of thousands of dollars per CPU for a database or application server from IBM, Oracle, or BEA Systems."
Dudes, has everybody already forgot TomCat, Gaujos and the like? And the fact that Postgre was there before MySQL?
Tomcat is one of the pillars upon which JBoss was built
"It has dismissed privacy concerns with the conviction of a committed Tory saying anyone who has a problem with intrusion online must have something to hide."
WTF? Isn't it authoritarian nanny state Labour party behind ID cards, national identity register, massive rise in (pointless) CCTV, local councils spying on people via "anti terror" legislation, assuming every adult is a peado unless they pay for a check, etc?
And haven't the Tories stated they are going to scrap ID cards etc?
Tory's might have been known as the "nasty party" but at least they weren't the most evil party this country has ever seen.
"But only now - 2009 - is the end in sight for Windows XP"
Let's see if you repeat that one in another ten years time.... long term support until 2014 gets you half-way there.
Netbooks not such a good idea after all...
It seems that for Acer, the NetBook was the proverbial goose with the (tiny) golden eggs.
But for every other manufacturer, especially the big brand names in the States, they were a quick way of selling zero-margin machines to customers who then would think thrice about upgrading their existing kit.
I myself have bought a Dell Mini 9 for €300. It has gone back for repairs twice. I hardly think Dell could have made nay money off of it. With my mobile computing needs looked after, I am in no hurry to go out and buy a bigger laptop. I have a desktop at home, which now features more as a media centre, so no real need to upgrade that either.
When the Boxee box comes out, I might be interested in buying it.
Point being, your analysis that Apple's hubris caused them to "miss out" on this netbook bonanza is somewhat off the mark. Given that their sales are up 21% and they may even reach 3 million units sold this quarter (and that's proper machines with fat margins, mind), I fail to understand how you could fault them for neglecting the netbook market.
It all comes down to the myopic attention to market share, which is a pointless metric anyway.
One technology missing...
Good article, however one important one missing - Virtualisation
slight correction needed
"from thumbnail storage that started at 256Mb and grew quickly to gigabits"
the first usb pen drive I say was 16mb and Is till own some 128mb ones
I'm a little surprised that the near bankruptsy of WorldCom didn't actually make it into your list, considering the 70 BILLION dollars worth of fraud that was subsequently uncovered... cost thousands of IT bods their jobs and ended up in one of the biggest IT near-collapses ever!
I like traffic lights
Good point - Bernie still owes me £10k worth of lost shares the robbin' bastard.
With the conviction of someone who thinks new labour is a football team
"It has dismissed privacy concerns with the conviction of a committed Tory saying anyone who has a problem with intrusion online must have something to hide."
I think you'll find the Tories are the ones trying to roll-back NewLabours database state - you're Google-quote is more analogous to something Wacki-Jacqui (who *should* be committed, that ill agree with!) would come out with rather than one of Camerons boobs.
I think as politics go, f***ed up doesn't even begin to describe this decade; but as other posters said this has been a great year for technology even if it doesn't seem like it at times.
I found this article a great read and a rare gem - nice one (apart from the Tory slagging).
Its hard to believe not only the progress that has been made technology wise since I first cut my teeth on computing 10 years ago - and not all of it good - but also the entire business world that has eclipsed in a couple of decades industries that took over 100 years to build.
Heres to another, even better, 10!
And the rest of us ...
Quite simply keep plodding along, providing RealWorld[tm] solutions to today's IT problems, using today's IT tools, as best we can. It ain't exactly rocket science ...
The distro that thinks good user policy means "Simon Says"? No wonder it's so popular...it's windows in disguise.
Noobius is not in the Simon Says file. This incident will be reported.
Very enjoyable article.
The nineties started in 1990. The noughties started in 2000. But yes, the third millennium started in 2001.
What, nothing about commodity x86 virtualisation!?
Surely that's got to be worth a paragraph or two? Nevermind the ongoing discussions on whether or not it's the panacea for our datacentre woes - it has been a game-changer.
Outdated notion of political dynamics
Overall, Interesting but
"With the conviction of a committed Tory saying anyone who has a problem with intrusion online must have something to hide"
I too feel this is obviously wrong statement. Whilst you could argue that the Tories would do the exact same thing. The Labour party has or is trying to:
Collect all of our DNA
Use Deep packet inspection to monitor all of our on-line communication
Register with relation to working (for a very limited time) with children
Force ID cards on us
Collect biometric data from us
Define what porn made by consenting adults we can watch
Force us to decrypt our hard drive on their demand
Other things I can't remember ?
(All this why they tried to keep their expenses secret)
I personally think its about time people stopped thinking of Labour as for the people and the moral choice because they are not. The last decade has proved that. (I don't know if the Tories will be better, but I know what Labour has done and is trying to do)