The 21st Century was greeted with both sighs of relief and rounds of “I told you nothing would happen” as the threat of the Millennium bug fizzled out into harmless vapor. It also heralded the beginning of a decade of mind-blowing gadgets and major technological breakthroughs. So TechnoBuffalo enters nostalgic mode and takes a retrospective look over the last ten years and picks out a few of the things which have caught our eye.

cellphoneFirst off is Sean P Aune who is in no doubt about what’s impressed him: Cell phones.  Pure and simple.  They may have been around since the 1980’s, but the advancements made in this past decade or such a leap forward from what we had in the 1990’s that it is almost like it is a totally different technology.  We have been freed from our desks and cubicles and can now work from virtually anywhere.  They have shackled us to work as much as they freed us, but it was worth it.

twitterBrandon Miniman has had his eye on the rise of a certain blue bird: “Who cares about what I’m doing?” is the first response that Twitter gets when people learn about the service. The truth is, Twitter is not the micro-blogging service that it once was. It is now a form of information delivery, one that is rivaling traditional news media, and one that is acting as a low cost means of promotion for businesses. Will Twitter continue its growth into the next decade, or will it fade away as alternatives come about?

touchTravis Harvey gets all touchy feely: One of the biggest advancements that I’m most impressed with is easily capacitive touchscreens.  Until capable capacitive screens came along, we’ve been stuck with terribly unresponsive resistive screens that, even today, are beyond unusable. Like the mouse, it revolutionized how we (effectively) interact with tech.  Capacitive screens are going to be an enormous part of technology in the coming future and the way we’re set to interact with the world.

lcd_tvJon Rettinger appreciates flat TVs: In 2000 I distinctly remember lugging a 23″ CRT TV up three flights of stairs.  Once I got unnecessarily heavy behemoth perched on its stand I was really proud of myself that I owned such a large television.  A few years later, Plasmas and LCD’s would become mainstream, and my once mighty 23″ felt like a measly nothing.  The advent of flat panel televisions (LCD, Plasma, LED, or even SED) also ushered in the HD era.  Watching a football game in standard def now feels so dirty, and If I must, I find myself longing to see the individual blades of grass on the field.

I wonder at the small things in life:
At the turn of the Century I remember the looks of astonishment on the faces flash_memoryof friends, family and colleagues as I showed off a music player not much bigger than a thumb but which could hold just over a CD’s worth of songs. The digitized music was stored on an early flash drive, a whole 32Mb’s worth of portable audio enjoyment and costing in the region of $200. As we leave the naughties, the capacity of a single unit has reached many gigabytes and the first commercially available solid state drives are beginning to threaten the supremacy of the hard disk. With Intel recently announcing that advances in nanotechnology could see flash memory density reach even dizzier proportions, I may just consider trading in my 32Mb MP3 player for a newer model.

3gAnd Brandon Miniman closes with some thoughts on mobility: In the last decade, 3G data transfer speeds for mobile devices has truly become ubiquitous. The main benefit to the faster connection has been the accessibility of the internet from anywhere. The average 3G speed is just around 1mbps. While this is over 20 times faster than the 1G data speeds of the last decade, it’s still not fast enough to provide an internet experience that is as quick and smooth as can be found on a WiFi or wired network. For that, we look forward to 4G.

So there you have it. The technology of the naughties that we feel most worthy of mention. What gadgetry has impressed you the most over the last decade?