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PC World's 50 Best Tech Products of All Time

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the time-starts-in-1977 dept.

Software 399

Ant writes "PC World picks the 50 best tech products of all time. Apple holds down seven places in the list, Microsoft two, and open source software (Red Hat Linux) one. The top five, according to PC World, are: Netscape Navigator (1994), Apple II (1977), TiVo HDR110 (1999), Napster (1999), and Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983).

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mmmh (1, Insightful)

motumboe (784283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584997)

I'm always concerned about listings of this kind, since the metrics involved to make the listing is not given or it is not accurate.

Re:mmmh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585375)

If that's the kind of thing that concerns you, you have no life.

Sorry, forgot where I was.

Re:mmmh (1)

fa_pa (868784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585617)

Whats even worse is the "of all time" thing. There is no way to know that something will be the best thing ever when ever has no end to it. It might be the best thing up to now but probably down the road there is gonna be something that is equally good or better. So please people, media, world stop doing "best thing ever" features!

The list (5, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585011)

1. Netscape Navigator (1994)
      2. Apple II (1977)
      3. TiVo HDR110 (1999)
      4. Napster (1999)
      5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983)
      6. Apple iPod (2001)
      7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981)
      8. Motorola StarTAC (1996)
      9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989)
    10. Tetris (1985)
    11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994)
    12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
    13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977)
    14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)
    15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000)
    16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999)
    17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
    18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996)
    19. id Software Doom (1993)
    20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995)
    21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003)
    22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
    23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994)
    24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
    25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986)
    26. CompuServe (1982)
    27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
    28. Aldus PageMaker (1985)
    29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
    30. Apple Mac OS X (2001)
    31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
    32. Eudora (1988)
    33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
    34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
    35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984)
    36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
    37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985)
    38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985)
    39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
    40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992)
    41. Apple HyperCard (1987)
    42. Epson MX-80 (1980)
    43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
    44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003)
    45. Red Hat Linux (1994)
    46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996)
    47. PC-Talk (1982)
    48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997)
    49. Microsoft Excel (1985)
    50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

Re:The list (5, Insightful)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585045)

The 3dfx Voodoo3 is placed at number 16, but the Soundblaster is way down in 40th place?

I don't know, but I'd submit that realistic polyphonic sound/music was more revolutionary than 3D hardware acceleration. 3D graphics are cool and all, but at least the CPU could generate 3D graphics (Quake?) before hardware acceleration - if it weren't for the Soundblaster we'd be playing visually stunning games with beeps and parps for sound effects.

Re:The list (2, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585297)

Also, voodoo3 wasnt special at all. It sucked.
IF a 3d accelerator is mentioned at that point, it should be voodoo1.

Hey! Don't diss the Voodoo 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585371)

It was an excellent card for its price. I would still have use it if not for buggy XP drivers, hell for FPS stability it beat out the GF4mx that replaced it.

Re:The list (1)

WasterDave (20047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585503)

I had one. It was OK. Sure as shit wasn't one of the 50 best tech products of all time though. Voodoo1? The first Geforce cards? Maybe.

Dave

RealSound? Covox? (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585303)

That's not entirely true... keep in mind that Access Software (Links golf, Countdown, and various other both visually and sound-wise impressive titles) offered an option called RealSound for sound playback. This sound would go through the PC Speaker (in the era of 386 and 486, this was an actual cone speaker) and produce reasonable sound output.

In addition, long before the SoundBlaster, there was the Covox - a parallel port piece of electronics you could build at home with the right components and a soldering iron - which produced superior sound. Eventually a stereo version was able to be made and addressed as well.

Now, I'll agree that the soundblaster line of products actually kicked off the real audio revolution as finally you got great quality -without- the parallel port fidgeting.. just plunk in the card and pray you get the address, irq and whatnot settings set up right; but once they were, off you were.

Re:RealSound? Covox? (5, Funny)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585431)

"Looks like he... hit the tree Jim!"

Ah, memories.

Re:The list (1)

SenorCitizen (750632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585309)

I don't know, but I'd submit that realistic polyphonic sound/music was more revolutionary than 3D hardware acceleration. 3D graphics are cool and all, but at least the CPU could generate 3D graphics (Quake?) before hardware acceleration - if it weren't for the Soundblaster we'd be playing visually stunning games with beeps and parps for sound effects.

The Amiga had four channel digital sound in 1985, so the SB combination of a Yamaha FM chip (already used in the AdLib) with one digital channel wasn't really that revolutionary. Oddly, the Amiga only comes in at number 37... And actually, the SB came out in 1989. Compared to the sound chip in the Apple II/GS from 1986, it was crap. The GS had an Ensoniq chip with 32 digital channels. A later 16-bit version was used in the Gravis Ultrasound boards in the 90s.

Re:The list (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585111)

Asshats. If they were going to pick a browser, there is only one rational choice. Mosaic. Netscape was never the best. Mosaic was, until the project came to it's natural conclusion. When it was time for a successor IE took the crown, and Netscape folded up shop. Given the circumstance of Mosaic's success, it's the only browser to chose pre-Mozilla.

Re:The list (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585141)

29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
I've still got one of those working today. Didn't think it was that old though.

Re:The list (2, Interesting)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585185)

29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)

I bought one of these back then, lasted till June 2006. I bought another one for £9.99 (with HP toner) on eBay.

Older HP laser printers are excellent pieces of kit.

Re:The list (1)

Punch-Drunk Slob (973904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585275)

You can listen to The Beatles now and still find their music great. With that same logic, we should all still run Windows 95.

Keyboards? (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585291)

I'm typing on a 1984 IBM M-Series right now, I like OmniKeys, but seriously, why not the Model M?

Re:The list (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585425)

12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)

Wow. How did that ever beat the IBM PC XT, DOS or the Intel 8088?

I guess the platform gets ignored that started the Wintel PC revolution. The platform is not important.. It's the apps stupid!

The Voodoo *3* ?!?!? (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585481)

I can't understand why they specifically choose the Voodoo 3 to represent 3Dfx.

I can understand that they choose to mention 3Dfx : the company played a key role introducing hardware accelerated 3d to the masses who up to that point mostly had only software flat shaded pixelated polygons.

They could have picked up the Voodoo Graphics, as the first affordable 3D card, whereas before hardware 3D was something only used by movie studios.
They could have picked up the Voodoo 2, one of the most popular 3d card (and from a technical point of view, whose dual pipelines where behind the shadow map used by most FPS games) and with very good longevity, thanks to the SLI technology.
They could have picked up the later Voodoo 4/5, the first card to introduce the antialiasing effects and similar (was a small revolution in term of quality) and initiator of open-source compression (still found in Intel's chips).

But the voodoo 3 ? It has almost no new characteristics (appart from a slightly better pseudo-22bits filter), it's not even the first all-in-one 2D & 3D card nor the first AGP (both from 3Dfx - previous was the banshee - or from concurrence).
It's a nice card, with a couple of nice features (better quality at 16bits thanks to filters), but it basically looked like any other card on the market.

(Note: Have all the line from Voodoo 1 to Voodoo 5. Though no leaked Rampage prototype).

Re:The list (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585513)

My biggest gripe with this kind of list is not that only it is very subjective, like most of the peeps here said, but also the items are ranked.

Why do you want to rank one item #45 and the other #46 ? Just make a list of 100 items that were quite innovative and do not rank them, just order them by category, decade, platform ... etc but there is no point to rank them

I saw that the Ipod was ranked quite high. For me the Ipod is quite innovative but it is ranked way too high, you could find plenty of MP3 players that were quite close to the Ipod just after it was released, it was more about marketing than a real breaktrough ...

No search engines? (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585593)

I see browsers and ISPs, but no search. Where in the name of all buggeration is Google?

Commodore C64 (5, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585021)

Stupid list, they forgot C64. How many programmers haven't learnt programming using C64 BASIC?

Re:Commodore C64 (1)

motumboe (784283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585029)

Me too!

Re:Commodore C64 (5, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585031)

Help me out here, is it 99.99% or 99.999% of all the developers on the planet?

Re:Commodore C64 (4, Interesting)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585119)

I would pick the Sinclair spectrum over the C64, they were ubiquitous in the UK. The BBC micro might also get a mention.

They also seem to have picked the cameras almost at random, those models would never have been on my short list when buying a camera. I'd look to the Cannon digital SLRs or the Nikon coolpix range for models that changed the market.

They missed the Space Invaders machine, and the digital watch.

Business hardware has been left out, wheres the Xerox machine, fax machine, mainframe, or printer?

I do think they have a pretty good list, though. Particularly the older stuff.

Re:Commodore C64 (1)

pasamio (737659) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585269)

I'd pick the Mavica - you didn't need anything extremely special and it made it light weight. Every had a floppy disk drive and all you needed was a spare one, take the snaps and its on the computer. No fidling with cables or software, it was there, on the computer as a JPG. Build like a brick (hey, it had a floppy drive in it after all) but the thing was a great machine.

Commodore (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585183)

At least the Amiga gets a mention... though it placed just under McAfee VIRSCAN. WTF?

Re:Commodore C64 (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585345)

Hey, I didn't, I learned on the BBC Micro Model B.

Re:Commodore C64 (2, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585385)

Stupid list, they forgot C64. How many programmers haven't learnt programming using C64 BASIC?

There isn't many "real" programmers out there. Remember Turbo C and Turbo Pascal? Pascal in 29K of RAM, and likely not a programmer coming on line today can say "Hello" in 29K. Forget about a compiler, linker, editor, libraries, debugger and full type checking in that 29K.

My peeve on the list is Lotus 123... it was a copy... VisiCalc and Supercalc were better and more original, 123 was a "borrowed" concept from VisiCalc.

Re:Commodore C64 (0, Troll)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585419)

I learnt on Visual Stud ... oh you said programming ? Nevermind then ...

Re:Commodore C64 (4, Informative)

marol (734015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585491)

Actually, they didn't forget it, they bundled it with TRS-80 under the Apple II entry, "competitors like the Commodore 64 and TRS-80 Color Computer were mere toys by comparison". And that's pretty much where I stopped reading...

Re:Commodore C64 (1)

hummer (15382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585511)

They didn't forget it. From the entry on the Apple II...

competitors like the Commodore 64 and TRS-80 Color Computer were mere toys by comparison
I gave up on the article after that.

Re:Commodore C64 (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585515)

The C64 is in 0th place at the top. Every geek of a certain age has at least a few fond memories of the C64!

50 best, 50 worst... ho, hum (5, Funny)

chebucto (992517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585023)

What I want to see is a list of the 50 middle tech products of all time. Which are the most mediocre? Which products excel at mediocrity? Inquiring minds want to know!

Re:50 best, 50 worst... ho, hum (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585307)

1. Battery powered keyboard vacuum cleaners.
2. Screen filters.
3. Mouse Mats.
4. Mechanical Mice.
5. Winmodems.
6. Shadowing System RAM for video cards.
7. Atari STe having a mouse port underneath the keyboard.
8. My first beige PC.

Re:50 best, 50 worst... ho, hum (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585427)

I can't speak to the other 49, but Microsoft/IBM certainly get into the list of awful products with MSDOS 4.0. And maybe with the original release of OS/2 ("half an operating system") as well, even though IBM eventually made later versions into a decent product.

What about Debian? (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585039)

I have been using Debian since 1995 in production and it has yet to disappoint me. For me, it is the best operating system around, and I would put it on top of the list!

Best operating system = Vista (-1, Flamebait)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585083)

> I have been using Debian since 1995 in production and it has yet to disappoint me. For me, it is the best operating system around, and I would put it on top of the list!

Vista is the best operating system by far, and if you disagree I will set Steve Ballmer on you.

Re:Best operating system = Vista (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585129)

Vista may be best for you, but I cannot understand why it takes 7 minutes to reboot a modern computer. Besides, my tools doesnt work on vista, so I have to use an other machine to do my work.

Re:Best operating system = Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585289)

Vista may be best for you, but I cannot understand why it takes 7 minutes to reboot a modern computer.
The longer it takes to reboot, the more powerful it usually is. Seriously. Desktop machines usually POST and boot up in a minute or two, but powerful servers take 5-10 minutes just to POST through all the memory checks, RAID and SCSI interface initialization and so on. It's a wacky situation, but I guess they figure most people aren't rebooting their quad dual core Xeon system with 32 gigs of RAM and a 10 TB attached disk array much.

Re:Best operating system = Vista (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585359)

I am talking about a desktop, dual core , 3,5 Gb memory, Sata disks. HP top line

It's 2007. We don't reboot no more. (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585363)

> Vista may be best for you, but I cannot understand why it takes 7 minutes to reboot a modern computer.

Why reboot? Use hibernate. You'll be up and running in a matter of seconds, and even better... all your applications are still open.

Re:It's 2007. We don't reboot no more. (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585413)

Yes we do, since reboot is needed for updates and hibernate doesnt handle login-scripts so we have to logout. Once a week I reboot. ;)

Re:Best operating system = Vista (2, Insightful)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585531)

Ok, I am not a Windows or a Linux zealot, I use both OSes and also Mac OSX. EAch OS has their strength and weaknesses.. but I cant stand the typical "Linux Zealot" mentality.

7 Mins to start an OS? That is an exaggeration?

Neither my Windows or Linux boxes take that long to start, even with Vista. In fact, currently, my Linux Boxen take on average longer than the Windows ones, that is including starting X.

and the typical "besides, my tools don't work on Vista"

Tell me, what is wrong with Re-Compiling the tools using Cygwin, or whatever? It shouldn't be difficult right? Especially if you are already a Linux so called "power user"...

I have all my platforms containing all the tools I need, recompiling where necessary, and i have a growing collection of Java based tools which don't need recompiling.

Re:Best operating system = Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585367)

Please don't let him "squirt" on me! Yes OK, Windows Vesta is the
best OS!

That is not the outcome ! (4, Informative)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585041)

It is the order of the list on which you can vote !!!

Re:That is not the outcome ! (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585199)

What are you talking about? The list posted in the comments and the excerpt are both correct, ranked orders as reported by PC World. Who modded you informative?

Re:That is not the outcome ! (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585301)

So if I click on the 'vote' link in the article I can still vote but it won't infuence the outcome?

Re:That is not the outcome ! (1, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585381)

> So if I click on the 'vote' link in the article I can still vote but it won't infuence the outcome?

Yeah, that's how voting works these days. How do you think Bush won?

Re:That is not the outcome ! (1)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585557)

Presumably someone who read the page and clicked on the vote [pcworld.com] link

Voodoo 3 sucked. (4, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585055)

The Voodoo 3 lacked 32 bit rendering and came out months before nVidia brought out the GeForce card.

It was, in short, the beginning of the end for 3dfx. Why would you promote that?!

Re:Voodoo 3 sucked. (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585151)

I agree. It was the Voodoo2 that was a huge success. Even though nVidia's Geforce came out not long after it nVidia's TNT2 was vastly superior to the Voodoo3.
Quake3 used OpenGL, not 3dfx' Glide. People with a Voodoo card needed to install an additonal drive to translate the OpenGL instructions to Glide just to be able to play Quake3. The TNT2 understood both Direct3D and OpenGL.

Re:Voodoo 3 sucked. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585597)

Glide was a simplified (tailored towards games) subset of OpenGL (just look at the name...GLide), so there was much sense in not doing OpenGL the direct way...

Re:Voodoo 3 sucked. (4, Interesting)

pslam (97660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585293)

Indeed, that surprised me too. Voodoo 1 was THE watershed graphics card - it blew away everything the competition had by an order of magnitude in high performance, features AND low price. It was even fairly unique in sitting on a separate card slot with the entire VGA signal looped through it and switched on demand. Instant upgrade for your PC. Genius marketing they had back then.

Sadly, they started drinking their own cool-aid too much. Voodoo 3 was THE bankrupting card. It was too expensive, too poor on features (16 bit rendering when everyone else was 32 bit), too poor on RAMDAC speed (poor output quality) and way too late to market. To make matters worse, their marketing department was making laughable attempts at convincing customers that they didn't really need all those extra features (what people want is render SPEED not QUALITY! Oh you already have 60fps? Hmm). You could buy an nVidia TNT2 for the same price, and it had the same performance, better quality output and better quality rendering. Even the drivers were better. I think Voodoo3 vs TNT2 marks the point where 3dfx LOST the fight. Strange that the list says it marks the pinnacle.

Sadder still, rather than recovering, they brought out the Voodoo 4/5 which added very little apart from a huge power supply burden, massive cards, and even higher costs, right when upstarts like nVidia and ATI were bringing out damn cheap, fast and single chip cards that did better.

As an aside - the CEO who bankrupted them by running the company on pure hopes and wishes alone (Greg Ballard) did the same to the company I worked for (SonicBlue/S3/Diamond). I suspect they brought him in due to his history of running a market leading company into the ground in less than a year. Job done.

Re:Voodoo 3 sucked. (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585349)

Voodoo3 was a lot cheaper than a TNT2 here in the UK. That is why I bought one. ;)

Plus I had invested a fair ammount in glide games. Didn't switch untill the GeForce 256 came out.

Top X lists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585061)

belong on Digg.

And everybody knows time starts in 1970.

quibbles (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585067)

IBM 700c: way too low. Laptops are a gigantic market (far more significant than mp3 players) and this one set the standard.

Also, where's the Model M?

Misleading title (4, Insightful)

zensonic (82242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585121)

Its not the best tech products of all times at the title states, its the most influential products of all time.

And even with that in mind I think the list is bogus. With criterias like:

So what's the best tech product to come out of the digital age? And what qualifies a product as being "best"? First and foremost, it must be a quality product. In many cases, that means a piece of hardware or software that has truly changed our lives and that we can't live without (or couldn't at the time it debuted). Beyond that, a product should have attained a certain level of popularity, had staying power, and perhaps made some sort of breakthrough, influencing the development of later products of its ilk.
you have to wonder where mp3 (software and hardware), television (hardware), tcp/ip (software) and cellphones (hardware) are. But then again. I may have misunderstood what this is all about.

Re:Misleading title (3, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585169)

It's not a list of the 50 best technologies of all time. MP3, television, and cell phones aren't the aim of this particular list.

Instead, implementations that changed how we use technology ARE on the list. For example cell phones = Motorola StarTAC; mp3 = iPod; tcp/ip = Hayes modem/Compuserve/Netscape; television = Tivo and so on.

The purpose is not immediately clear maybe, but there's a reason why it's the 50 "best" *products* and not 50 best technologies.

WoW? (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585125)

How can they put WoW up there before Starcraft? What Nerve! I demand a recount!

Interesting (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585143)

Interesting how, when talking about OSX they say that Vista is a ripoff of it because of the similarities of the shells, yes, they provide a screenshot of RedHat which is a copy of Windows 2000 explorer. Guess what, the word ripoff is nowhere to be found there... Partiality is everywhere...

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585191)

red hat - 1994
windows 2000 - umm, 2000?

50 Best Tech Products of All Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585171)

How about ... the WHEEL?

Re:50 Best Tech Products of All Time (1)

pklong (323451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585391)

How about you RTFA.

Bad list, forgot all of the most important tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585175)

1. Fire, circa 200,000-400,000 BC
2. Wheel, circa 6000 BC
3. Papyrus, circa 4000 BC
4. Gunpowder, circa 1050 AD
5. Printing press, 1440 AD

etc.

Re:Bad list, forgot all of the most important tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585241)

YES, I know it said digital age in the second paragraph, but the list is titled "OF ALL TIME".

Re:Bad list, forgot all of the most important tech (5, Funny)

ideonode (163753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585437)

You know, if we're talking about digital technology, then I reckon that the best digital technology of all time would be opposable thumbs.

Re:Bad list, forgot all of the most important tech (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585325)

6. Weaving 7. Stone tools 8. Metal tools 9. Farming 10. Money

It's a shame... (1)

Travy.b (815549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585189)


It really is a shame that two pieces of software in the top ten are no longer.

Word Perfect was used almost universally over MS Word in the 80's early 90's, as was the case with Lotus 1-2-3 over Excel (in fact, Excel allowed you to use the 1-2-3 commands should you so desire - wonder if that feature still exists).

Something I thought that would make the list but didn't is Quarterdeck's desqview. It allowed multitasking through DOS and a number of companies used it at the time... It wasn't perfect, but heck it was a better tech product than some of the things on that list ;)

West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585197)

I hate lists like this, because they are usually revisionist history. Again, there's a heavy West Coast Bias, as if the IBM PC and Apple and Microsoft were the only tech companies that ever existed.

Where for example (as others have pointed out) is the Commodore 64, the "Model T" of computers? It's simply the single most successful computer of all time, selling more than 33 million units of a single "model" of machine, more than any other single model of machine.

And while they mention the Amiga 1000, where's the Video Toaster and Lightwave 3-D, the software that revolutionized 3-D animation on reltively cheap low-power machines? Oh sorry, that technological marvel came out of Kansas, and nothing high-tech comes out of Kansas, right?

And here's something that was developed on the west coast that deserves praise (is it on the list?) The Palm Pilot -- without which, we'd probably not have half of the other items that *are* on the list.

It always seems to me that the editors of such "lists" only remember what they themselves "played with", and if they didn't touch it with their own hands, it didn't exist and therefore isn't worth mentioning.

Also, exciting innovations such as the mouse which are made at academic think-tanks or research departments of large companies are also not worth mentioning. Do you think these editors bothered to research anything happening at MIT's media lab? Of course not. MIT after all, is on the EAST coast.

This list makes me sad that we're already forgetting important history from just a few years ago. In twenty years, people will be saying the Bill Gates invented the computer and taking that as fact.

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (1)

ekran (79740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585247)

I'll second that! And I don't even know what the Blackberry is doing on the list, it's not even for sale here in Europe.

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585343)

Yep, the list is missing NeXT, the LaserWriter, the Mouse, Linux, the lisp machine, System/360, etc, etc...

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (3, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585305)

And if you widen your horizon even more, you might notice that there is a whole world outside the us, too.
("west-coast bias". Snicker...)

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (1)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585423)

I agree with you, and have to add: why are specific versions of software listed?! I mean, for example, Photoshop 3.0? If Photoshop is revolutionary compared with all else in its class (which some I'm sure would argue that it is), then why not list 1.0 - since that is where all subsequent versions arose from. And could they really say that 4.0 was less innovative than 3.0? What about modern versions which can do so much more? I fail to understand what exactly they are basing their choices on, but I can surmise that its a fairly arbitrary decision-making process.

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (1)

trash eighty (457611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585457)

Photoshop 3.0 introduced layers... nuff said.

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585443)

I have to agree with you on this.. furthermore there seems to be a very US-centric lean to to the technology that rather sticks in my craw. What about the ZX-81 & Spectrum and the ubiquitous and fantastic Z80 processor which is STILL in use today, where as you can hardly say the same for 8086 and the like. Sorry, but list like this are just a waste of time and if you want a true representation of what were key technologies, you need to look at what it is we are still using today because they still have not come up with anything as good. Just my ha'penny's worth.

Re:West Coast Bias and Revisionist History (0, Flamebait)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585519)

Sad, sad USians. To them, the world really does begin and end on their shores. Tell me OP, do you really think this list was compiled with a West coast bias in mind? Or do you just think it was 50 products slung together in an afternoon to meet a deadline. Hmm?

50 Best Tech Products of All Time (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585215)

They forgot:

1. the hearth
2. the knife
3. the rasp
4. the stirrup
5. the saw
6. the steam engine
7. the light bulb

etc.

Re:50 Best Tech Products of All Time (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585259)

And the Segway! Evereyone forgets how it changed the face of our cities.

Cue:Cat (2, Funny)

kerouacsgp (516242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585219)

What no CueCat?
http://cuecat.com/ [cuecat.com]

Nothing too contentious in there (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585229)

Surprised about the lack of Visicalc. Perhaps the Apple ][ Visicalc combo would have been a better #2. Nobody ever wanted the Apple 2. They wanted the software. People would go into computer stores and ask for "A visicalc".

Software choices (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585255)

Isn't it odd that they list applications as "tech products", as things we couldn't live without, but they completely miss software that we can't live without such as MP3, ZIP, TCP/IP, and instead list ipods, email, chatting software, etc., all of which couldn't exist without the underlying "tech products".

Flash drives (4, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585261)

I think flash memory drives should have at least made the list. They really changed how a lot of people work. It's easy to transport files from office to home and back again. With such a large percentage of people working at least part time at home the drives make it much easier. I use them all the time to shift files from my desktop systems to my notebook. Also they credit Zip Drives but fail to list Syquest. That was really the landmark drive and they were more stable than Zip drives they just happen to be Mac based.

Revisionist history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585273)

There are no Commodore products on the list. Apple is hip, but Commodore 64 outsold the Apple II with a great margin. Commodore 64 had a major influence on the generation (of nerds?) growing up in the 80's. PET existed before Apple II, and it was in the same price range as an equally equipped Apple II. What made Apple II the 'Best tech product'? The logo?

Commodore Amiga was the first real multimedia computer, it took a while for the PC's to catch up. When did the Mac get a color screen or (real) multitasking?

I see a pattern here. Commodore is ignored, and Apple is claimed all the credit.

And yes, I have an iPod and a Mac. This is still very disturbing. When the IBM PC was celebrating it's 25th birthday, many newspapers run stories on how the 'home computer' is now 25 years old. Soon people will grow up thinking that Apple invented the computer and Microsoft invented software.

Huh? (5, Informative)

MadTinfoilHatter (940931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585311)

45. Red Hat Linux (1994)
Picking a watershed Linux distribution is tough. Literally hundreds have existed over the years, though only a few have advanced the state of the art. Red Hat was critically important for beginning the move (however tentative) toward making Linux beginner-friendly and easier to install. While development of Red Hat was discontinued in 2003, it directly spawned successors like Ubuntu, which aim to make desktop use of Linux commonplace.

WTF!? Ubuntu is based on Debian, not Red Hat. Also, development of Red Hat didn't stop in 2003 - it was just split into RHEL & Fedora. Pretty har to take an article that flawed seriously.

Re:Huh? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585567)

And, apparently the display of version info and a copyright warning in a modal dialog in IE is evidence that Microsoft are using some of Netscape's source code.

no google, no search engines at all (1, Redundant)

bazorg (911295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585327)

So... Compuserve deserves a spot on the list as the first major BBS, Napster is the best thing since sliced bread because it shaped the way consumers use music, but there are no search engines on the top50. The people who wrote this list must be Gopher zealots or something.

Re:no google, no search engines at all (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585445)

Yeah, their software selections seem pretty random too. For example, they list hardware (Apple II) and then explain that it ran Visicalc in the description for the Apple II. But they list the IPOD and ITUNES as seperate items. WTF? Would the iPod have ever caught on without iTunes? Ugh.

Then of course, they list email programs, but they completely ignore Adobe Acrobat and the PDF file format, arguably more important than Macafee Virus Scan or Spybot.

In all, I find this list to be really, really bad.
I could have come up with better choices and written it in one evening.

Huh? (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585341)

Compuserve?

Compuserve?... That bloated, expensive, pretend internet thing that became AOL... that Compuserve? In the top 50?

*Checks date to see if it's still 1st April*

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585517)

Compuserve?... That bloated, expensive, pretend internet thing that became AOL... that Compuserve? In the top 50?


Prior to the days when kiddies expected a specific Compuserve interface that was bloated, there were the days that Compuserve was a rather robust community BBS system that was complete text based interface giving access to extensive forums, news searches, stocks, weather and other services.

Even MS required beta testers to have Compuserve IDs to participate in Beta programs prior to the Web.

For its time Compuserve was the king of online communities and did it better than anyone else. Remember this is from the timeframe when the 'Internet' was limited to gov and edu exclusively, and not everyone had access, compuserve was the 'commercial' version of connecting regular people.

Also this is where Al Gore comes into play when he worked to get the internet opened to everyone, and thus resulting in there no longer being a need for Compuserve as a content provider or connection point.

Re:Huh? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585573)

Compuserve? Compuserve?... That bloated, expensive, pretend internet thing that became AOL... that Compuserve? In the top 50? *Checks date to see if it's still 1st April*


Obviously, by reading your post and trying to determine its utility, I know that you were not on Compuserve.

Not 'best' but 'innovative' (1)

na641 (964251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585407)

I'm sure few will read this comment considering my karma, but i feel it necessary to point out that PCWorld erred in naming this article the 'Best'; it obviously should have been named 'Most innovative'.

Re:Not 'best' but 'innovative' (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585587)

They should have called it, "the most innovative we just remembered during our coffee break this morning after partying until 4AM"

Who really cares? (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585471)

The trip down memory lane is sort of nice, but who really cares?

That said, I was happy to find a link to the CVT Avant Stellar keyboard.

Where was zsnes? (1)

pi4arctan1guy (832588) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585477)

Seriously, what the hell? Why didn't zsnes make the list?

top 50 ? (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585487)

What were the basis of their ranking ?

I don't think so... (1)

bacon55 (853395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585521)

World of Warcraft, before the NES?!?! Were the writers huffing paint? The NES was pretty much the best console for a decade - WoW isn't 4 years old yet, and doesn't have a quarter the market that Nintendo pretty much created. Atari barely scratched the surface until that thing came around and introduced something beyond the basic arcade game to the home user.

Yggdrasil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585559)

I don't know what made the author decide that Redhat was so noteworthy, Yggdrasil dates back to 1992 and is the first CD based (live) distro - predating Knoppix by years. And this is back in the days of OS/2 coming on 30+ floppies.

Mosaic Browser (1)

Lex-Man82 (994679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585611)

According to this article Netscape code is used in Internet Explorer!

The basis of their ranking (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585621)

is that they are publishing/designer people, and all their choices reflect that.

one major example they chose amiga over commodore 64. commodore was a precedent for all to follow. many programmers who are regularing slashdot have cut their teeth on that. we have seen the rise of the cracker scene and groups on that. many people, trend and groups who have set today's IT made their advent on c64.

but those people chose amiga. why ? because they are graphics/designer/publishing people. and all the choices reflect that - almost a third of what they chose as software and hardware are publishing/designing items.

a very biased, and failed article that is.
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