Think back 10 years and we were just venturing back to work in a post-Y2K world that had given a collective sigh of relief that life as we knew it hadn’t ended. Nothing of any real note crashed and no systems fell over. In fact, the millennium bug proved something of an anti climax … although it could be argued that it had forced through some major investment and upgrades that ousted a lot of old kit, which undoubtedly helped greatly with the growth of technology in the ensuing years.
But what technology were we getting ready for? It seems such a long time ago now that I decided to take a trip down memory lane.
Napster was in its pomp. America Online bought Time Warner for US$16 billion (the biggest merger of all time) but generally the year turned into a financial disaster for many dot com companies. Remember Love Bug, the self-replicating viruses that sent itself to everyone in your email address book and forced many infected companies to temporarily shut down their clogged networks.
Internet2 backbone network deployed IPv6 and there were 10 million domain names registered – today it’s about 200 million. About 360 million people were surfing the net; today it’s an estimated 1.7 billion.
In the upper echelons of power, Microsoft’s Bill Gates relinquished his title as CEO, whereas Steve Jobs announced that he was accepting the position as full-time CEO of Apple Computer. At the Macworld Expo show, Apple unveiled its Pro Mouse, with no buttons and an elliptical shape. It also introduced the PowerMac G4 Cube and a new low-cost iMac computer, featuring 350 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM, 7.5 GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, in indigo blue case. It also released the Mac OS X Public Beta at US$29.95 a pop.
Closer to home, Telstra and Saturn Communications merge creating TelstraSaturn. Clear announced plans for a national LMDS (high speed wireless) rollout – it never happened. Better news was the Southern Cross cable was finally switched on and the first commercial traffic began to flow.
Then there was the debacle over 0867 access and free dialup internet services. Compass launched FreeNet, and Clear established ZFree and does a deal with i4free. Telecom disconnected i4free but the High Court ordered it to restore the connection. A government inquiry called for an independent telecommunications regulator – ‘cos we didn’t have one of those yet! All parties eventually reached agreement.
But, of course, we hadn’t seen anything yet. Microsoft announced on 1 January, 2001 that Windows 95 was now a legacy item and a month later unveiled XP. In October, Apple introduced its first iPod portable digital audio player. The likes of Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have now become household names. It was quite a decade as far as technology was concerned. Who knows what delights await us in the next 10?