James Turner has a piece on O’Reilly Radar outlining his choices for the best and worst tech of the unnamed decade we just barreled through. Open source and maker culture get big +1 shout outs. Seems like the worst list could be miles longer. And no Google in the best list? Wikipedia and crowdsourcing?
What are your candidates for best and worst tech of the aughts?
Here’s James’ “Maker Culture” entry:
The Maker Culture: There’s always been a DIY underground, covering everything from Ham radio to photography to model railroading. But the level of cool has taken a noticeable uptick this decade, as cheap digital technology has given DIY a kick in the pants. The Arduino lets anyone embed control capabilities into just about anything you can imagine, amateur PCB board fabrication has gone from a messy kitchen sink operation to a click-and-upload-your-design purchase, and the 3D printer is turning the Star Trek replicator into a reality.
Manufacturers cringe in fear as enterprising geeks dig out their screwdrivers. The conventional wisdom was that as electronics got more complex, the “no user serviceable parts” mentality would spell the end of consumer experimentation. But instead, the fact that everything is turning into a computer meant that you could take a device meant for one thing, and reprogram it to do something else. Don’t like your digital camera’s software? Install your own! Turn your DVR into a Linux server.
Meanwhile, shows like Mythbusters and events like Maker Faire have shown that hacking hardware can grab the public’s interest, especially if there are explosions involved.