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Best and the worst tech of the decade

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.

The Best and the Worst Tech of the Decade

12 thoughts on “Best and the worst tech of the decade

  1. Rich says:

    The decade has one more year to go, it will end at the end of next year.

    1. jeff-o says:

      No, it’s ending this year. The decade spanned 2000-2009.

      1. Mike says:

        Sorry Jeff,

        Rich is absolutely correct. There is no year 0, so any grouping of years (decade/century/millennium) ENDS on a year divisible by 10.

        So, the current decade/century/millennium we are in began in 2001, NOT 2000 as so many people would love to believe, so our current decade is 2001-2010, end of story.

  2. Maha says:

    Yeah, the last entry on the Worst list is so true. As we become so connected to everything, work seems to creep into homelife.

    I don’t agree with: ‘”Do you live to work, or work to live,” is becoming a meaningless question, because there’s no difference.’ I think some people’s personal goals will become more aligned with their organization’s goals. Some people will become wrapped up in a blanket of worklife. Some people will rebel and not be suited to work in those environments. They definitely won’t be the same though.

    My additions to the list!
    Broadband (or it’s penetration anyways)
    Blogging & RSS

    Huuuge SUVs everywhere
    Social Networking sites (imo, of course)

    PS: ‘i’ and ‘quote’ tags don’t work. Is there any way to format text in comments?

  3. Mike says:

    I don’t mean to whine specifically, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of actual tech in the list. AJAX? Sure. Smart phones? OK. The Maker Culture? That’s a social phenomenon involving technology, not a technology. IP wars? That’s a political result of technology.

    Otherwise, I’d want to give some props to Google Maps and RFID.

    1. Simon says:

      Yeah, list is a little random. I agree his definition of technologies seems a little off. As for the maker culture, that has always been there. And probably more so in the past. I am remembering the old Apple 2 user group I used to go to when I was about 10. Now communications are better it just seems to be more popular. SCRUM – a technology? Ummmmm…

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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