Ultrabook – Top 12 Greatest Leaps in Technology, Part 2
In our latest campaign, the one where we launched the Ultrabook videos showing how the latest technologies come together in the Ultrabook to make, “everything else seem old-fashioned,” that inspired our recent post, Top 12 Greatest Leaps in Technology, Part 1.
In it, we looked at ATMs, Air Travel, and Cell Phones as those “everyday” technologies we take for granted. This time, again in no particular order, we look at 3 more innovations that changed the world forever. Let us know in the comments below what other great technology advances should make the list.
4. Digital Music
Among the many audio devices that you have likely relegated to a box in the basement marked “old electronics” is a Walkman, a Discman, and possibly a micro-cassette player. Does this box sit on top of your portable record player? Inside the Walkman is there an old “mix tape” that someone had made for you. In a time before digital music, it must have been a labor love to put it together.
Digital music has changed more than just “mix tape” to “mix CD” to “playlist” – it’s turned the music and entertainment industries upside. It started way back in 1937 when Alec Reeves received a patient for his “digital recording” device. Although at the time the device was theoretical, it is credited as making everything digital, from Internet to mp3 players, CDs, DVDs or CD-ROMs, possible.
The early 80s brought us the first commercial CD players, and like their predecessors the personal cassette players, the music you could listen to was only limited to the amount of CDs you could carry. With its amazing sound quality and sleek, futuristic look, CDs quickly became the industry standard and record albums went the way of disco. But the victory of the CD was short lived as the mp3 player and online music stores soon ruled the music industry.
Today, we download, share and listen to music on almost every device we own. No need to carry a separate player when our phones, computer, and even our cars come completely wired with the latest Bluetooth technology. If you can think of a song, you can search it, buy it, downloaded it and enjoy it–all in the time it took before the first track of a mix tape was recorded.
On the way to work do you watch a bit of a morning show while you wait for the train, or watch part of an episode of The Office over the shoulder of another commuter on their laptop, or even catch a bit of a game show in a cab’s mini TV? Or maybe you were lucky enough to catch the latest headlines, weather, and even your horoscope in the elevator’s “Your World” screen on the way up to your cube. Have you noticed that TV is everywhere? But it wasn’t always like that.
While technically speaking, the first television broadcast was achieved by John Logie Baird, a Scottish engineer, who successfully transmitted a picture signal from one room to another. It wasn’t until July 1, 1941 that the first 10 television stations began commercial broadcasting, all under the call letters WNBT.
The first broadcasts were barely seen by anyone because families spent their evenings gathered around the radio for their news and entertainment and practically no one had a television set in their home in 1941. Most people crowded around the storefront window of a department store to see the new “picture box.”
In fact, by 1945 there were less than 7,000 TVs in homes across the country. As prices dropped that number rose so dramatically that by 1950 there were 6 million TVs in homes and a shocking 60 million homes with sets by 1960.
6. The Internet
Can you even imagine what your life would be like without the Internet? Take a minute and consider how much time you spend each day surfing, chatting, shopping, tweeting, posting, downloading, You Tube-ing, and just being out there looking around on the Web. Say what you will about the Internet, but there’s no denying that of all the modern technology, none has had more influence on life as we know it than the “net.”
There is no single person who can take credit for the Internet (no, it wasn’t Al Gore). The Internet has been around in one form or another for longer than you might think but it was mostly available for universities, scientists, and some parts of the government. It wasn’t until the early-90s that the Internet was open for the public.
Those early Internet days were quite different from what it is today. After waiting forever for your dial-up modem to connect you at blazing speeds of up to 56k per second, you were treated to pretty much nothing. Web pages were mostly text-only pages with little or no images (which was good because at that speed it would take forever to load). It was the popularity of email, chat channels, and message boards that kept people coming back. Apple’s AppleLink was gone and replaced by the most popular browser of the time, AOL.
1995 was a big year for the Internet because it saw the first commercial sites where people could shop safely online by using their credit card. The very first sale on “Echo Bay” was made in 95, and the company soon changed its name to something you might recognize, eBay. Amazon.com was also born in this year.
So there you have it, 3 more of the greatest technology leaps in modern times. See the first post in this series: Top 12 Greatest Leaps in Technology, Part 1 in which we covered ATMs, Air Travel, and Cell Phones. Please drop me a comment below and let me know what other great technology advances should make the list.