By Harry McCracken | Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm
From a standpoint of tech newsworthiness, how did 2010 rate? Pretty high, I think–it certainly had more than its fare share of surprises. And we at Technologizer had fun covering them. After the jump, a look at some of our stories on major (and minor) events from the first half of the year, plus some of the oddball historical stuff and other random weirdness that’s also part of our stock in trade. If you read all this stuff when we published it, I’m impressed and grateful…
A rumor that Apple expected to sell ten million “iSlates” during its still-unannounced tablet’s first year on the market–widely rejected as impossibly ambitious–led me to look back at the sales figures for other Apple products, all the way back to the Apple I.
I discovered a 1940s magazine ad campaign for Seagrams Canadian Whisky that predicted 3D movies, videoconferencing, the cell phone, fax machines, and –most impressive of all–the sports bar.
I took a look at Google’s Nexus One, a good phone even though it turned out to be the only one that Google sold directly to consumers.
Steve Ballmer referenced a Technologizer story in his CES keynote.
After the Ballmer keynote, I tried to figure out exactly what Slate PCs were.
The most memorable CES demo I saw involved setting fire to hard drives and running over them with a bulldozer.
I found myself agreeing with Google’s newly hard-nosed stance against Chinese censorship.
Jared had a beef with an innovative new form of punctuation, the Sarcmark.
Prompted by Apple’s invitation to what turned out to be the iPad launch, I examined the tough-to-interpret artform known as Apple event invites.
I delved into old issues of Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and other magazines to find inventions that were a tad before their time–such as Thomas Edison’s idea for 40,000-page books made out of nickel.
Ed worried–sensibly–that Digg’s plans for drastic changes sounded like a bad idea.
The Technologizer community predicted what Apple’s tablet would be like.
I looked back at a few decades’ worth of unsuccessful tablet computers.
Dave thought the iPad looked like a neat device for Aunt Betty.
He also talked to a Microsoft exec who unwisely used the word “humorous” in referring to the iPad.
I asked 25 questions about the iPad.
I took a look back at tech of the early 1980s, in the form of old InfoWorld covers.
Moments after the iPad was announced, it became the subject of questionable “free” offers.
I wondered if frustration with Flash had reached a tipping point.
Benj analyzed the most notable consumer electronics design mistakes, including the legendary flashing 12:00.
Google gave every Gmail user its new Twitter-esque Buzz service, and I discovered that we were all Buzz virgins.
In Silicon Valley, I visited the Weird Stuff Warehouse, a sort of a computer history museum where everything was for sale.
I concluded that people concerned over Google Buzz privacy had a point.
The name “Windows Phone 7 Series” (later modified) inspired me to compile a list of all the names Microsoft’s mobile OS had sported.
TheStreet.com kept quoting an analyst with a knack for being utterly wrong, and I wondered why.
Writing about Android fragmentation–a problem which some at Google still deny exists–I called Verizon’s Droid a loaf of day-old bread.
I really liked Palm’s Pre Plus (and am still sorry it hasn’t found more fans).
Dave came to the reasonable conclusion that tech-industry lawsuits aren’t good for consumers.
We asked 28 Windows-watchers to share their thoughts on the future of Microsoft’s operating system.
Tandy Trower, the Microsoft product manager who shipped Windows 1.0, shared his memories of the product’s rocky start.
Microsoft unveiled its thoroughly modern new Internet Explorer engine.
I stayed at the Planet Hollywood hotel in Vegas and discovered a fake piece of Apple history in my room.
Frustrated with AT&T coverage in San Francisco, I bought a Droid–and found myself frustrated in other ways.
I wrote–and wrote, and wrote–about the fifteenth anniversary of Microsoft Bob.
After the iPad hit stores, I shared my initial hands-on impressions.
And I said that the iPad was imperfect–like all game-changing products before it.
Ed worried that Comcast was out to derail the president’s broadband agenda.
Once Apple had previewed iPhone OS 4.0 (later known as iOS 4.0) I compared it to my personal wish list.
During a slow news weekend, I tried to figure out why it was usually 9:41 in Apple time.
Microsoft announced a couple of new phones called Kins, and I tried to reserve judgement.
Jared noticed that it was taking Blockbuster an amazingly long time to roll out its game-rental service.
I went for a ride in a Volkswagen that drove itself.
After Gizmodo procured a prototype of the next iPhone, I said there were still an array of things we didn’t know about the device.
I also looked back at Apple’s reaction to past leaks about upcoming products.
We published a Seuss-inspired poem about the iPad.
Dave bought a new HDTV with built-in DLNA and found the technology intriguing but annoying–especially after his TV crashed.
I wrote about Facebook’s new Web-wide “Like” button, and added it to Technologizer.
Microsoft decided not to pursue its cool two-screen Courier concept device.
My initial thoughts about HP’s acquisition of Palm were guardedly optimistic.
I also used the HP-Palm deal as an excuse to look at old Palm patents for devices which were never built.
I attended a Microsoft Research event and wondered if one demo was a sneak peek at the future of the Tablet PC.
I created a helpful infographic to contrast iPhone pricing and Android pricing.
Jared was skeptical about rumors that Zynga thought it could live without Facebook.
After a bad Adobe demo of mobile Flash, I said that demos–be they lousy or terrific–don’t mean much.
In 1988, a bunch of college students came remarkably close to envisioning the iPad.
I didn’t mourn the loss of Google’s online phone store.
Ed marked the moment when Apple officially became more valuable than Microsoft.
I continued to carp about Android fragmentation.
AOL quietly turned 25, and I reviewed its history as told by its own press releases.
I wasn’t all that thrilled with Facebook’s privacy-setting makeover.
Andrew Leal revealed the Muppets’ secret past as IBM employees.
AT&T rolled out cheaper, capped data plans.
Apple announced the iPhone 4; I had lots of questions, but “will there be any issues with that external antenna?” wasn’t one of them.
Benj looked at 132 years of videophone history.
Apple added an ad-removal feature to a new version of Safari, and I declared myself unfrightened by it.
Sean rounded up some consumers to watch 3DTV. They weren’t all that impressed.
I came to the (incorrect) conclusion that HP would never ship its Windows 7 slate.
Jared tried to figure out Microsoft’s Kinect pricing strategy.
Dave commented on a leaked PowerPoint about Windows 8.
I got up at the crack of dawn, bought an iPhone 4, and then wrote about it.
I also tried to figure out whether reports of trouble with the iPhone 4’s antenna were a major problem.
Ed wrote about the sudden death of Microsoft’s two-month-old Kins.
Whew. Stay tuned for “And That’s What You Missed on Technologizer Part II.” And happy new year!