13 tech trends that would have terrified us ten years ago

13 tech trends that would have terrified us ten years ago

Summary: Ten years ago we could have foreseen choppy waters in the not so distant future. But little could we envisage some of the horrors that we face today. Here are 13 of the scariest, most terrifying tech trends of the 21st century, all in the name of the Halloween spirit.


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  • Malware gets worse, cyberweapons confirmed

    Ten years ago, Windows XP was all the rage. Apple had only a sliver of the desktop operating system pie at the time. And thus, it was rarely attacked by hackers and malware writers. But as Apple machines became popular towards the end of the last decade Mac malware began to boom. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant was even forced to remove claims that its Mac machines don't get viruses.

    From the desktop and into the palms of our hands, smartphones exploded in popularity. Malware writers and cybercriminals began targeting Android devices, which remain at the top of the mobile market share space. Even iPhones and BlackBerrys, though significantly bolstered in terms of app and ecosystem security, were prime pickings for data thieves and cyber-scammers. 

    And those cyberbaddies weren't limited to basement-dwelling folk. The U.S. government was  also scouring for the latest malware exploits so they could install it on adversaries' machines in order to spy, surveil, or surreptitiously shut down their operations. From Flame to Gauss and Stuxnet, these state-sponsored strands of malware were enough to temporarily cripple Iran's nuclear ambitions, according to reports. 

    Image: Microsoft

  • Children and cyberbullying

    Bullying has long been an issue among the youth of today. Back ten years ago, it was relegated mostly to the school playground, or isolated incidents between squabbling friends. Today, almost every child in the double-digit age bracket has a smartphone. As a result, the scope in which verbal and physical attacks take place has increased significantly. 

    Cyberbulling has become such an epidemic among today's children that it has led to legislation being drafted by state and federal governments around the world in attempts to curb the problem. But until the education system and legislators alike come to some common ground on the matter, many more cases will lead to tragic circumstances — an all too regular occurrence in modern times.

    Image: Josh Miller/CNET

  • The rise and fall of BlackBerry

    In 2003, BlackBerry was one of the powerhouses to the emerging smartphone market. Doubling its base to one million in just a year, every year from thereon in saw the Canadian phone maker's subscriber base rise exponentially.

    Even during the height of the 2008 global financial crisis, while BlackBerry had the enterprise market nailed, many ordinary consumers were jumping on the keyboard-enabled bandwagon as the cheaper option during times of personal fiscal responsibility. And where others failed to grasp the "hidden" markets around the world — the emerging and developing nations — BlackBerry had that vast populous nailed down perfectly.

    And then it started to go downhill when the other mobile makers, notably Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Motorola douse to the market with a number of killer hot devices that would eventually see BlackBerry users jump off the cart to its rivals. By 2012, the company began to shed millions of users and dwindle in employee count. After a number of poor fiscal financial quarters, BlackBerry announced it was considering putting itself up for sale.

    In a year's time from now, we may be lucky to see BlackBerry survive as it is today. It's looking more likely that it will be split up and sold on for spare parts to anyone who wants a piece of its vast intellectual property and patent portfolio.

    Image: CNET

Topics: Enterprise Software, Cloud

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  • Browsing galleries on zdnet is so 1990's

    How hard is it to update it?
    • The 14th Trend that still scares us


      The 15th Trend that scares me: The rise of the disposable computer. Thanks to Apple, computers are only expected to last 2 years or less depending on your contract after which you are expected to discard it so you can get the latest operating system update.

      Say what you will about Microsoft, they have managed to keep operating systems backward compatible with older equipment, extending the life of that equipment for many, many years.
  • Now that's a thought.

    I'd much rather live with the suffering of a Pentium-class CPU in 1998 than live with the ever-present threats in the IT industry today that make me contemplate becoming Amish. I am getting to the point where I see so much abuse of new technology that it makes me almost neo-luddite, because I hope new technologies will fail simply because I am so used to them being abused and my mind subconsciously assumes no good can come from them.
  • Well . . .

    "If Reddit, Imgur, Google, and the BBC News can stay up and running, so can Healthcare.gov, surely?"

    Well, healthcare.gov was virtually untested, and they weren't quite expecting everybody to show up all at once (even though they do require by law for everybody to have the insurance).

    Personally, I'd like to see the law tossed out, or at least the part requiring you to buy the insurance. Requiring people to buy a product isn't something I associate with freedom and democracy. If you want the government to force you to buy products, find a good communist nation to join.
    • Not everybody showed up at once.

      That's the irony. The thing can't handle even trivial loads.
    • What do you suggest?

      CobraA1, I agree that requiring people to buy insurance is not a great solution. What do you suggest happens when a person who has declined purchasing insurance shows up at the emergency room missing an arm?

  • PC Sales in Decline.

    Yes,we like our tablets but will continue to prefer our large screen PCs for home use.
    However many of us refrained from buying a new PC as we don't want Windows 8. We'll either remain on our present Windows versions to the bitter end or eventually switch to Linux unless M$ comes out with a system we consider worth buying.
  • i was aware of these things 13 years ago...

    except for windows which were irrelevant than and now.