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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  • PC market in freefall, tablets crush sales

    The PC has held up near endless jibes and fads over the course of the past twenty years — the last decade in particular. But when the new slate-like tablet form factor arrived a little over three years ago, little did we realize at the time exactly what impact it would have on the traditional desktop and notebook PC business. 

    Let's blame the iPad, first and foremost. Introduced by Apple in 2010, it began to eat into the PC market's profits and margins. Not just that, it reached a point where the fruit-themed shiny rectangle, which remains the most popular tablet device on the market, began to cannibalize the same company's Mac business.

    While tablets and the rise of part-phone, part-tablet "phablets" are leaving their mark on the market that has for so long held its weight in the tech field, the impact is spreading far and wide. Chipmakers and hardware makers were forced to diversify their product ranges to hit all walks of gadgetry life in a bid to stay afloat.

    PCs are far from dead yet. But exactly how long they'll live remains unknown.

    Image: CNET

  • Cloud, outsourced IT gobbling up jobs

    The cloud began to really take off during the mid-2000s as this seamless, almost magical thing that enabled you to store files and access them from any device at any time. And then platforms enabled developers to host their apps on the Web, and make them available from the browser. That's when things began to really unravel for many working in IT.

    Nowadays, practically everything is hosted in the cloud. Thanks for everything, IT support staff. See you later, in-house infrastructure. Sayonara, security jobs. Now relegated to managed datacenters, there isn't much of a need to keep half the staff companies once had. And for those running call centers and other technical jobs: why not just outsource it to foreign climes? India's lovely this time of year. And the assembly line robots in China seldom complain about the long hours or the working conditions.

    We have to face the reality that many jobs are now extinct as a result of outsourcing to the cloud. It's also created many — in reality, we're talking about a shift of jobs rather than the destruction of the job market, per se. But at least you can thank your bottom line (and management, which isn't going anywhere) for the emerging trend.

    Image: James Martin/CNET

  • The multi-million dollar Obamacare site that didn't work

    You would think that after several years and millions of dollars of investment, one single website might be able to cope with a good hearty slice of the population all visiting at once. Alas, no. Healthcare.gov crumbled on its first day, and almost everyone visiting was impacted by the government's worst IT snafu seen during Obama's second run in the Oval Office.

    It's not just about keeping a website afloat. If Reddit, Imgur, Google, and the BBC News can stay up and running, so can Healthcare.gov, surely? That wasn't the problem. It was the backend infrastructure that failed. Databases weren't syncing, pages weren't loading, and forms were broken. Enter your data once, twice, three times, and for many it would slip behind the technology couch never to be seen again.

    The American people were subject to the Healthcare.gov "beta test." Things should be ticking over nicely by 2014 when the Affordable Care Act is meant to really kick in. (At least, let's hope so.)

    Image: ZDNet

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.