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PC World's 50 Best Tech Products of All Time 399

Posted by kdawson
from the time-starts-in-1977 dept.
Ant writes "PC World picks the 50 best tech products of all time. Apple holds down seven places in the list, Microsoft two, and open source software (Red Hat Linux) one. The top five, according to PC World, are: Netscape Navigator (1994), Apple II (1977), TiVo HDR110 (1999), Napster (1999), and Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983).
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PC World's 50 Best Tech Products of All Time

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  • The list (Score:5, Informative)

    by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:45AM (#18585011) Homepage Journal
    1. Netscape Navigator (1994)
          2. Apple II (1977)
          3. TiVo HDR110 (1999)
          4. Napster (1999)
          5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983)
          6. Apple iPod (2001)
          7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981)
          8. Motorola StarTAC (1996)
          9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989)
        10. Tetris (1985)
        11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994)
        12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
        13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977)
        14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)
        15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000)
        16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999)
        17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
        18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996)
        19. id Software Doom (1993)
        20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995)
        21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003)
        22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
        23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994)
        24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
        25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986)
        26. CompuServe (1982)
        27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
        28. Aldus PageMaker (1985)
        29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
        30. Apple Mac OS X (2001)
        31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
        32. Eudora (1988)
        33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
        34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
        35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984)
        36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
        37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985)
        38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985)
        39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
        40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992)
        41. Apple HyperCard (1987)
        42. Epson MX-80 (1980)
        43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
        44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003)
        45. Red Hat Linux (1994)
        46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996)
        47. PC-Talk (1982)
        48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997)
        49. Microsoft Excel (1985)
        50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)
    • Re:The list (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HugePedlar (900427) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:52AM (#18585045) Homepage
      The 3dfx Voodoo3 is placed at number 16, but the Soundblaster is way down in 40th place?

      I don't know, but I'd submit that realistic polyphonic sound/music was more revolutionary than 3D hardware acceleration. 3D graphics are cool and all, but at least the CPU could generate 3D graphics (Quake?) before hardware acceleration - if it weren't for the Soundblaster we'd be playing visually stunning games with beeps and parps for sound effects.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by imsabbel (611519)
        Also, voodoo3 wasnt special at all. It sucked.
        IF a 3d accelerator is mentioned at that point, it should be voodoo1.
        • by WasterDave (20047)
          I had one. It was OK. Sure as shit wasn't one of the 50 best tech products of all time though. Voodoo1? The first Geforce cards? Maybe.

          Dave
      • RealSound? Covox? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Animaether (411575) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:38AM (#18585303) Journal
        That's not entirely true... keep in mind that Access Software (Links golf, Countdown, and various other both visually and sound-wise impressive titles) offered an option called RealSound for sound playback. This sound would go through the PC Speaker (in the era of 386 and 486, this was an actual cone speaker) and produce reasonable sound output.

        In addition, long before the SoundBlaster, there was the Covox - a parallel port piece of electronics you could build at home with the right components and a soldering iron - which produced superior sound. Eventually a stereo version was able to be made and addressed as well.

        Now, I'll agree that the soundblaster line of products actually kicked off the real audio revolution as finally you got great quality -without- the parallel port fidgeting.. just plunk in the card and pray you get the address, irq and whatnot settings set up right; but once they were, off you were.
      • I don't know, but I'd submit that realistic polyphonic sound/music was more revolutionary than 3D hardware acceleration. 3D graphics are cool and all, but at least the CPU could generate 3D graphics (Quake?) before hardware acceleration - if it weren't for the Soundblaster we'd be playing visually stunning games with beeps and parps for sound effects.

        The Amiga had four channel digital sound in 1985, so the SB combination of a Yamaha FM chip (already used in the AdLib) with one digital channel wasn't real

      • And what exactly had the SB16 to do with "realistic polyphonic sound/music"?... For music, mostly its FM synth was used which was everything but realistic-sounding. It had a single digital channel, which, in fact, did not differ much from the internal speaker as far as technology goes.
        SB16 was introduced in the same year (1992) as the Gravis Ultrasound, which, in contrast, had a 32 channel sample-based synthetiser with antialiasing and this card was largely responsible for creating the PC module scene. Sinc
    • by jimicus (737525)

      29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
      I've still got one of those working today. Didn't think it was that old though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sa1lnr (669048)
      29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)

      I bought one of these back then, lasted till June 2006. I bought another one for £9.99 (with HP toner) on eBay.

      Older HP laser printers are excellent pieces of kit.
    • I'm typing on a 1984 IBM M-Series right now, I like OmniKeys, but seriously, why not the Model M?
    • 12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)

      Wow. How did that ever beat the IBM PC XT, DOS or the Intel 8088?

      I guess the platform gets ignored that started the Wintel PC revolution. The platform is not important.. It's the apps stupid!
    • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:08AM (#18585481) Homepage
      I can't understand why they specifically choose the Voodoo 3 to represent 3Dfx.

      I can understand that they choose to mention 3Dfx : the company played a key role introducing hardware accelerated 3d to the masses who up to that point mostly had only software flat shaded pixelated polygons.

      They could have picked up the Voodoo Graphics, as the first affordable 3D card, whereas before hardware 3D was something only used by movie studios.
      They could have picked up the Voodoo 2, one of the most popular 3d card (and from a technical point of view, whose dual pipelines where behind the shadow map used by most FPS games) and with very good longevity, thanks to the SLI technology.
      They could have picked up the later Voodoo 4/5, the first card to introduce the antialiasing effects and similar (was a small revolution in term of quality) and initiator of open-source compression (still found in Intel's chips).

      But the voodoo 3 ? It has almost no new characteristics (appart from a slightly better pseudo-22bits filter), it's not even the first all-in-one 2D & 3D card nor the first AGP (both from 3Dfx - previous was the banshee - or from concurrence).
      It's a nice card, with a couple of nice features (better quality at 16bits thanks to filters), but it basically looked like any other card on the market.

      (Note: Have all the line from Voodoo 1 to Voodoo 5. Though no leaked Rampage prototype).
    • No search engines? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:27AM (#18585593)
      I see browsers and ISPs, but no search. Where in the name of all buggeration is Google?
    • by thsths (31372)
      I can only agree with a few of these:

      14. Apple Mac
      27. WoW
      29. HP LaserJet 4
      44. EOS Digital Rebel
      45. RedHat

      They completely miss CD-writer, Gmail, Opera and the Commodore C-64, which is inexcusable. And what do they have instead? I can't believe it:

      Eudora? One of the worst email readers in existence? (yes, it is has a few nice feature, but overall it completely fails)
      Sony Mavica FD? Storing pictures on a floppy disk is a silly idea. Yes, it was practical for certain uses, but only if you had no USB.
      Windows 95?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by khakipuce (625944)
      May be I don't know what a "tech" product is but this list seems utterly trival. I assume "tech" is short for technology and a good definition of that (apart from "things that don't work yet") is "The application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives" Is this really the "ALL TIME" list? - about the microchip, the Wright Flyer, the transistor, antibiotics, water chlorination, the X-ray machine, paper, the printing press, steel, the steam engine ... Some people's "ALL TIME" seems a b
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sique (173459)
        RTFA ;) They especially restrict the list to the After 1970 Era, and concentrate solely on computing. No Differential Engine, no Abacus, no beans to count.
      • RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

        by djtack (545324)

        Note that we're looking only at technology that has arisen since the dawn of the personal computer, so don't expect to see the cotton gin and the transistor radio on the list.

    • Of all the web browsers, they put Netscape? That's about the only one I abjectly refused to used unless there were no other options (sadly, there were times when that was the case). If they wanted "original", then they should have used Mosaic, if they wanted good implementation of concept, then Firefox should go there.

      Windows 95: Ok, these people must be into masochism. Most items on this list, I can at least find a skewed logic to put them on there, this one? 9X windows? Again, nothing really *new* here. S
    • The transistor. The silicon wafer. Internet porn.
    • by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @09:08AM (#18586425) Homepage Journal
      I'm sick and tired of all the anti-microsoft slant to slashdot..
      continually minimizing microsofts effort to the world of personal computing...

      Microsoft did not have TWO, they had at least 4 of the above.
      Microsoft deserves credit for #36 and #24 as they were directly responsible for bringing them about.
  • Commodore C64 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:47AM (#18585021) Homepage Journal
    Stupid list, they forgot C64. How many programmers haven't learnt programming using C64 BASIC?
    • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:51AM (#18585031) Homepage
      Help me out here, is it 99.99% or 99.999% of all the developers on the planet?
    • Re:Commodore C64 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:neilhancock,co,uk> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:03AM (#18585119) Homepage
      I would pick the Sinclair spectrum over the C64, they were ubiquitous in the UK. The BBC micro might also get a mention.

      They also seem to have picked the cameras almost at random, those models would never have been on my short list when buying a camera. I'd look to the Cannon digital SLRs or the Nikon coolpix range for models that changed the market.

      They missed the Space Invaders machine, and the digital watch.

      Business hardware has been left out, wheres the Xerox machine, fax machine, mainframe, or printer?

      I do think they have a pretty good list, though. Particularly the older stuff.

      • not only in the uk, also in the ussr.
      • Re:DSLR (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mwvdlee (775178)
        The Canon Digital Rebel is on the list because it was the FIRST digital SLR to be affordable.

        Most of the items on the list were chosen not because they were the best (which is subjective anyway), but because they were the first or because they significantly changed our world or the market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by canuck57 (662392)

      Stupid list, they forgot C64. How many programmers haven't learnt programming using C64 BASIC?

      There isn't many "real" programmers out there. Remember Turbo C and Turbo Pascal? Pascal in 29K of RAM, and likely not a programmer coming on line today can say "Hello" in 29K. Forget about a compiler, linker, editor, libraries, debugger and full type checking in that 29K.

      My peeve on the list is Lotus 123... it was a copy... VisiCalc and Supercalc were better and more original, 123 was a "borrowed" concept fr

    • Re:Commodore C64 (Score:4, Informative)

      by marol (734015) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:10AM (#18585491)
      Actually, they didn't forget it, they bundled it with TRS-80 under the Apple II entry, "competitors like the Commodore 64 and TRS-80 Color Computer were mere toys by comparison". And that's pretty much where I stopped reading...
    • The C64 is in 0th place at the top. Every geek of a certain age has at least a few fond memories of the C64!
    • >How many programmers haven't learnt programming using C64 BASIC?
      Most of them, I'd hazzard a guess.
  • by chebucto (992517) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:47AM (#18585023) Homepage
    What I want to see is a list of the 50 middle tech products of all time. Which are the most mediocre? Which products excel at mediocrity? Inquiring minds want to know!
    • by vtcodger (957785)
      I can't speak to the other 49, but Microsoft/IBM certainly get into the list of awful products with MSDOS 4.0. And maybe with the original release of OS/2 ("half an operating system") as well, even though IBM eventually made later versions into a decent product.
  • by MarsDude (74832) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:52AM (#18585041) Homepage
    It is the order of the list on which you can vote !!!
    • What are you talking about? The list posted in the comments and the excerpt are both correct, ranked orders as reported by PC World. Who modded you informative?
  • Voodoo 3 sucked. (Score:5, Informative)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:53AM (#18585055)
    The Voodoo 3 lacked 32 bit rendering and came out months before nVidia brought out the GeForce card.

    It was, in short, the beginning of the end for 3dfx. Why would you promote that?!
    • I agree. It was the Voodoo2 that was a huge success. Even though nVidia's Geforce came out not long after it nVidia's TNT2 was vastly superior to the Voodoo3.
      Quake3 used OpenGL, not 3dfx' Glide. People with a Voodoo card needed to install an additonal drive to translate the OpenGL instructions to Glide just to be able to play Quake3. The TNT2 understood both Direct3D and OpenGL.
      • by sznupi (719324)
        Glide was a simplified (tailored towards games) subset of OpenGL (just look at the name...GLide), so there was much sense in not doing OpenGL the direct way...
    • Re:Voodoo 3 sucked. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pslam (97660) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:35AM (#18585293) Homepage Journal
      Indeed, that surprised me too. Voodoo 1 was THE watershed graphics card - it blew away everything the competition had by an order of magnitude in high performance, features AND low price. It was even fairly unique in sitting on a separate card slot with the entire VGA signal looped through it and switched on demand. Instant upgrade for your PC. Genius marketing they had back then.

      Sadly, they started drinking their own cool-aid too much. Voodoo 3 was THE bankrupting card. It was too expensive, too poor on features (16 bit rendering when everyone else was 32 bit), too poor on RAMDAC speed (poor output quality) and way too late to market. To make matters worse, their marketing department was making laughable attempts at convincing customers that they didn't really need all those extra features (what people want is render SPEED not QUALITY! Oh you already have 60fps? Hmm). You could buy an nVidia TNT2 for the same price, and it had the same performance, better quality output and better quality rendering. Even the drivers were better. I think Voodoo3 vs TNT2 marks the point where 3dfx LOST the fight. Strange that the list says it marks the pinnacle.

      Sadder still, rather than recovering, they brought out the Voodoo 4/5 which added very little apart from a huge power supply burden, massive cards, and even higher costs, right when upstarts like nVidia and ATI were bringing out damn cheap, fast and single chip cards that did better.

      As an aside - the CEO who bankrupted them by running the company on pure hopes and wishes alone (Greg Ballard) did the same to the company I worked for (SonicBlue/S3/Diamond). I suspect they brought him in due to his history of running a market leading company into the ground in less than a year. Job done.

      • by Hachey (809077)
        You're making me feel pretty foolish for buying a Voodoo3 card back then.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Cochonou (576531)
        too poor on RAMDAC speed (poor output quality)
        Beware: RAMDAC clock speed is not directly linked to output quality, but to the refresh rates that can be used at specific resolutions. You could have a very fast RAMDAC clock speed, but a noisy DAC and therefore end up with bad output quality. The opposite is also true.
        For reference, a 250 Mhz RAMDAC can output 1600x1200 at 75 Hz. By the way, I do think that the Voodoo3 3000 RAMDAC was clocked at a higher rate than most TNT2 RAMDACs (350 Mhz vs 300 Mhz).
  • Misleading title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zensonic (82242) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:04AM (#18585121) Homepage
    Its not the best tech products of all times at the title states, its the most influential products of all time.

    And even with that in mind I think the list is bogus. With criterias like:

    So what's the best tech product to come out of the digital age? And what qualifies a product as being "best"? First and foremost, it must be a quality product. In many cases, that means a piece of hardware or software that has truly changed our lives and that we can't live without (or couldn't at the time it debuted). Beyond that, a product should have attained a certain level of popularity, had staying power, and perhaps made some sort of breakthrough, influencing the development of later products of its ilk.
    you have to wonder where mp3 (software and hardware), television (hardware), tcp/ip (software) and cellphones (hardware) are. But then again. I may have misunderstood what this is all about.
    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:15AM (#18585169)
      It's not a list of the 50 best technologies of all time. MP3, television, and cell phones aren't the aim of this particular list.

      Instead, implementations that changed how we use technology ARE on the list. For example cell phones = Motorola StarTAC; mp3 = iPod; tcp/ip = Hayes modem/Compuserve/Netscape; television = Tivo and so on.

      The purpose is not immediately clear maybe, but there's a reason why it's the 50 "best" *products* and not 50 best technologies.
  • One page link (Score:4, Informative)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:08AM (#18585137)
    Unless you enjoy wading through 11 pages of served ads:

    http://www.pcworld.com/printable/article/id,130207 /printable.html [pcworld.com]
  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:19AM (#18585197) Homepage Journal
    I hate lists like this, because they are usually revisionist history. Again, there's a heavy West Coast Bias, as if the IBM PC and Apple and Microsoft were the only tech companies that ever existed.

    Where for example (as others have pointed out) is the Commodore 64, the "Model T" of computers? It's simply the single most successful computer of all time, selling more than 33 million units of a single "model" of machine, more than any other single model of machine.

    And while they mention the Amiga 1000, where's the Video Toaster and Lightwave 3-D, the software that revolutionized 3-D animation on reltively cheap low-power machines? Oh sorry, that technological marvel came out of Kansas, and nothing high-tech comes out of Kansas, right?

    And here's something that was developed on the west coast that deserves praise (is it on the list?) The Palm Pilot -- without which, we'd probably not have half of the other items that *are* on the list.

    It always seems to me that the editors of such "lists" only remember what they themselves "played with", and if they didn't touch it with their own hands, it didn't exist and therefore isn't worth mentioning.

    Also, exciting innovations such as the mouse which are made at academic think-tanks or research departments of large companies are also not worth mentioning. Do you think these editors bothered to research anything happening at MIT's media lab? Of course not. MIT after all, is on the EAST coast.

    This list makes me sad that we're already forgetting important history from just a few years ago. In twenty years, people will be saying the Bill Gates invented the computer and taking that as fact.

    • by imsabbel (611519) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:39AM (#18585305)
      And if you widen your horizon even more, you might notice that there is a whole world outside the us, too.
      ("west-coast bias". Snicker...)
    • Key example: they list the Northgate OmniKey Ultra instead of the IBM Model M which came out five years earlier and was much better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eganloo (195345)
      I hit the submit button too soon. Here's the full reply:

      Again, there's a heavy West Coast Bias, as if the IBM PC and Apple and Microsoft were the only tech companies that ever existed.

      Read a map. The IBM PC was developed in Boca Raton, Florida, two counties away from the southeasternmost tip of the United States.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC [wikipedia.org]

      And here's something that was developed on the west coast that deserves praise (is it on the list?) The Palm Pilot -- without which, we'd probably not have half of the other items that *are* on the list.

      Read the article. The Palm Pilot is #18.

      Also, exciting innovations such as the mouse which are made at academic think-tanks or research departments of large companies are also not worth mentioning. Do you think these editors bothered to research anything happening at MIT's media lab? Of course not. MIT after all, is on the EAST coast.

      Read the title. The list is for the 50 best tech products. Innovations in academic labs aren't products yet, until they are sold commercially. The list does include products that were inspired by MIT's Media Lab's work.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:21AM (#18585215)
    They forgot:

    1. the hearth
    2. the knife
    3. the rasp
    4. the stirrup
    5. the saw
    6. the steam engine
    7. the light bulb

    etc.
    • And the Segway! Evereyone forgets how it changed the face of our cities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Glowing Fish (155236)
      Sure, I think "The Wheel" and "The Inclined Plane" are great technically, but marketing never found a way to really get their brand loyalty started in the vital 18-24 demographic.
  • Cue:Cat (Score:2, Funny)

    by kerouacsgp (516242)
    What no CueCat?
    http://cuecat.com/ [cuecat.com]
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:24AM (#18585229) Journal
    Surprised about the lack of Visicalc. Perhaps the Apple ][ Visicalc combo would have been a better #2. Nobody ever wanted the Apple 2. They wanted the software. People would go into computer stores and ask for "A visicalc".
  • Software choices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:29AM (#18585255) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it odd that they list applications as "tech products", as things we couldn't live without, but they completely miss software that we can't live without such as MP3, ZIP, TCP/IP, and instead list ipods, email, chatting software, etc., all of which couldn't exist without the underlying "tech products".
  • Flash drives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:30AM (#18585261)
    I think flash memory drives should have at least made the list. They really changed how a lot of people work. It's easy to transport files from office to home and back again. With such a large percentage of people working at least part time at home the drives make it much easier. I use them all the time to shift files from my desktop systems to my notebook. Also they credit Zip Drives but fail to list Syquest. That was really the landmark drive and they were more stable than Zip drives they just happen to be Mac based.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MadTinfoilHatter (940931) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:41AM (#18585311)

    45. Red Hat Linux (1994)
    Picking a watershed Linux distribution is tough. Literally hundreds have existed over the years, though only a few have advanced the state of the art. Red Hat was critically important for beginning the move (however tentative) toward making Linux beginner-friendly and easier to install. While development of Red Hat was discontinued in 2003, it directly spawned successors like Ubuntu, which aim to make desktop use of Linux commonplace.

    WTF!? Ubuntu is based on Debian, not Red Hat. Also, development of Red Hat didn't stop in 2003 - it was just split into RHEL & Fedora. Pretty har to take an article that flawed seriously.

    • by sharkey (16670)
      And, apparently the display of version info and a copyright warning in a modal dialog in IE is evidence that Microsoft are using some of Netscape's source code.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Translation: Red Hat dropped the ball on the Linux desktop, Fedora became a mostly unknown testbed for RHEL. Face it, they haven't done much to make Fedora the Linux desktop. As for Ubuntu, it is much more a succssor of RHL than Grokster was to Napster, at least in the code sense.
    • Both of their statements are correct unless you go out of your way to misinterpret them.
  • So... Compuserve deserves a spot on the list as the first major BBS, Napster is the best thing since sliced bread because it shaped the way consumers use music, but there are no search engines on the top50. The people who wrote this list must be Gopher zealots or something.
    • by tekrat (242117)
      Yeah, their software selections seem pretty random too. For example, they list hardware (Apple II) and then explain that it ran Visicalc in the description for the Apple II. But they list the IPOD and ITUNES as seperate items. WTF? Would the iPod have ever caught on without iTunes? Ugh.

      Then of course, they list email programs, but they completely ignore Adobe Acrobat and the PDF file format, arguably more important than Macafee Virus Scan or Spybot.

      In all, I find this list to be really, really bad.
      I could h
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:47AM (#18585341)
    Compuserve?

    Compuserve?... That bloated, expensive, pretend internet thing that became AOL... that Compuserve? In the top 50?

    *Checks date to see if it's still 1st April*
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:15AM (#18585517)
      Compuserve?... That bloated, expensive, pretend internet thing that became AOL... that Compuserve? In the top 50?


      Prior to the days when kiddies expected a specific Compuserve interface that was bloated, there were the days that Compuserve was a rather robust community BBS system that was complete text based interface giving access to extensive forums, news searches, stocks, weather and other services.

      Even MS required beta testers to have Compuserve IDs to participate in Beta programs prior to the Web.

      For its time Compuserve was the king of online communities and did it better than anyone else. Remember this is from the timeframe when the 'Internet' was limited to gov and edu exclusively, and not everyone had access, compuserve was the 'commercial' version of connecting regular people.

      Also this is where Al Gore comes into play when he worked to get the internet opened to everyone, and thus resulting in there no longer being a need for Compuserve as a content provider or connection point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Compuserve was pretty special back in the day. I used to use it in the UK and it was worth the humungous call fees back then because of what it provided in terms of forums, files, chat rooms etc. There really was nothing else like it and in these days it's all too easy to forget that. Everything else was basic BBS's.
  • The trip down memory lane is sort of nice, but who really cares?

    That said, I was happy to find a link to the CVT Avant Stellar keyboard.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:33AM (#18585621) Homepage Journal
    is that they are publishing/designer people, and all their choices reflect that.

    one major example they chose amiga over commodore 64. commodore was a precedent for all to follow. many programmers who are regularing slashdot have cut their teeth on that. we have seen the rise of the cracker scene and groups on that. many people, trend and groups who have set today's IT made their advent on c64.

    but those people chose amiga. why ? because they are graphics/designer/publishing people. and all the choices reflect that - almost a third of what they chose as software and hardware are publishing/designing items.

    a very biased, and failed article that is.
  • No Multics? No VAX or PDP systems? No SUN? So we magically jumped from the mainframe data center to the personal computer with nothing in between? Hell, there's not even a token mention of the mainframe. Complete load of crap from people who haven't a clue there is more to the world than the desktop.
  • There's only two products in that list released before 1980, and they're both products that would have still been interesting to teenagers in 1980. It looks like none of the people having anything to do with this list were aware of anything that happened before then.
  • My List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:59AM (#18585765)
    My list would include:

    1) Personal Computer
    2) Word Processing
    3) Ethernet LAN
    4) Mouse
    5) Graphical User Interface
    6) Laser Printer

    In other words, products from Xerox PARC.
  • by mikeraz (12065) <michael@nOspAM.michaelsnet.us> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @08:07AM (#18585821) Homepage
    DNS? No listing for the software that allows us to type "www.pcworld.com" instead of "70.42.185.10"? Sendmail? Where is our email without the server software? Apache? Where's youre #1 pick without web servers to connect to? Not even a generic plumbing or infrastrcutre listing for these vital programs that make the Internet function. Shame on those guys.
  • The list in misnamed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brokeninside (34168) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @08:22AM (#18585945)
    It should have been titled, the fifty most commercially influential consumer grade ITproducts of the last thirty years. Electrical power plants, water treatment plants and the internal combustion engine (just to name three technical innovations) have far more impact on every day life than any of the products on that list. Or even relational databases and computer warehousing. Here's another example, the credit revolution that began in the eighties was entirely dependent on large mainframes being able to interconnect with various data sources to compile a credit score that has changed the way people work, shop and live far more than the number one product on that list, Netscape Navigator.
  • What about OS X, that was based on OSS and so was the TIVIO.

    and if I'm being really picky windows contains some once BSD licensed code.
  • NCSA Mosaic Sony Playstation 2 Novell Netware MySQL
  • by Grebekel (1083547) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @08:28AM (#18586005)
    Any "Best tech of all time" list that does not list the wheel is bogus. What would I do if my chair didn't have 5 sets of wheels on it? Walk? As if...
  • Ok, while strictly not a product in its own right, USB was one of the defining moments in the 90's for technology - even my digital radio has a USB port on it.

    I suppose if you were to associate USB with any one machine, it'd be the iMac, which did a lot for propelling it forward by ditching the ADB ports and floppy, ushering in a new age for peripherals (which unfortunately came in crappy gel colours too)...
  • by MECC (8478) *
    Windows 95 makes it (better looking than MacOS? Give me a break...) but not WindowsNT/OS3warp? What the hell kind of crap is that? That kind of ignorant oversight taints the entire list.

  • Seems to me that these should be on the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculator/ [wikipedia.org]
  • As an old guy who was playing with a Commodore at home before he got his hands on a green screen 4.77 mhz dual-floppy IBM PC at work I can appreciate the depth of thought that went into this selection. A lot of people may never have seen a lot of these programs or hardware but they were huge at the time.

    I would have liked to have thrown Borland a bone. If not for all the people who learned Turbo Pascal 3, maybe for Quattro Pro for Windows 3.1 instead of Xcel. I can still remember when PC Magazine gave th
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @10:40AM (#18587731)
    Why is it that whenever someone comes out with a top X computing products of all time, they always leave out the hard drive? Yet somehow these boneheads listed the zipdisk, which a) didn't kill off the floppy drive (USB thumb drives did) and b) only lasted few years.

    How about giving props to IBM, Seagate etc where it's due. Not only did they give you fast, reliable, RANDOM access (remember we used reel to reel tape before this) but its been increasing in capacity and speed ever since, not to mention going DOWN in price. 100GB laptop drives anyone? It wasn't that long ago when 'high performance' disk drives were in the 9 and 18GB range for disk arrays. Not for laptops.

    Remember without it, you'd be trying to boot your PC with punchcards, floppy disks or tape.

    -Storage Admin since 1982.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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