ReadWriteReflect offers a look back at major technology trends, products and companies of the past year.
Should auld acquaintances be forgot, and never brought to mind? Here at ReadWrite, we say no!
As we get ready to usher in 2015, it’s time to bid farewell to some of the things that left us in 2014. Some icons of tech made their exit this year, including the original iPod, ye olden spreadsheete sowftwayr, and Yahoo’s original claims to fame. Fare thee well, friends!
The iPod changed the way we listen to music. A huge step up from portable cassette players and CD players—and bulky, low-capacity, first-generation MP3 players—the iPod could store thousands of songs with a relatively intuitive interface. And the iTunes Store, which followed it closely, made it easy for people to purchase a single song at a time, rather than buying an entire album. While Apple still sells shrunken-down Shuffles and Nanos and the modern iPod Touch, Apple quietly pulled the plug on the original iPod Classic this year, claiming it couldn’t find parts to make it anymore.
Aereo was a video service that let users see TV by renting an antenna from Aereo and streaming the signal over the Internet. Users could see 28 channels of live TV. By all accounts, the service was pretty good. Unfortunately, it was too good. Television networks brought a case against Aereo, and in June the Supreme Court agreed with the networks, 6-3, that what Aereo was doing was illegal. Womp womp.
If you were one of the few people or businesses still using Windows XP, I have some bad news for you! That’s right, after 12 years, Microsoft finally discontinued support for XP in April. The operating system was a commercial success, although a magnet for hackers.
Believe it or not, the Internet used to be harder to navigate than it is now! Google wasn’t the de facto search engine, and algorithms weren’t as advanced, and people didn’t even know what they were looking for. Chaos reigned! Well, that might be pushing it, but we’re not kidding when we tell you that people maintained lists of websites by hand back then.
In this time, a golden light descended from the heavens, sorting and organizing things. Indeed, a directory! The Yahoo Directory organized pages into categories, and those categories into sub-categories, and so on and so forth. Yahoo announced this September that 2014 would be the last year of the Directory, and a few days ago, it pulled the plug for good. Now Yahoo’s just that place you go for stock quotes and sports scores, we guess.
One of the most popular early IBM PC applications, this spreadsheet program caught on like wildfire in the mid-1980s. VisiCalc, for the Apple II, was the first major spreadsheet program, but Lotus 123 was built for IBM machines and released in 1983. Lotus, founded by Mitch Kapor, was acquired by IBM in 1995 and stopped supporting Lotus software in September after 31 years.