Five years ago today, a little device was released that completely revolutionized not just the mobile industry, but the broadband industry as well. Via Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Reports:
The advent of the iPhone era has forced changes in a stagnant smartphone industry that would never have gotten to this point without a serious push. Smartphones are now slim and sleek instead of huge and bulky. Touchscreens are now commonplace, drastically improving the overall user experience across all mobile platforms. Apps are now a booming economy, and are neatly organized in on-device portals instead of being available mainly through poorly-managed websites that made finding the software one needs a daunting task.
Epstein goes on to note that at the time the iPhone was announced, RIM — makers of the Blackberry, then the top dog in the smartphone market — scoffed at the device. Unfortunately for RIM, just yesterday the company announced its first net quarterly loss in eight years. Pretty amazing how fast fortunes change in the technology world.
This month six years ago, a little video website called YouTube was launched. To mark the occasion, the company has released some rather startling numbers. From the official YouTube blog:
Today, more than 48 hours (two days worth) of video are uploaded to the site every minute, a 37% increase over the last six months and 100% over last year.
48 hours worth of content uploaded every minute of every day. Wow. Also amazing:
The other great birthday present? Your views. We’re amazed that over this last weekend, you drove YouTube past the 3 billion views a day mark, a 50% increase over last year. That’s the equivalent of nearly half the world’s population watching a YouTube video each day, or every U.S. resident watching at least nine videos a day.
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, and to mark the occasion the House of Representatives passed the important 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which will help make today’s technologies — from the Internet to mobile devices — more accessible to people with disabilities.
A similar version of the bill is currently making it through the Senate.
Today’s New York Times has a great piece by early Internet developer Stephen D. Crocker on an important anniversary. It was on this day, 40 years ago, that Request for Comments were written, creating the rules for using the Internet. From the article:
A great deal of deliberation and planning had gone into the network’s underlying technology, but no one had given a lot of thought to what we would actually do with it. So, in August 1968, a handful of graduate students and staff members from the four sites began meeting intermittently, in person, to try to figure it out. (I was lucky enough to be one of the U.C.L.A. students included in these wide-ranging discussions.) It wasn’t until the next spring that we realized we should start writing down our thoughts. We thought maybe we’d put together a few temporary, informal memos on network protocols, the rules by which computers exchange information. I offered to organize our early notes.
What was supposed to be a simple chore turned out to be a nerve-racking project. Our intent was only to encourage others to chime in, but I worried we might sound as though we were making official decisions or asserting authority. In my mind, I was inciting the wrath of some prestigious professor at some phantom East Coast establishment. I was actually losing sleep over the whole thing, and when I finally tackled my first memo, which dealt with basic communication between two computers, it was in the wee hours of the morning. I had to work in a bathroom so as not to disturb the friends I was staying with, who were all asleep.
Still fearful of sounding presumptuous, I labeled the note a “Request for Comments.” R.F.C. 1, written 40 years ago today, left many questions unanswered, and soon became obsolete. But the R.F.C.’s themselves took root and flourished. They became the formal method of publishing Internet protocol standards, and today there are more than 5,000, all readily available online.
The entire article is definitely worth checking out.