From the coolest recent invention to the biggest unsolved problem, here are Doug's picks.
The lists in our cover
are based on the views of a whole heap of experts. This column is
based on one guy and 23 years of covering the computer biz for a dozen IT publications
(out of these, Redmond
magazine is clearly my favorite!).
Smartest thing Microsoft ever did: Writing NT, which launched Microsoft's
well-deserved server success.
The OS that should never have died: OS/2. If we stuck with this bad
boy, we'd have had multitasking and large memory addressing years earlier.
Best company makeover: Novell Inc. Goes from Netware to Linux -- rad!
Coolest recent invention: BlackBerry Internet tethering. My laptop can
connect to the Internet wherever I have wireless access -- which isn't nearly
as many places as I'd like.
Neatest thing I never use: Flash drives.
Most advanced dead computer ever: The Amiga. In 1985 this machine could
multitask, had multiprocessing, CD-quality sound a TV-compatible graphics card.
It crashed a lot, but was a hoot.
Favorite tech-savvy celebrity: Penn Gillette. The talking half of Penn
& Teller has always pushed his machines to their limits, especially when
it comes to desktop video. His column for now-dead magazine PC/Computing
was a welcome departure from all the writers who believe you have to be boring
to be taken seriously.
Awesomest tech-savvy author: Arthur C. Clarke. The renowned writer and
scientist has used computers (an Amiga if truth be told) to explore mandelbrots
(inspiring the book The Ghost from the Grand Banks). Clarke also argues
that satellites can bring Internet access to the third world, which is one of
the goals of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.
Most important dead magazine: InfoWorld. I spent three years
there covering Microsoft, Lotus, Ashton-Tate, Borland and WordPerfect. These
five fought and gossiped more than a college sorority. Byte magazine
is runner-up. When I needed to learn a new technology, Byte was the place.
Best dead computer show: Comdex. This Las Vegas show was the
place to meet semi-inebriated executives, see hot new gear and hobnob with tens
of thousands of IT experts.
Worst decision Apple ever made: To stop licensing the Mac OS.
Best Apple decision ever: To hire back Steve Jobs, who unfortunately
decided to stop licensing the Mac OS.
Area I wish Microsoft would stay away from: Anti-virus and management.
Let the third parties that pioneered these areas prosper.
Biggest unsolved problem: Keeping multiple machines in sync.
Funnest interview: King Kong Bundy. In the late '80s this pro wrestler
was doing ads for a PC company so I asked him about the major tech issues. Best
line was when I asked him if he had a wife or any girlfriends. He said he "had
a lot of girlfriends, but only one wife." I actually convinced my editor
at ComputerWorld to run this interview.
What is your list? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll publish the best in an upcoming issue.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.