First post of the new year and since most tech outlets have the day off plus not much is going on today, I thought I offer my suggestions for the top five tech news items of 2007.
5. Comcast throttles BitTorrent
Summer 2007: Many users who have Comcast as their ISP have been reporting that their bitorrent traffic gets throttled. Comcast would deny the throttling. A PR battle between bloggers and Comcast would go on for months until the Associated Press conducts their own investigation and concludes that Comcast does throttled bittorrent traffic. Expect more throttling of bittorrent traffic to happen more this year, even though bittorrent is now used as a content delivery network and as a legal downloading service.
4. iPhone launches
MacWorld 2007: Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone. Bloggers and media outlets go nuts and treat Jobs as the second coming of Jesus. Endless amounts of stories about the un-launced iPhone go on for months. Lines started forming a week before the launch date, which just shows how gullible Apple fan boys are. However questions would arise: Are people willing to pay $500 to $600 for a phone with no rebates or subsidies? Would people switch their current provider to be locked into a two-year agreement with AT&T? Would the iPhone make or break Apple? Answers: Yes, yes and make! The iPhone launch was a success. However, Jobs would find out that Apple fan boys can turn against you, which brings us to number three . . .
3. iPhone fallout
September 2007: Lock-into a two-year agreement with AT&T, no 3G, no 3rd party applications, no corporate exchange email, no sim card exchange when traveling internationally and that’s just a start of a long list of negative items for the iPhone. First adapters of the iPhone really exploded when the price dropped $200 ninety-days later after the first launch. Users were so angry at Apple that the company gave a $100 store credit to those that bought the device before the price drop. The storm would settle and and the damage would be repaired. Apple fan boys would come to love Jobs again but the debate still rages on if the early price drop would hurt Apple in the future.
2. The troubles with Vista
February 2007: Vista, the long awaited OS from Microsoft launched, minus many of the new features (like a new file format) that were supposed to be in the new OS. As soon as the OS launch, criticism towards Vista can in like hardware and printer drivers not supported, programs that would work because of the new firewall around the kernel, how much of a resource hog Vista would be and so on. The disliking of Vista was so much that users either downgraded back to XP or switch to a Mac (The Leopard launch had similar results as well, just not on a wide scale as Vista). How bad was Vista: Second quarter results from Microsoft showed that XP was selling better than Vista and Vista was label as the second addition of Windows ME.
. . . and my number one story for 2007 is . . .
1. Virginia Tech and the birth of citizen media
April 2007: A mentally-ill gunman kills two students in a dorm on the campus of Virginia Tech, leaves campus to mail a package to NBC News, returns and kills 30 more before taking his own life. But this story isn’t about the tragedy at Virginia Tech, instead it’s about the video recorded from a cell phone that would start the birth of citizen media. By now everyone has seen the video, video of a camera phone recording the sounds of gunfire just outside Norris Hall. The footage was uploaded to CNN’s I-Report and was shown over and over on CNN. That video would start the birth of citizen media and I-report became popular after Virginia Tech. Other media outlets jumped on the bandwagon as well, from ABC’s i-caught to MSNBC’s first person report, but none would be popular as CNN’s. The Minnesota Bridge collapse, Violence in Myanmar, Southern California Wildfires, and many more news-worthy items were the start of citizen media.