Early in the 1990s, bright sparks at Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Novell and WordPerfect decided that the answer to the accretion of features that was beginning to bog down the productivity apps of the time was to rethink the relationship between documents and applications. Documents, they said, should be standalone entities able to contain any type of data and not be tied to specific apps, which would no longer be monolithic programs but small editors invoked when the user clicked on an appropriate data type. So, click on some text and the word processor app would be loaded. Click on a table in the same document and the spreadsheet module would be loaded. Users could pick different editors from different vendors, but work in the one document.
This was going to kill Microsoft Office? Yeah, right
For Microsoft, with its OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) technology, it was all about beefing up Office. For the others, it was about loosening Office’s dominance of the productivity software business. No prizes for guessing which of the two is still being used today. OpenDoc ended up requiring too much memory - the editor apps weren’t as lightweight as intended - and with no standard way of encoding for each type of data, one bitmap editor module could not necessarily open a picture worked on in another bitmap editor.
Was the Personal Digital Assistant a fail? It’s true that what we now call a smartphone is heir to the PDA and, if you count all the organisers that the likes of Palm, Sony and others sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the PDA, as a category, proved incredibly successful. But what about the PDA as originally conceived? Even today’s iPhones and Androids don’t quite provide the automated, intelligent organiser that Apple CEO John Sculley had in mind when he coined the term PDA back in the mid-1990s. His notion, to be embedded (kind of) in the Newton MessagePad, was of a device that constantly tracked its user’s activities, learning and eventually anticipating what they wanted to get up to - in short to be the digital equivalent of a PA.
Apple made several MessagePads - here, the 120 - but never delivered a true, working PDA
Apple didn’t get it right then and even its Siri, which sits voice recognition on top of a search engine, isn’t sufficiently sophisticated to organise your life for you. Apple’s Newton was a flop and was out-paced by the more basic, cheaper Palm Pilot, which was never tried to be anything more than a digital diary and contacts list.
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So ... the VCD's a complete turkey except in Turkey?
Re: Secondlife Is still Alive.
The main fail of SL is it is shit (as pointed out further up thread). The only people that are still there are complete saddos who are trying to convince themselves that it will become relevant again.
Re: Secondlife Is still Alive.
Why so judgemental, Andrew Moore? People do all sorts of things and have all sorts of hobbies that they personally enjoy. They participate because it gives them enjoyment, not from some attempt to be "relevant".
For example, I simply can't get my head round football fans. I don't call them saddos though - why should it bother me what they do?
Likewise, many people still refer to people who have any interest in technology as "saddos" and "nerds". Which makes your comments all the more ironic.
Live and let live, and vive la difference, I say .
My boss in 2005: "Should we get on this Second Life thing? I keep getting asked why we're not on it by Analysts".
Me: "No, its fucking rubbish". You never get credit for the dodged bullets do you? On the other hand I owned a Newton :(
I can answer two of your points... Betamax wasn't 'far better' than VHS - it was a little better, but the tapes were too short to record anything like a movie without switching to slower speeds and negating the benefits. The later extended versions of Betamax were lower quality, while VHS kept improving. If you're talking about Beta, which was used by TV stations, that's a different animal - much higher quality (and much larger tapes)
And the reason 8 track failed was because of its short usable life... I'm old enough to remember trees on the side of the road draped in long gossamer strands of Dark Side of the Moon after someone's 8 track ate yet another tape. While 8 tracks were more convenient, cassettes were a lot more reliable.