Ten Years Gone


By now you’ve probably read two or 10 “goodbye-to-the-decade-from-hell” stories — how 2009 was the final nail in the coffin for the first decade of the twenty-first century.

I mean, it makes sense that there’d be so much noise about it: (a) this decade sucked in so many ways, and (b) back in 1999 how many people did you know who even had a blog, let alone an email address? Going by the sheer number of people who’ve come online to talk about everything and anything, it’s certainly going to seem that the vocal majority is kicking these past 10 years in the ass as it heads out the door, bloody scythe in hand.

So think back to a time of — eh, innocence? — when the Twin Towers were still standing, when the average income per year was US$40,810 and when you could at least entertain the illusion that your government was only fucking you with taxes and not with what would become the stinking, steaming pile of bullshit that the Bush administration shoveled down your throat in every-increasing quantities.

Consider this: on January 8, 1999 3.4 million copies of the film The Rescuers were recalled after a photo of a topless woman was discovered in two of the 110,000 slides in that scene of the movie; on the other end of the spectrum on an unconfirmed date in 2007 an online video (don’t worry, it’s a link to Wikipedia) of two women eating vomit and shit makes the rounds as an “erotic video”, which, of course, would readily be available to anyone — at any age — with a computer and an Internet connection.What?!

In June, 1999, Napster debuts; two years later iPods hit the market. The music industry freaks.

The so-called “dot-com” bubble bursts when VCs realize that throwing money at people who talk about stuff you don’t understand doesn’t necessarily make their ideas have profit margins. Daytraders also learn that life isn’t like it is in stock photos of a guy in his underwear balancing a laptop on his knee and sipping coffee.

Mobile phones went from being bulky luxuries to brilliantly engineered tools which can now provide you with complete insulation from all the other people who are listening to MP3s and blogging/SMSing/on Facebook, etc. — from their phones. Still, I find the Bluetooth borg a little creepier than the smart phone crowd, though.

Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all became prominent parts of online life only a few years ago.

Sept. 11, 2001 leaves the world reeling, and will continue to reverberate in our lifetime, at least, for a long time.

“Green” goes from being simply a color to an adjective as freakish weather patterns finally get the world’s attention.

A pope dies, a tsunami hits Indonesia, North Korea completes a nuclear test, the collapse of Lehman Brothers sets off a wave of unemployment and forclosures around the world, and Hollywood runs out of ideas as “reimaginings” become the only overpriced movies you can go see.

What’s your take?

Geek Bonus:

My computer setup back then was:

  • a large flatbed/transparecy scanner,
  • a monitor that must have been at least a foot and a half deep,
  • an external CD burner,
  • a Zip drive,
  • an external optical drive,
  • a 3Com 56k modem (dial-up)
  • a Mac clone (System 8.5),
  • a PostScript laster printer, and
  • a cheap color printer

All in the appetizing shade of beige. Approximate cost for all hardware and software: approx. $10,000

My setup today:

  • a MacBook Pro
  • a simple all-in-one printer/scanner/copier
  • an iPhone

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