Originally published in The Clarion | December 29, 2010
It’s the time of the year that many of us like to reflect and reminisce on the previous twelve months in anticipation of the upcoming new year. As I look back at technology in 2010, a few moments and milestones come to mind – those sorts of things that we’ll most likely never soon forget – or will we? The pace of technological advancement and change is so quick these days, odds are good that what might have been impossible to forget a decade ago may have already slipped our minds before we replace our calendars with new ones. Along with a quick look back, it will only be appropriate that we take a quick look forward to what is coming in 2011.
Running the previous twelve months in technology through my mind (and Web search engine), two key moments stand out. The first isn’t necessarily a new gadget or even technology, but something that almost definitely affected each and every one of us in North Alabama. In April, actually my first-ever article for The Clarion, I wrote about the upcoming switch to 10-digit telephone dialing for everyone in the 256 area code. On June 5th of this year, the switch was flipped and 10-digit dialing was here to stay. Over seven months later, I wonder how many of us still try making a local telephone call using only seven digits. I must admit I am guilty of this one, although it doesn’t happen as frequently as I imagined it would. Fortunately, all of my cell phone contacts were entered as ten digits over the years so I didn’t have to go through the hassle of changing them – did you?
2010 also brought about a new hardware technology that seems to have revolutionized how many of us communicate and access the Web. In actuality, the tablet computing concept wasn’t a new one in 2010 but, for the first time, a device came to market that was attractive, somewhat reasonably-priced and from most accounts quite functional. Introduced in April of this year, Apple Corporation introduced its iPad tablet to North America and, according to reports, America bought in. With several million units sold this year and rumors of a second-generation device just around the corner in 2011, tablet computing – from Apple and other manufacturers – is apparently here to stay.
Finally, a quick look ahead. Sometime in our near future – quite likely in early 2011 – the pool of available public IP addresses as we know it will be emptied. With the introduction and popularity of more and more Internet Protocol-based devices, addresses essential for allowing communications to and from these devices have simply run out. The solution – an updated version of the Internet Protocol – is available but its adoption has been slow to say the least. Let’s hope Internet and Web connectivity isn’t crippled during this inevitable process. My best wishes to you and yours for a safe, happy and prosperous 2011.