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Cover image for What products or technologies have impressed you?

What products or technologies have impressed you?

blazselih profile image Blaž Šelih ・1 min read

I'm old (by today's developer standards) and have seen a lot of things come and go, pushed by the corporations, hyped by the media and worshiped by the masses :-)

Basically, I'm not easily impressed and couldn't care less for the next super-duper js library or another reinvention of the wheel. But from time to time something really breathtaking comes along. Here are three things that to this day I still consider mind-blowing.

1996, 3dfx Voodoo Graphics

To this day I think there was no bigger single leap in consumer hardware performance than this. It felt like a personal Silicon Graphics workstation on a graphics card.

1999, IBM Microdrive

Back in the day, this was like something straight out of the future. Tiny mechanical hard drive with spindle motor, head servo, controller, power electronics etc., all packed into Compact Flash enclosure. I think the miniaturization level is still very impressive today.

2009, Google Wave

I feel really sorry that Wave failed so badly. None of the components were really groundbreaking or even that new, but they just fit together in a good way. It was the classic case of the whole being more than the sum of the parts.

Obligatory honorable mention, way before my time

1958, LISP

Probably the most influential programming language/paradigm/philosophy ever. Need I say more.

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Blaž Šelih

@blazselih

Engineer by training, scientist by heart.

Discussion

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I found out you can embed PDFs in a word doc the other day and it blew my team away.

 

Assistive technology! Creating something like a refreshable braille keyboard that helps remove barriers for people with disabilities requires such out-of-the-box thinking and empathy.

 

I think there are too many for me to go through (examples: cell phones, internet, multi-core, cloud providers).

But one that sticks out for me is when the first iPhone came out. It was a drastic and unexpected leap ahead of anything else at the time (mainly Blackberry and Palm IIRC). It completely changed the mobile phone market into what we have today.

 

Hot Code Replacement. Being able to fix bugs while debugging the application is just amazing.
Java has good support for this for a really long time. Products like JRebel, DCEVM, and Spring-Loaded make it even better.

What really amazed me is when Epic Games showed hot reloading of native code in UnrealEngine4.

 

I don't even use this site, but I am blown away by Gyroscope when I click around. Just in terms of web development polish it is so well-done.

 

Love the website, the app though seems to be a tracking app to track all the things about you :-D

 

In a similar vein, I also thought the background image (mouse over it) for this whois lookup site was really cool!

 

Holy moly that is cool.