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In the sketchy early ’00s, security exploits were rampant, and Microsoft offered no help. A good firewall was usually all that stood between you and the bad guys. ZoneAlarm was the best of the lot—and it was free!
The first widely successful thumb drive worked without an onerous driver installation, plus it had a great nickname, the Donkey!
Cable modems (see #23) seem to have beaten DSL in the broadband wars, but DSL was first on the scene, teaching us there was life beyond 56k.
A surround sound experience with only two speakers? Aureal’s A3D tricks the human ear into hearing more than is really there, and for that, we’re duly impressed
Go ahead and laugh. AOL may be a joke today (did you hear the one about the guy who tried to cancel his account?), but it got millions of people turned on to interconnectivity in the early Internet days.
Finally, a successor to the fat-boy ATA/IDE cable (see #80). SATA allows for better cable management, better air flow, and, of course, far faster transfer speeds. It’s even available in external form.
A stopgap between the floppy drive and ubiquitous CD-R availability, the 100MB Zip disk was heavily used in the graphics industry to cart multi-megabyte files from one computer to another.
Despite some shortcomings, the PowerBook 100 revolutionized laptop design by moving the keyboard to the back of the unit, making it much easier to type on.
While best known for its use as camera memory in products such as SD cards, flash is now making its way into solid-state hard drives and other performance-boosting applications in PCs.
BitTorrent’s ultimate impact is probably yet to be seen: Some estimates say the extremely popular P2P protocol now consumes up to 75 percent of all net traffic.