The Decade in Gadgets

A then-and-now look at the technologies in our lives

By Derek Thompson

1999 2009
AOL Google
You’ve Got Mail Already got it on my BlackBerry
1-GB inboxes 1-GB attachments

1999 2009
Mix CDs Playlists
Walkman iPod
Napster iTunes
Radio Pandora


1999 2009
Long-distance charges Cell phone minutes
Swiss army knives iPhones
Awkward silence “Sorry, one sec, I have a message”

1999 2009
Postcards Twitter
Instant messaging Video Gchatting
Classifieds Craigslist
A politician’s paper trail A golf star’s text-message inbox

1999 2009
VCR timers TiVo
Reruns Hulu
Other people’s boring baby videos YouTube
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jon Gosselin, Balloon dad, and everybody else

1999 2009
Karaoke Rock Band
Myst World of Warcraft
Super Mario Bros Super Mario Bros Wii


1999 2009
Magazine subscriptions RSS subscriptions
Bookshelf Kindle
Calling an expert Going to Wikipedia
Going to the library for research Going to Wikipedia
Buying an Encyclopedia for your kids Telling them to go to Wikipedia


1999 2009
Stopping for directions GPS recalculating route
FM radio Satellite radio
Toyota Camrys and Ford Trucks Toyota hybrids and ... Ford trucks

1999 2009
Travel agents Travelocity
Remembering airline tickets Printing boarding passes
Meeting at the gate Removing shoes at security

1999 2009
First impressions Facebook profiles
Photo albums Facebook photos
High school reunions every decade Facebook updates every 10 seconds
The silent treatment Unfriending

1999 2009
General Electric General Electric
Microsoft Office Microsoft Office
Y2K Never mind

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/12/the-decade-in-gadgets/307816/