Tech Article of the Year 2004

The articles taken to purview are limited to the scope of my reading and hence I am not sure if this is a perfect title to be awarded. Yet for the heck, since I’ve been reading a hell of these tech stuff in the last years, I wanted to give it a shot.

There are times when new technology has been criticised by the part of the tech world. Sometime the degree of criticism varies. But when most of the critics are up against a technology indicating the public to shun that tech, to rise up to the occasion and to write an article in support of it is a herculean task. Not just that you got to be politically right. You should also be doubly conscious that you and technology don’t get into something much bigger than the original issue.

While there were many tech articles on Outsouring of US Tech jobs, Open Source on the main-stream industry, IPOD Mania, nature of Google’s IPO and the Search Engine wars that created an uproar and comments from the readers, only a few will stay with us.

David Pogue‘s NY Times article called Google Mail: Virtue Lies in the In-Box, was an eye-opener for many of GMAIL’s intial users. Though the credibility of NY times enabled this article to reach out for the people, it was the simple approach David chose to take in dissecting the philosophy behind Google’s GMAIL. You would appreciate why I say this as the tech article of the year if you could fix it to the time of it publishing because its when the privacy issues started to peak up and this column of David was talked about for it’s clarity and simplicity. From the article –

In fact, no human ever looks at the Gmail e-mail. Computers do the scanning – dumbly, robotically and with no understanding the words – just the way your current e-mail provider scans your messages for spam and viruses. The same kind of software also reads every word you type into Google or any other search page, tracks your shopping on Amazon, and so on.

Besides, if you’re that kind of private, Gmail is the least of your worries. You’d better make sure that the people at credit-card companies, mail-order outfits and phone companies aren’t sitting in back rooms giggling at your monthly statements. Heck, how do you know that your current e-mail providers – or the administrators of the Internet computers that pass mail along – aren’t taking an occasional peek?

Daniel H. Pink‘s cover story for Wired magazine’s February 2004 issue named The New Face of the Silicon Age addressed the then hot issue of Outsourcing. Daniel did his complete research for his article and his article reflects the intensity of research. This article talks about how India became the capital of the computing revolution. From the article –

This is a story about the global economy. It’s about two countries and one profession – and how weirdly upside down the future has begun to look from opposite sides of the globe. It’s about code and the people who write it. But it’s also about free markets, new politics, and ancient wisdom – which means it’s ultimately about faith.

Tim O’Reilly‘s research column The Open Source Paradigm Shift took me by awe. It presented the case about Open Source Software, it argued about implications of software commoditization and it spoke about building the internet operating system. It was long but comprehensive. It was a true break-through article. It talks to you like your fellow colleague and it makes you to do a personal paradigm shift.

I have a simple test that I use in my talks to see if my audience of computer industry professionals is thinking with the old paradigm or the new. “How many of you use Linux?” I ask. Depending on the venue, 20-80% of the audience might raise its hands. “How many of you use Google?” Every hand in the room goes up. And the light begins to dawn. Every one of them uses Google’s massive complex of 100,000 Linux servers, but they were blinded to the answer by a mindset in which “the software you use” is defined as the software running on the computer in front of you. Most of the “killer apps” of the Internet, applications used by hundreds of millions of people, run on Linux or FreeBSD. But the operating system, as formerly defined, is to these applications only a component of a larger system. Their true platform is the Internet.

All the above three articles have made a great impact in their own domain and all have the right to claim the Tech Article of the Year 2004. Do leave your suggestions.

3 responses to “Tech Article of the Year 2004”

  1. The article by Tim O’Reilly was good and there are many other good ones as u said. But the common thing in most of the articles leads to decide

    “THE Tech company of the year”..

    And that, is the darling of the net, the demi-god of information, the maverick among dotcom’s…


    {followed by “Apple” for thier iPod and iTunes revolution}


  2. Lazy,

    Thanks for taking time to scavenge these articles which otherwise I would have never read.

    While the wired article on India and US Outsourcing is good by all means, few things touched my ego more than the praise.

    I urge your readers and all the fellow Indians especially the youngsters to re-think these assertions from the article.

    When in India, never – not once – does anybody mention innovation, creativity, or changing the world.
    After all, before these Indian programmers have something to fabricate, maintain, test, or upgrade, that something first must be imagined and invented.

    Innovation and creativity are the keys. India hasnt gotten far into it which reassures US its position. India should move from the “Copy” phase that we have fairly mastered to “Create” phase. Its a natural next step but a paradigm shift that we MUST take, without which will only be stereotyped as above.



  3. That was an interesting round up of things for 2004.

    Quite an envigorating read – the Wired article on the New Face of the Silicon Age.