* The WWW: "It's so disorganized. I prefer gopher."
* Google: "Well, it gives good results, but Yahoo is 'good enough' for me
* RSS: "Who reads that many blogs?" (I still believe this, BTW; RSS is a technocrats' technology)
* Doom: "Why would I want to play a game where the sole purpose is to blow shit up?"
Things that really were on my "holy shit" list:
* Modems. "I can login to computers halfway across the world."
* VMWare/VirtualPC/SoftPC. "You mean it's like a computer, running inside a computer?"
* Napster. "Wow, free music."
* Gnutella. "Woah, no server, anywhere."
* Processing. "Those are awfully pretty pictures you just whipped up in the last 6 hours."
* GMail. "A gig of storage space. And it's searchable. And it has keyboard shortcuts. And it's got this conversation view. Where's my invite code?"
* Fanfiction. "Wow, hundreds of thousands of people trying their hand at writing stories."
* OLPC. "This'll open up a market of literally half the planet."
* Functional programming. "I'll never make a state error again."
Fanfic though? Really? Fanfic?
"Me too" - I remember that every time I think about trying to predict the future.
Oh, and CPAN.
A Slashdotter once posted an insightful comment about cron being the 'height of computing':
Easy to take cron for granted these days, but I have to say I agree.
As for unix pipes, I once explained how one of my shell scripts worked to a longtime Windows programmer and he literally said, "Holy shit!" when the pipes concept clicked.
Linux was pretty incredible too: I realized that with open source, the only thing limiting me was my own ability to hack it, which is a really great feeling.
"Holy shit, I can build the same stuff that I used to build, except it will take me less time than PHP and be more stable, clean, and maintainable than Java. How the hell did I live without has_many :through before???"
* Google Sketchup (This was only last week --> It's so simple!)
* VM Snapshots
* ITunes library/playlist structure (Don't laugh... The unified library showing every song was a revelation after mucking around with winamp playlists and folders.. Also - I remember winamp really sucking on the mac at the time)
* HTML - "You mean I can publish stuff on the Internet and people can read it from across the world?" (I was about 11 at the time ('95))
And yes, I'm referring more to the overall feeling... It was one of those things, when I first saw it I couldn't believe it was true. I thought, "if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't true". So I didn't try it for about 8 months. When I did finally try Rails, it turned out I was wrong. It was true, and it is on a different level than what I was used to before (Java and PHP mostly).
Quite the shock.
- Atari - At a friends house! Stunning.
- Commodore 64 - LOAD "*",8,1
- 600 baud modem - CONNECT 2400 - BBSes and text based games!
- email / fidonet - A huge change to the BBS scene.
- telnet - Users could connect anywhere without long distance.
- Doom ][ - IPX online play or modem-modem 2 person play.
- Hubble Space Telescope - After it was fixed!
- Lisp & Scheme - Atleast my understanding of it was huge.
- Godel's incompleteness theorems - Understand and you'll never look at math the same way.
- Wii - Finally a successful iteration of this user interface great idea.
A buck to anybody who can remember what the parameters meant
* -> last program you ran
8 -> the floppy disk. I vaguely remember using different devices with different numbers.
1 -> it's compiled - not BASIC.
After a quick Wikipedia stint I found a better definition:
In the following example, where '
' designates the last program loaded, or the first program on the disk, '8' is the disk drive device number, and the '1' signifies that the file is to be loaded not to the standard memory address, but to the address where its program header tells it to go—the address it was saved from. This usually signifies a machine language program, as opposed to a BASIC program.
The dollar is yours, email if you want it.
Add a keyboard and stop the crashes, and it's perfect. ;-)
TiVO is up there for me too.
Sub7 was definitely a holy shit moment for me in the late 90's.
"You mean I can bet on sporting events, and the people providing the infrastructure are don't mind me winning (because they get paid commission anyway)? And the commission is on my net winnings per market, so the transaction costs don't depend on how many bets I make? And I can name my own bid and offer prices, like on a stock exchange? And I can automatically place hundreds of bets per hour through a well-defined (and free) API? And all my winnings are tax free (under UK tax law)? Cool.
Yahoo Music subscription service, back when it 1) existed and 2) ran on an OS I had (W2k).
xmavisx on wretch.cc
The first time I used Opera's tabs in 2000 wasn't "holy shit" as much as a "well, that makes perfect sense" moment which are even rarer.
* Looking at 200,000 x 200,000 pixel images of cortex, where each pixel samples 3.75 nm square (you see the wires and the solder)
* Sparsely expressing green fluorescent protein in pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus in a compound microscope
* Drosophila larva wriggling around under epifluorescent illumination, expressing green fluorescent protein in all its neurons
* Dictyostelium aggregation
* When, teaching myself how to program in Pascal on my Dad's Fat Mac, I wrote a program that drew circles of increasing radius centered on the mouse
* Thinking about how all we are is particles
* Looking at redwood trees for the first time, in person
HD TV - the first time you get to fully see actors with all their flaws gave me one of those moments, and you realise they don't look as good as they used too.
Adsense/Adwords - basically just a license for Google to print money really...
Virgin Galactic - wow.
Water on Mars - Double wow.
EDIT - hmm, article is from 2002...
I knew someone during the bubble who lived in Manhattan, right when Kozmo and Urbanfetch arrived. He found gift certificate hacks in both --- you could order things on Mastercard web certificates (0-balance valid Mastercard numbers) and get issued a $5 transferable gift certificate before the original purchase cleared. He had scripts that would literally generate money for their sites. The Kozmo and Urbanfetch delivery guys would meet every day in the hallway in his apartment, and apparently became friends.
Anyhow, one of the things he did with them was have a limitless supply of Godiva chocolates delivered for him and his girlfriend.
Eventually, the hack stopped working.
Shortly afterwards, his girlfriend bought a package of Hershey's Kisses.
"Bleh! Inedible!" He'd always liked them before, but had trained himself to hate them by eating nothing but high-end stuff.
Chocolate, sound quality, picture quality --- and absolutely, positively, cars --- all suffer from the Godiva "Paradox". It's better to satisfice than optimize.
This is also one of the key observations in The Innovator's Dilemma. Hulu is a bigger disruptor than HDTV is. I'll happily accept crappy picture quality if I can watch anything I want, whenever I want.
He did not train himself to hate the low-quality product, he came to understand the difference between a high-quality product and a low-quality product. The same effect could have been discovered by tasting the two side-by-side. In a similar fashion, if you were to put an HDTV and a standard TV side by side in your living room for a while you would find yourself not watching the standard TV after a while.
Exposure to a superior product does that to you...
I used to be quite happy programming in C. Now, I find I am quite spoiled by the absolute dynamic power, full closures, magical seeming debugger, and everything is an Object environment I have in Smalltalk. I get paid more, but I also "pay" a premium in terms of fewer choices in places of employment.
Maybe there is some wisdom in choosing just not to know. But there is something in me that just wants to know no matter what. Even if I would've been happier otherwise.
Not: iPod, WWW, VMWare.
I got a BASIC programming book from the library when I was 11... despite not knowingly having anything to program BASIC in. Poking around in my MSDOS system files I saw this mysterious program "qbasic". Holy crap! It was there all along and I didn't know about it...
The Commodore 64
Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing. Particularly the part where I learned what an RDBMS was.
* Kings Quest 4 install, 10 mb seemed insane at the time
* Google Guice, dependency injection rocks
* Writing my first program in TP7
* Win 3.0 DOS Box, multitasking is cool. Never had DESQview
Whatever happened with the startup you were working on?
* Satellite TV
* The WWW
* PASCAL -- just because it was the first programming lang I learned
* ICQ / Instant messaging
* Cell phones
* GPS Navigation / Google maps
* Yahoo! Pipes / mashups
* Ruby on Rails
Also when i learned that you can use paint to draw stuff(i was 8)
- Number Munchers
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Grandpa's Flight Simulator
Google (not suffering from cognitive dissonance)
Distributed Web Caching (Akamai)
Ruby on Rails
Sports on HDTV
It programs itself?! Holy Shit!
* iPod and iPhone
Srsly, tho-- She's the female star from Dr. Horrible and (more obscurely) The Guild (a YouTube-only series about a WoW guild). http://feliciaday.com/
The Fabric of Reality
The Myth of the Framework
The Skeptical Environmentalist
The Machinery of Freedom
Ideas are what impresses me most.