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2 results returned for "Tech History"

Tuesday, Nov 1st, 2016

Lauren Basil

8 Technology Trends to Look for in 2017

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning are composed of technologies and processes like deep learning and neural networks. Techniques are moving beyond rule-based algorithms to create systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously making smart machines appear "intelligent". As encouraging as AI and machine learning sounds, many people don't realize that as AI evolves, so does its criminal potential.

2. Intelligent Apps

Intelligent applications such as virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are making everyday tasks easier. VPNs and virtual customer assistants (which promise to enhance customer service and sales) should transform the nature of work and structure of the workplace.

3. Intelligent Things

Intelligent things, such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart appliances, permeate the environment, but we expect to see a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a collaborative intelligent things model. Intelligent things will leverage AI and ML to interact with humans and surroundings.Smartphones, smartwatches and smartglasses will partner with intelligent things and form a Smart Ecosystem.

4. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), have captured the imagination of gamers and other consumers, but they will increasingly have business-to-business implications. We are still in the beginning stages of VR and AR and we will evolve dramatically through 2021. We will see rooms and spaces become active with things, and their connection through the mesh will appear and work in conjunction with immersive virtual worlds.

5. Digital Twin

Within three to five years, hundreds of millions of things will be represented by digital twins. A digital twin is a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. Organizations will use digital twins to proactively repair and plan for equipment service, to plan manufacturing processes, to operate factories, to predict equipment failure or increase operational efficiency, and to perform enhanced product development.

6. Blockchain Technology

Current blockchain technology hype is around the financial services industry, but a growing number of industries have joined the party. According to the Economist, a blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records called blocks secured from tampering and revision. Each block is chained to the previous block, and the process is noted in a specially encrypted peer-to-peer network.

7. Conversational Systems

Currently the focus for conversational interfaces is focused on chatbots and microphone-enabled devices. Soon, they will move from chatbots to a broader digital mesh, which will move to an expanded range of endpoints that we will all interact with on a daily basis. These will work together to a growing extent. This will enhance ambient digital experience in the process.

8. Digital Technology Platforms

Digital technology platforms provide the basic building blocks for a digital business. There are five major focal points to enable digital capabilities and business models:

  • Information systems

  • Customer experience

  • Analytics and intelligence

  • IoT

  • Business ecosystems

Every organization will have some mix from across these five digital technology platforms. The platforms provide the basic building blocks for a digital business and are a critical enabler to become a digital business.

Tuesday, Jul 1st, 2014

Jesse Mauro

Death to Internet Explorer

If you have done any front-end development, even if you know someone that does, you've probably heard this before: Internet Explorer sucks. Once the most used browser after conquering the mighty Netscape in the mid 90's, IE has gradually fallen behind its competitors the past 15 years and has managed to piss off every web designer with continued support for its prehistoric browsers.

When I was 10 years old in the 90's, computers had started to become common household items. Dial-up, AOL, Netscape, peer-to-peer file sharing applications like: Napster, BearShare, KaZaA, and Limewire. Like many during that time I experienced the growth. I got my first laptop when I went to college. It was a Dell running Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 - what has become know to developers as generally the worst browser ever created. This was the browser that I started to develop websites on.

Internet Explorer 6 was released in August of 2001 to coincide with the release of Windows XP making it the default browser. At the time there wasn't much competition. Netscape (who had already lost the battle to IE) and Opera were the primary choices. Firefox was released in September of 2002 but didn't gain popularity for a year or two after its initial release. IE6 had been widely criticized due to its security issues and lack of support for (then) modern web standards. Meaning code that worked fine in other browsers, did not in IE. There were constant work-arounds and hacks needed for developing in IE.

Internet Explorer 7 - which was released in October of 2006 - made slight improvements but was still a major headache for front-end development. By the time it had been released, Firefox and Apple's Safari had developed significant market shares and the concept of cross-browser compliance was more relevant than ever. Developing websites to work across these browsers was an unbelievable hassle. Mostly due to IE6 & IE7. So much so that conditional comments (which were introduced in IE5) were being used to aid with the development of IE. Web browsers accepted code that read "if this is IE...do this". There were no conditional comments that targeted other browsers, for example: "if this is Firefox..." or "if this is Safari...". Simply "is this IE or not?". Quite often these conditional comments were being used to load an entirely different (CSS) style sheet to handle IE's behavioral issues.

*Note: conditional comments have been deprecated with the release of HTML5. With compliance to the release, IE9 was the last version to accept conditional comments. 10 and 11 will not recognize them.

I know what you're thinking: "Ok, we get it, it was a pain to develop back then. But 2001? 2006? That was so long ago". Correct, so why is IE still so hated? Even with versions 9-11 being essentially on par with modern web standards? It's IE's continued support for versions 6-8 and not forcing users to upgrade. There are websites counting down to the usage death of IE6 and IE7. Meaning today...2014...people are still using versions 6, 7 and 8.

As far as web development goes, I have found it best not to worry about IE8-and-lower users. Cross-browser compliance extends from IE9 and up only (IE9 was the first version to accept CSS3 standards). You can call it arrogance or inconsideration but to me someone using a 5+ year old browser to view the web is not someone I value as a consumer. If you want to join in on a modern day street race you can't show up in a car from the 20's. But still, it's hard to avoid these dinosaur browsers 100% of the time. Just recently a client of the Devshop came to us with continued work on an app whose audience primarily uses IE6....awful.

So death to Internet Explorer! With usage slowly but steadily decreasing each month since 2008, it's time to say good riddance. Once the browser of choice for over 50% of all computer users, IE (depending on which stat provider you choose) is now in the 10%-20% range and dropping. I don't know about you, but I'm counting down the days until we live in an IE-free (virtual) world.

UPDATE: It's Dead