Top 20 Tech Underdogs

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. <http://www.pcworld.com/article/181676/top_20_tech_underdogs.html>

    Random factoid: PIF files were introduced by IBM’s TopView, and adopted by
    the other MS-DOS-based multitasking environments, including Microsoft
    Windows. These gave information about the quirks of an MS-DOS program so it
    would run properly under the multitasker.

    I remember mocking GEM for its “fall-down†menus. It copied the menu-bar-at-
    the-top-of-the-screen idea from the Mac, but changed the menu behaviour so
    they popped down the moment you moused over the menu bar, you didn’t have to
    click. This was to get around the Apple lawsuit.

    FireWire vs USB: one big factor here was Apple’s demand for patent royalties
    for every shipping FireWire port (initially an exorbitant USD1 per port,
    later discounted). Whereas it appears USB can be used royalty-free.

    Reverse Polish Notation: interesting that the original idea of Polish
    Notation should be reversed by ... someone from the southern hemisphere. :)

    WordPerfect’s “Reveal Codes†feature—no other word processor has it because
    no other word processor uses embedded formatting codes. WordPerfect was
    prone to some interesting misbehaviour. For example, a bolded section of
    text began with a “bold on†code and ended with a “bold off†code; but if
    you managed to lose that ending code (while trying to delete the surrounding
    text, for example), then suddenly the entire rest of your document became
    bold. That’s why you needed “Reveal Codesâ€, to debug odd problems like this.
    Other word processors didn’t suffer from this sort of thing.

    Amiga—its killer app was analog video production with the Video Toaster
    system. Unfortunately it came along just about the time video work was
    starting to move to digital, and it was never able to take part in the
    transition.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 30, 2009
    #1
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