Sort of Winner: Facebook
It has its detractors, but Facebook is very useful for finding all those people you've lost contact with because of its huge user base. Just remember it's a public forum and don't put stuff up there you wouldn't want people to see.
Where would we be without Twitter? I'll tell you where we'd be - in the pub talking to real people face to face over a beer. Anyone who honestly believes that Twitter is a force for good should bring their face to the pub. I'll bring my fist.
Voice over IP has been around forever - well since the mid 1990s, anyway. But the 21st century saw Skype come into its own. It costs cents to make international phone calls using Skype Out, you can easily teleconference using it, and really it's not bad at all. Its existence also had the effect of stopping the old dinosaurs of telecomms from charging over the odds for an indifferent service.
Another online phenomenon Amazon pushed all before it. By offering books and everything over the internet it's made stuff really quite affordable. The downside is that it's had a detrimental effect on traditional bookshops - just a few weeks ago Borders UK went into administration, blaming Amazon for undercutting it. The bookstores just can't buy the books they try and sell in bricks and mortar establishments at the price Amazon sells them.
Another internet phenomenon that really made waves during the first decade of the 21st century, YouTube has opened the doors to heaven and to hell. People can post their own videos and sometimes they're really really good - so much so that old fashioned film companies slaver over some of the offerings. It's also opened the doors of hell to viral marketing - and opened the doors of hell for the old style music companies too.
Winner: AMD Opteron
AMD really set the cat among the pigeons when it introduced the Opteron server chip, putting Intel firmly on the back foot. AMD had a window of opportunity of about 18 months to capitalize on the improvements in its CPU technology, but failed to do so. That gave Intel time to retrench and to cut a toe or two off the executives who had lauded the Pentium 4 as the chip-to-end-all-chips.
Loser: Pentium 4
While AMD gazed into its navel, Intel's Israeli design team put it on the back foot by bringing out an extraordinary family of mobile chips from the Pentium III to the Pentium M, that demonstrated one thing quite clearly. The Pentium 4 was a dog. Eventually Intel realized that and took it out and shot it in the back of the head. Twice.
Winner: Windows 7
It is pretty much guaranteed that anything with the number 7 in its title is going to be awesome. The Magnificent 7, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Se7en, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers.... oh, how we could go on for ever. Well, Windows 7 should be, praise to Xenu, the last Windows OS we ever have to use.
It has made us hate our time with Vista just that little bit less, and it may actually work for us for a few more years until we are implanted with super cool robot chips that will do all of our thinking for us.
Winner: Steve Jobs
The dude was unceremoniously pushed out of his own company by a former Pepsi marketing exec, and who remembers him anyhoos. Then, when just about everyone but a handful of Adobe lovin', hippies had given up on the Mac platform, back comes Darth Jobsius, and before you can say, What a lot of pretty colors, he has reinvented the desktop.
But, Emperor Jobsian isn't a fool. He has learned from his mistakes, and he realizes that making computers is yesterday's news so, he does what everyone in the computer world was desperately planning to do, he goes mobile, but he actually bets the farm on his plans. First came the music pods and then, the Second Coming, the iPhone. Is he a benign dictator or a meglomaniac? Who cares. Stevie can do whatever he wants, and he is untouchable because, no other tech visionary out there has matched him in terms of productivity or results. Jobs changed the way people listen to music, and use a phone. That's just this decade.
?Loser: You've Got Mail
While many people may think that the most egregious thing that AOL ever gave us was a horrendous Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks schmaltz fest, the really big turkey was the AOL and Time-Warner merger. Not only was it the beginning of the end for the dot com bubble, but it also sent the great Ted Turner into bison burgers, a position from which he never recovered.
Loser: The Music Industry
They have continued to give us crap like Taylor Swift, every American Idol contestant, ever, and boy bands.
They over produce, over hype, and over charge for everything.
Then, little whiny executives go around trying to sue healthy young 'uns in their dorm rooms for doing what comes naturally, sharing and mnacking the system, and still, they keep giving us crap like the Black Eyed Peas, Ray Jay, and a parade of senior citizen revivals (you know who you are you geezer bands of the sixties).
They can't make money. They blame it on the Internets. They blame it on piracy. They blame it on iTunes. They blame it on everyone. Yet, they still keep producing crap. The only redeeming feature of the music business today? Young female singers and their videos: training courtesy of a stripper, paid escort, porn star, or all of the above. Soft porn is now officially an entry point for the pop charts. And they still can't make money!
Part Two coming RSN. Trust us. We're journalists.