The Practical Mac

The 2001 Top 10

- 2001.12.18

As I look back on the year 2001, I have compiled a list of the top ten computer-related occurrences that I am most thankful for:

10. Apple stock trading at over $20.

Finally - recognition for a job well done?

9. Apple seems to "get it"

All models of the Titanium PowerBook now come standard with the DVD/CD-RW combo drive, all Macs come with at least 128 MB of RAM, the iPod is the most talked-about consumer electronic device of the Christmas season, and Apple retail stores are a smashing success. If increasing market share is the goal, these are giant steps in the right direction.

8. The dot-com meltdown

Companies such as Priceline.com and Webvan were once worth more on paper than Sears or Walmart; now they are worth less than my 1998 Oldsmobile. With the air out of the balloon, maybe the tech world can return to reality. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones quietly sneaks above 10,000 once again.

7. DSL/Cable Modems

The year 2001 saw a boom in high-speed Internet access for the home. Now if the cable and phone companies can make it accessible to the other 70% of the country.... Bottom line: It's good stuff (if you can get it).

6. OS X apps by the droves

Major vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Macromedia announce OS X support. From periodic checks of the shareware sites, it appears that someone is working 24/7 porting Unix apps to OS X as fast as you can say, "recompile."

5. When Macs can fly!

Powered by the sun and controlled by Power Macs, the ultralightweight Helios aircraft shattered the world altitude record in August 2001 when the remotely-piloted vehicle climbed to more than 96,500 feet (29,421 m.) - three times higher than most commercial jets - in a test flight over Hawaii. A testimony to the reliability of the Mac. However, if I discover that the 737 I'm on is powered by Windows, I'm jumping, parachute or no.

4. Mac-friendly ISPs

AOL and EarthLink jump on the Mac bandwagon in a major way, with AOL even supporting connection sharing via AirPort. The small ISP I use even had instructions for setting up your service with OS X - while it was still in beta!

3. AMD helps dispel the "Megahertz Myth"

Athlon 1.33 GHz outperforms Pentium 4 2.0 GHz on virtually every benchmark test. In a related story, in the Windows-based market segment, AMD gained ground in the U.S. commercial sector, securing 40% of the small business PC market in the third quarter. Additionally, AMD processors accounted for more than half of all processors shipped to the Japanese home desktop PC market, as AMD captured 54 percent share, up from 24 percent one year ago. And in Western Europe, AMD grabbed 49 percent market share of processor shipments targeted for the home desktop PC market, an increase from 25 percent one year ago. With Intel finally under control, can Microsoft be next?

2. OS X

The future is now. The power of Unix advances Mac OS 10 years past Windows.

And the thing I was most thankful for in 2001 (drum roll, please):

1. That I never ever saw Steve Jobs costar in a commercial with a cow.

The Practical Mac will be taking the next two weeks off for the Christmas and New Year holidays. We wish everyone a joyous holiday season. We will return on Jan. 8, 2002, perhaps a few pounds heavier from holiday overindulgence, but with lots to write about nonetheless! LEM

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Steve Watkins is the Vice President for Information Technology for a mid-sized bank, an attorney, and an Army Reserve JAG on extended active duty. He has been a Mac user for about 12 years. He has owned some PCs along the way - but always came back to the Mac. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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