Our Sci-Fi Future, Silly or Terrifying?
The future is upon us and modern technological developments are now strikingly similar to the science fiction of the past. While we aren’t living in domed cities with flying cars, we’ve got buildings that reach for the heavens, drones delivering our packages, and self-driving cars are just over the horizon. The media often likes to compare new advancements in technology to the works of like The Jetsons, Star Trek, and some 1980’s and 1990’s Cyberpunk, because in many cases the new technology is a fairly easy comparison.
Flying cars, flat panel TVs, and video phones often are compared to The Jetsons, yet all of these innovations were envisioned decades before the TV show hit the airwaves.
In 1933, H.G. Wells speculated we might have small personal aircraft in his work “The Shape of Things to Come” – and we’re not much closer to having them now than we were then. Flat panel TVs were already in development in the early 1960s (around the same time the show was on the air) but were envisioned much earlier. The concept of video telephony initially became popular in the late 1870’s and Nazi Germany developed a working system in the 1930’s.
Star Trek is another show that’s dragged out for constant comparisons, this time whenever anything vaguely resembles its holographic or replicator technology.
Where a modern 3D printer is “replicating” the shape of an item, A Star Trek replicator was recreating an item on a molecular level. Try eating a 3D printed apple! While German scientists have created a system of scanning an object and recreating it elsewhere, they’re not really “beaming it” anywhere, but are basically combing a fax machine with a 3D printer.
Cyberpunk tales are typically set in worlds where corporations control innovation, launch satellites to connect the world to spread information, and maintain private armies. That vision is much closer to our reality. There are now giant corporations that literally control how we access the Internet. We already have private citizens like Elon Musk who is a billionaire with a private space program, who also is developing new ways to harness solar power.
The point is, that perhaps it is too easy to see today’s world as our old entertainment and ignore the fact that much of what The Jetsons “predicted” was completely wrong. We (sadly) don’t ever expect to see a flying car that can fold up into a briefcase. Likewise, teleportation and warp speed likely will remain just part of the Star Trek mythos.
Perhaps when it comes to the darker side of science fiction, we should be cautious and alert about where we may be headed, and should regard it as a portent of what to avoid – not a future we should embrace.
Website Design History of 20 Years (1998 – 2018)
My name is Andrew Jordan and I have been a full time self employed website designer and developer for over 20 years. As a pioneer on website design in the UK, I though it would be a nice idea to put a brief history of the website design industry together as an educational post for those who maybe interested in the way were and to show how things have changed.
The early days of website design were very different from today’s one click installs and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) installations and systems. There was nothing simple, very little guidance and just getting your files uploaded via FTP using a dial up modem was challenging enough itself.
In 1998 only 17.5% of the UK had access to the internet, most of the general public had never heard of the World Wide Web. So there was not a lot of companies seeking a website or willing to invest. The concept of buying something online had not arrived.
A lot of the early websites were built in Frames. This seem to offer a simple solution when using software like Microsoft’s FrontPage, which at the time was very popular. The frames page layout concept offered easy page layout with a holding page and the section pages being embedded into it. However this caused issues with search engine optimisation, because the content pages could be indexed without the frame holding index page. So a footer would be loaded without the rest of the site. A simple bit of code did correct this issue, but the index was then the only page that could be indexed and had no content other than the code for the framed pages.
With the then limited use of HTML, the birth of Flash animated websites soon became popular, where the entire site was in flash. The original idea of using flash was to gain moment and high end graphics and unrestricted layout that you could not gain from using the then clunky HTML. However a flash website may look great with an attractive intro and a nice moment on the menu, the massive disadvantage was that there was no page content for search engine optimisation. There would only be one page (index) and one graphic file inserted. So a beautiful website that would cost a lot of money due the the labour intensive work involved with the flash creation, however no one will ever see it. With the birth of smart phones round the corner, Apple and Adobe dropped flash because of file sizes and security issues.
Macromedia / Adobe Dreamweaver
In 2005 using adobe Dreamweaver seemed to be the benchmark of website design and development. It was full of useful tools like code cleaners, a link checker and offered easy management of content like library items and files. You could also run the software on 2 screens to make access to tool menus and previewing changes easier. I still using Dreamweaver today for various bits of coding when needed and run our own Magpie Image intranet with it.
WordPress & Database Driven Sites
With WordPress becoming the number one system in 2010 it was easy to see why with its built in Mobile Responsive CSS, general coding and HTML became a thing of the past. A lot of hosting packages offer WordPress, Joomla & Magenta to name a few, as a one click install, which includes the SQL server database part as well. In the modern WordPress system there is very little to do with a lot of the themes including great layouts and home page functions. The latest plugins also bring massive features to the site visitors and are no more than a single click install with a few tick box selection and options.
It will be interested to see where the industry goes next. I think most changes will now depend on advancements in technologies, media and trends.
I hope you found that was interesting / Andrew Jordan
Google News – websites not mobile-friendly will be dropped down the search rankings
Google will be making major changes to its mobile search algorithm tomorrow the 21 April 2015.
The change is expected to cause massive ripples across the web.
Website that are not mobile friendly (known as mobile responsive) will be dropped down the search rankings and this will dramatically reduce the number of visitors to the site.
You can check whether your website is classed as mobile-friendly by visiting the Google Developers “Mobile-Friendly Test” page HERE >>
If you need help making your website mobile friendly, please click here to contact us