It's 100 years since the RMS Titanic set off on its maiden voyage, passengers aboard safe in the knowledge that no puny lump of ice could match this water-borne behemoth.
The 100th anniversary of this watery tale of woe got us thinking about some equally disastrous technologies, each launched with a blaze of publicity only to sink without a trace.
There was, naturally, a long list to choose from – too long in fact to cram them all into one long list. Here instead we present some of our personal favourite technologies that arrived amid a blaze of publicity only to help redefine hubris for the internet age.
10. Smart Display
Long before Intel’s Wireless Display technology, Microsoft had a similar idea for letting users access content over Wi-Fi while roaming their home, rather than having to be seated at their computer.
The Smart Display, codenamed Mira, hinged around a tablet-style device that could act as a wireless terminal for a Windows XP computer, allowing users to access all their applications and data, but in a portable device you could carry into the kitchen or living room.
Sadly, Microsoft’s own licensing restrictions meant that no one else could use the PC while someone was connected via a Smart Display, and the devices themselves cost more than simply buying a laptop and having a second fully capable computer.
9. Microsoft Bob
If you ever found the Clippit animated assistant in Microsoft Office annoying, just imagine what an entire user interface built around such characters would be like.
This is what Microsoft was developing back in the days of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 as a friendlier alternative to the standard Windows desktop interface for novice users.
Rather than a desktop, Bob presented a graphical representation of the inside of a house, with objects in it such as the clock representing the built-in applications.
Although Microsoft’s intentions were laudable, in that it wanted to make computers easier to use for a non-tech-savvy audience, the project became a running joke among the IT media and was eventually dropped by the company.
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