It's 2014 and the present is not my grandfather's future. There's no race to colonize the moon and we are most assuredly not zipping around in jetpacks and flying cars. Most predictions fail, but some ghosts of future past are alive and well.
20 years ago I had my first run in with a web browser. I was browsing the NASA website at an Internet conference and and it was a revelation! The BBS community I had grown up in was dead in the water. This would change everything. A couple of years later, the developer of Mosaic, Marc Anderseen, now heading Netscape made a prescient prediction:
In the future - the browser will be the operating system.
Unsurprisingly, this mobilized Microsoft to crush Netscape in what would become known by some as the browser wars, and the start of the end for Microsoft's reign of terror by others.
Netscape didn't stick around long enough to see Anderseen's prediction come to pass, but some technology trends are seemingly inexorable, or perhaps self fulfilling? 20 years after trying my first browser, I tried my first computer in which Anderseen's "the browser will be the operating system" vision has been fully realized. By Google, who supplanted Microsoft as the world's leading tech empire, in the form of a refurbished (never used) Acer C720 Chromebook which I picked up for a ridiculously low $180.
To my surprise... it's pretty good, and apparently I'm not the only one that thinks so because these things are flying off the shelves. The model I picked up is currently the most popular netbook on Amazon and is a steal even at the original price of $220.