They were going to CHANGE EVERYTHING. Whoops. presenting five biggest technology disappointments of the past year. No, not Vista and the Kindle — you didn't expect anything there.
5. Apple TV
Cable TV was going to be dead by Christmas. Instead, Forrester Research reversed its bullish forecast, placing Apple TV behind Jam Packs for GarageBand.
Valleywag editor Owen "Wrongway" Thomas repeatedly insisted all year that there was no Googlephone. He was almost right: Google's only built a phone software platform, one which launched with no killer apps or interface innovations. Don't drop your iPhone just yet.
3. Facebook ads
"Once every hundred years, media changes," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declared moments before unveiling an overhyped ad system for broadcasting your purchases to your friends' Facebook pages. Even if Zuckerberg proves bizarrely right about media, he picked the wrong day. A hundred years from now, the history books — or whatever replaces them —will talk about YouTube instead.
2. DRM-free music
Cory Doctorow is finally happy, but face it: DRM-restricted music and video files weren't the repression of personal freedom that evangelists like Doctorow made them out to be. They're merely irritating when they don't play. Copyright crusaders are like medical marijuana advocates: You can't argue with them in theory, but in practice you know what they really want is the right to party hearty — or in this case, to download music not just free of DRM, but free of charge.
1. Tesla Roadster
The all-electric sports car really would change the mass public's attitude toward electrics. If only it would hit the road. The company missed its promised ship dates, and genius founder Martin Eberhard has been ousted. To be clear, Tesla's basic electric tech works just fine. Gossip says the motor is so strong that it breaks its gearbox. The company has acknowledged that its custom-made two-speed transmissions have proved a problem.
Special Achievement Award: Pownce
Never confuse celebrity with software. Videogenic Digg founder Kevin Rose announced a new company that would do something radically different. Lead developer Leah Culver topped an online beauty contest, despite posting dubious integer-rounding code to her blog. But to date, I still don't even know what Pownce is — NO DON'T TELL ME LA LA LA LA NOT LISTENING! Uncov writer Ted Dziuba explains it for me. As for Pownce's cyberlebrity status, Ted adds, "their daily traffic is now less than 2girsl1cup."