This is “Technologies Do Not Necessarily Fall Into the Abyss: They Become Embedded in New Technology”, section 1.11 from the book Creating Services and Products (v. 1.0).
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Additionally, per the publisher's request, their name has been removed in some passages. More information is available on this project's attribution page.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (14 MB) or just this chapter (939 KB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline).
In some ways, technological change is similar to evolutionary change. Some technologies are simply eclipsed by other technologies and fade or die away, such as in the case of the horse and buggy giving way to the Model T and analog TVs succumbing to digital TVs. Sometimes, technologies evolve through subtle differentiation such as the case with cell phones, GPS devices, and operating systems. There are instances where major mutations take place when two different technologies are combined such as in the case of the merging of GPS, cell phones, MP3 players, and Web 2.0 social networking.
In many instances, technology does not just die out or become obsolete, it just becomes part and parcel of a new technology. One of the early partitioning and time-sharing and operating systems, IBM’s VM370, was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The concepts developed for the VM370 operating systems are the foundation for many existing operating systems, including UNIX, Linux, and all of Microsoft’s products, as well as the current crop of the so-called virtual machine applications. The cloud-computing concept is actually an extension of the IBM’s VM370 architecture. Thin client computing, where a significant part of the processing is done on a central server, was touted as the next big technology in the early 1990s. It faded for a while and then has reemerged as an important concept with the emergence of cloud computing.