Best Tech Products Numbers 31 to 35
31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
Gaming had been wallowing in a two-year depression when its savior finally arrived. The NES was a powerful gray box that introduced millions to the world of Super Mario Bros., the console's most visible and lasting hit. With the NES, Nintendo began a years-long reign over home gaming, thanks largely to its near-perfect ports of various arcade classics, like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong. The NES's legacy is still apparent today in the success of Nintendo's Wii console, with characters like Mario and The Legend of Zelda's Link still holding court, 22 years later.
You can relive those days of yore, probably for less than $20, which is about what the original NES sells for these days on eBay.
32. Eudora (1988)
Few freeware programs have had as profound an effect on the development of technology as Steve Dorner's Eudora. Originally developed as part of a class programming project, Eudora was the first nonmainframe e-mail client used by many a consumer, including (based on a straw poll) a good chunk of the PCW staff. The app is also notable for offering both free ad-supported versions and paid pro versions, which nixed the promos. Purchased by Qualcomm in 1991, the program is still in development (version 7.1 is current and available in PC World's Downloads) and is actively supported for a variety of platforms. Future versions of the program will use the open-source Thunderbird as a development core.
33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
Home videos were huge for years before the the Handycam DCR-VX1000 came along, but this was the product that finally brought the camcorder kicking and screaming, into the digital era. Thanks to its use of MiniDV digital tapes, which made editing video on a PC significantly easier, the sketchy quality of VHS and Hi-8 soon became a thing of the past. For $4000, you got only a 410-kilopixel image, but things improved over time, as Sony finally hit 1 megapixel in 1999 and high-definition quality by 2004. Mini-DV is now being phased out in favor of better technologies, but Sony still offers new camcorders with the technology.
34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
Apple wasn't the first company to introduce Wi-Fi, but in 1999 its flying saucer Base Station became a visible (and stylish) emblem for the joys of wireless connectivity. Apple was a forerunner when it came to incorporating 802.11b into laptops, and it championed the technology before other vendors did. Nowadays, Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station is a direct descendant of the earlier technology. But even though the company is a relatively minor player in networking hardware, the original Base Station had a powerful influence in the early days of Wi-Fi and helped kick-start the migration to the wireless world as we know it today.
øderbund The Print Shop (1984)
Once upon a time, the only way to set up for a party was to print out an enormous banner on tractor-fed paper, using all of the ink in your dot matrix printer. From clip-art-festooned fliers to cheese-ball homemade greeting cards, The Print Shop offered a wealth of ways for bored Apple II users to prove that computers could do anything a crayon could, and more. In a nutshell, it was the world's first useless killer app. Believe it or not, Print Shop is still around--the PC version is now on release number 22.