As any observant lawyer or police officer will tell you, an eyewitness can get a surprising number of details wrong, even if they're giving a statement soon after the incident in question. After digging forensically through 20 years of press releases, product launches, and newspaper headlines to find the narratives that are still important today, we are able to paint a picture that reinforces some notions but undermines others.

Perhaps the most interesting trend of all is the degree to which we have become invested in personal technology as a culture. Your mobile phone in particular has gone from a device for taking and making calls on the go to being a portal between you and a constantly evolving web of social interactions. And a place to look at funny pictures of cats. It's a platform of mass consumption, but that content comes increasingly from users themselves, upending the largely one-way conversation of TV, film, and radio.

What do you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.