Pivotal moments in computing, where a minor design change would have changed things for the better.
1. LF rather than CRLF in MSDOS text files (decades of “is this a text file or a binary file?”)
2. ‘-‘ rather than ‘/’ as standard MSDOS command option switch (so we can use ‘/’ in path names)
3. 256 byte paragraph size in 808x processor (instead of 16 bytes, 16MB address space for early OSs). [16K would have been LOTS better]
4. Built-in string / dynamic char data type in C (NOT limited to 255 characters like Pascal [barf])
5. Collection classes in the first release of C++
6. Standardize Unicode in 1975 or so. Early, anyway
7. LISP-like syntax for SQL (easily parsable). Non-broken fixed-size data types. Flexible variable-sized data. Hardly rocket science.
8. XML committee struck by lightning. “Huh. Maybe s-expressions will do the job after all.”
9. X.509 committee disappears mysteriously. “I guess we need something simple now.”
10. [late 70s] “You know, maybe SMTP needs some security, I think junk mail might be a problem someday. Let’s add some authentication.”