2012: ZDNet's definitive guide to the year in tech

2012: ZDNet's definitive guide to the year in tech

Summary: A look back at the hot topics, major discoveries, and technological breakthroughs of 2012: from privacy to surveillance, major product launches, successes and catastrophes.

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  • Windows 8 launched: Mixed reaction, first quarter will reveal all

    Microsoft launched Windows 8 -- at long last -- in October. So far, the figures suggest that consumers and businesses are responding well to the new Surface tablets, but overall sales figures will take time to determine and decipher. 

    Analysts remain tepid on the software's impact and exactly how businesses and enterprises will embrace the brand new user interface, without the Start menu and (most of the time) the traditional desktop -- or not. That said, Microsoft's latest operating system has been reportedly off to a good start -- selling more than 40 million licenses in the first few weeks of the software's launch, according to Microsoft.

    However, some companies are yet to bite down on Windows 8 for fear that they would be wasting their time. In some cases, like Google, there just aren't many people using the software to justify building apps for the platform.

    PC sales have this year fallen dramatically as a result of not only a wider industry slowdown, but also as a result of the release of Windows 8. Many consumers and businesses avoid upgrading until the new software was out on the market. Microsoft's hope is that it can revive the PC market; otherwise the company could end up falling down from a domino-like effect. Watch this space for 2013. 

  • Rise in OS X-targeted malware as Flashback infects 600,000 Macs

    Windows malware has, at least in recent years, been on the rise. But, due to the popularity of the rival Apple Mac platform and a steady albeit modest increase in desktop market share, malware writers and hackers are increasingly turning away from Windows to attack the Mac platform.

    The Flashback Trojan was the latest malware to hit Apple Mac machines running OS X. It ultimately led to Apple removing the "virus-free" slogan from its Web site and marketing strategy after the highly publicized malware attack. More than 600,000 Macs were infected by unknowingly installing the Adobe Flash-lookalike software. Apple acted slowly to the mass infection, but eventually dished out an update that would patch Mac machines.

  • NASA lands Curiosity on Mars; alien life yet to appear

    For years, we have wanted to see what was going on, on planet Mars. We finally -- after years of failed attempts to land a craft on the red planet -- landed the Curiosity land rover on the dusty world. The craft 'tweeted' from the planet's surface with an unfortunate innuendo, but soon got to work.

    In just a matter of days, the remote-controlled robot was analyzing soil samples to determine whether or not there was in fact life on Mars (cue: Bowie). Mystery still surrounds what the Curiosity may (or may not) have found -- rumors began to swirl after NASA said it had a surprise in store, but then hedged and dumbed down any discovery "for the history books. "

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Topics: Presentations, 4G, United Kingdom, Security, Privacy, Microsoft, iPhone, Government, Google, Apple, Windows 8

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  • And here is one of the story that ZDNet missed

    Why did ZDNet miss it? Because it shows apple for the company that they really are.
    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/microsoft-offers-patches-to-webkit-to-aid-touch-compatibility/

    Here is the order of events:
    1. apple EMBRACES html.

    2. apple EXTENDS html with a proprietary extension called Touch Events.

    3. Mobile websites everywhere start using this extended proprietary API because 95% of all mobile web traffic is done with webkit browsers (is this beginning to sound familiar?).

    4. W3C drafts a standard based on Touch Events so that ALL browsers, even those that dare to not have a huge majority, can work with all mobile web sites (is this beginning to sound familiar?).

    5. apple EXTINGUISHES the html standard by forcing the W3C to abandon the standard after apple refuses to commit to offering royalty free access to apple patents involved in implementing the standard. apple doesn't want an html standard, they want a webkit "standard" defined by whatever apple feels like including in webkit and suing the authors of all competing browser engines who attempt to be compatible with the non standard proprietary apple extensions that web developers are using because apple has such a huge monopoly on the mobile web browser engine market. This FORCES every other browser to either implement webkit or die.

    6. Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Opera, jQuery, and a few other big players contribute to a new W3C standard called Pointer Events: "Microsoft, unlike Apple, is participating in W3C's standardization process and has made the intellectual property commitments that W3C demands"

    7. Microsoft implements Pointer Events in webkit and submits it.

    8. apple refuses to accept Microsoft's patch because: "Pointer Events spec had (unspecified) problems and that there was no point in supporting Pointer Events until real Web content used it." No point in supporting a standard until real web content used it? Huh. Back when every web developer was supporting MS "standards" apple certainly didn't have that attitude.

    9. apple is given every opportunity to join in the design process but they refuse: "Another Google developer invited Apple to join the Pointer Events Working Group to help improve the specification and address those unspecified problems, but thus far Apple appears to be unwilling to participate."

    Now, before you guys freak out and respond with "but MS did this" remember that this is the point. MS did this. They got in trouble for doing it. They got slammed for doing it. So slam apple now for their Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish tactic on web standards. We were promised that apple would be nicer. We were lied to.
    toddbottom3
    • Re: And here is one of the story that ZDNet missed

      Watch out, guys, Apple is the new badass over here...
      ldo17
  • What about Windows Phone 8?

    It is for me one of the most worthy hardware/software release of the year...
    lepoete73
    • Naw

      It's just you.
      NoAxToGrind
    • Re; What about Windows Phone 8?

      You have to be joking. This phone is a huge flop. The phone are going to have try harrder to catch Apple or Android.
      Ian Norris
  • Speaking of technological breakthroughs

    I nominate ZDNet for upgrading its comment systems to include an advanced feature set once only enjoyed by early USENET users.
    none none