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2012 gets nostalgic: Animated GIFs and Tesla museums
2012 has been a strangely nostalgic time for many on the Web. Earlier this year, Oatmeal comic founder Matthew Inman set about raising money to create a museum to document the life of Nikola Tesla, the famous electricity engineer and inventor.
Within days, the funds came rolling in -- all to remember a man that many had never heard of, though had all used technologies that were powered by his insight and inventions.
And, to add a little more nostalgia to the mix, animated GIFs have made a comeback, thanks to sites like Reddit and Imgur spurring the use. Like it was 1996, these short, looping, low quality images have no sound, and there's no need to wait for the content to buffer, and you don't need a browser plug-in to see it.
The rise of the mini-tablets: Google, Amazon, Apple battle it out
Google and Amazon kicked off the movement into the 7-inch tablet space with their Nexus and Kindle Fire devices. Apple was a step behind. Apple was late to join the group as the iPad mini came along later than expected.
TheiPad mini rolled out in September, but sales have yet to match the domination of its older sibling, the iPad. Apple sold three million new iPads (with Retina display) and iPad mini tablets in the first sales weekend; the company did not break down the numbers further. However, Apple side-stepped the alleged 'death blow' to the wider mini-tablet industry by failing to compete on the sub-$200 price tag.
While many have flocked to the mini-tablet space, many are content with their full-size devices. Exactly how the mini-tablet -- devices that are between 5-inches and 8-inches in size -- has yet to be seen. We will likely see more use-case scenarios in 2013.
SOPA, PIPA defeated by netizen power; fight far from over
The Stop Online Piracy Act, the 'Internet killing' law that was making its way through Congress, had the power to block access to Web sites as powerful as Google, YouTube, Reddit, or any other site that cries wolf over copyright infringement claims. The Web took to a day of online protest action while hundreds of major Web sites -- including Google, Wikipedia, and Imgur -- blacked out their pages or went offline to 'simulate' what could happen if SOPA was passed by Congress.
Similarly, the PROTECT-IP Act (or "PIPA") and CISPA were also shelved earlier this year after Web users from all over the world threatened days of action to protest the laws that would have had a potentially devastating effect on the way the Internet works and operates.
Later in the year, a United Nations group met to discuss regulating the Internet even further. Some countries even banded together in order to redefine the Internet as 'government-controlled." Eventually, the conference concluded without forming any definitive agreement on proposals, and Web users around the world breathed a collective sign of relief once more.