Harry Potter and Google's URL-killing Facebook Worm of Doom

By wedging together some of the most popular keywords over the last calendar year, created out of the depths of the archives is the iGeneration Year in Review for 2010.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

I know; it's cruel to lure you in with such an attention grabbing headline. But it does represent a Wordle-like representation of the most popular posts this year that you have read, helped share and contributed to.

Last year, quite possibly the most attention grabbing headline should have been "Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Book of Soduku", but it wasn't. Instead, after collating together the top posts of this year, I present you with yet another obligatory look over the past twelve months.


My job here is to cover the ground of the Generation Y, the younger generation of IT and technology users. Along the way I deviate on occasion and cover seemingly unrelated to the usual beat, But as demographics go, there's pretty much nothing that doesn't come under the iGeneration umbrella. We're the next big thing, after all.

So take a second and look at what you have contributed to the technology world. Because without you, as readers, real-world experts and our accountability, this site let alone these crazy student ramblings would just not exist.

The least likely, but still the most popular post this year »

Facebook infested with new worm; More proof site is insecure?


Believe it or not, this most recent piece was the most popular post of the year. The reason that it was picked up incredibly quickly on Facebook and received over 5,000 'likes' across the social network, proving that social media is an effective platform for sharing blog posts and other media.

Nevertheless, this was an important, up-to-the-minute post which helped out a great deal of people who were suffering the consequences of this application worm. It seems since the post, the problem has escalated and the social network is in nearly one-fifth of all posts.

Ditching Windows for Ubuntu 10.04 »

What would persuade you to ditch Windows for Ubuntu 10.04?


This one was controversial. My Windows PC had become clunky and I took it upon myself to try something different for once. I installed Ubuntu 10.04; the release before the more up-to-date 'Maverick Meerkat' 10.10.

But I didn't stop there. I continued for quite some time running the operating system because it offered a great deal of useful student-related and academic software which I would normally use. Plus, using WINE allowed me to run basic Windows software like Office 2007 to continue work without needing to switch machines.

It does offer a great deal of software and features which could seriously rival the major competitors including Mac OS X and Windows. On the whole, it's a free solution to an on-going licensing problem.

Vista virus cripples university network »

Virus attack hits Vista machines, cripples university network


This little bit of breaking news caused quite a stir. A virus hit the University of Exeter's computer network, only affecting Vista machines because a security patch was not installed. It took days to recover from and many students were struggling to cope in the meantime.

Only weeks after installing the new operating system, as many other universities did too due to a upgrade license being issued to update the ageing Windows XP operating system, this crippled an entire network of tens of thousands of students.

Thankfully one internal member of staff put their own job on the line to send in the news as it was happening, otherwise we may never have heard about it.

Facebook doesn't erase user-deleted content »

Facebook does not erase user-deleted content


Another hit for the iGeneration, the discovery that Facebook does not erase server-side content that users have uploaded, even after it tells the user that it has. Annoyingly, partly because this was a massively popular post, Facebook got in there pretty sharpish and deleted the content directly. It lasted for long enough to prove a point, though.

The Tango MP4 video is still downloadable after all this time, even after I deleted it. So not all was lost.

It is so important for users to remember that once you upload something onto Facebook, and most other sites for that matter, it is very difficult - almost impossible, to have that content removed again. In most cases the terms and conditions mean that your intellectual property and copyright rights are handed over to them, allowing them to use your photos for their advertising.

Students: Don't get an iPad. Please »

Students: Don't get an iPad. Please.


I know this annoyed a great number of you but I am still, even to this day, adamant that the iPad is not designed nor should be used in an educational setting. If you are after a tablet, then think twice.

My argument is simple enough. The iPad is as much of a revolutionary device is as the square wheel was when Archimedes slightly unbalanced brother discovered it when playing around with his alphabetty spaghetti. If that doesn't make sense, then the iPad certainly won't.

Steve Jobs says that the netbook 'isn't good at anything'. It is, actually. It acts as a replacement to the iPad for those who do not want to use touch technology, and are happier using a scaled down laptop with a QWERTY-keyboard. Netbooks are cheaper, more durable, and the batteries last far longer than most laptops anyway.

Office 2010 'academic edition' Microsoft listens »

About time! Office 2010 'academic edition'; Microsoft actually listens


Surprisingly, this one was massively popular. During the time that Office 2010 was highly anticipated and very little detail had been announced (besides the new logo and user interface by yours truly), I discovered that a dedicated academic edition of the upcoming Office suite was to be released.

For once it gave me something nice to say about Microsoft, especially considering their long track record of not particularly listening to the wants and needs of their customers for upcoming product releases.

Nevertheless, more focus was given to student email by adding Outlook 2010 in with this edition of Office, something I had personally campaigned for. Academics and students can still buy this at a discounted rate, so that's one thing off the Christmas list already.

Google kills 'http' URLs »

Google kills 'http' URLs; about time to follow suit?


At first this felt like a massive deal, but after using the updated version of Chrome for quite some time now, it has barely made a difference. Websites encrypted by a secure socket still displays the https:// symbol as you would expect, but in the end the readers were right. It had very little impact.

If you were directly typing in an address, which I occasionally do when reaching the behind-the-scenes access here, you must type the full https:// otherwise it will presume you are using non-secured HTTP and throw up an error. But how often do you really do that?

Firefox and Internet Explorer still use the full extension, even though the World Wide Web creator said it was on the most part useless and meant nothing.

Windows XP: Kill it, bin it, upgrade it »

Windows XP: Kill it, bin it, upgrade it


The death of Windows XP has been a contensious issue for many this past year, with Windows 7 proving to most that it is a worthy successor to the ageing operating system; with Vista still sitting on the naughty step.

But with nearly 400 comments, it was clear that many were still for the operating system, a relic of the past they were happy to hold onto. Many others advocated the use of open-source alternatives like Ubuntu, a worthy product for sure, and it is free which may grab the attention of the younger readers.

On the other hand, it remains debatable whether XP should even still be around, with many application developers still supporting it as a platform but with concerns over its lax security compared to its successors... well, not all of its successors.

Teenager jailed for not disclosing password »

UK teenager jailed for not disclosing password


Regardless of what you or someone is accused of, is it still your right not to disclose your password to a computer which might incriminate you? The law of the land in England said so, with one teenager sent to prison for 16 weeks for not disclosing the key which decrypts his computer.

Under UK law this is a felony and punishable by imprisonment, and 'the right not to incriminate oneself' is not a defence, unfortunately.

Anthropologically and sociologically speaking, it was interesting for me to see the responses, as it is like seeing two cultures with various disparities and oddities to one another trying to interpret the other. Similarly in how Western democracies trying to understand and empathise with the laws and the religious rule of many Gulf and Middle Eastern countries, for example, interesting to me at least.

Living on open-source Ubuntu for 48 hours »

Ubuntu: A nice holiday, but glad to be home


Another pro-Ubuntu story to keep the open-source fans happy. I ventured into a world of Ubuntu only, with only software I could download and install which ran on the Debian/Linux platform for two full days. It wasn't as much of a challenge as I first thought, in hindsight, but I was glad to be back to my normal Windows comfort zone.

What I did determine here though is with no experience of an entirely alien operating system, to an already accustomed user of a particular theme, dimension and handling, can learn the ropes very quickly if they are determined enough to do so. The problem is many give up when they see something they don't understand.

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