Hello and welcome to Adi’s Year in Tech News. For those of you who are new, I have an honoured tradition here on Adi’s Tech Site where I do a wrap-up of all the year’s technology news stories. Of course, this year is no different. I have a lot to cover so let’s jump right in.
Whilst it’s not exactly news because of when it happened, there was something that Yahoo held a secret from us for 3 years until they released it. They revealed in December that a billion yahoo accounts were hacked. My take on this story was that basically using Yahoo email at this point is an unsafe option and that you should consider moving to another email provider.
As we are on the topic of security breaches, there was another breach where 270 million email accounts were stolen. This was a range of different accounts including Yahoo email, Gmail and Microsoft/Hotmail/Outlook.com email addresses.
In San Francisco, California, USA the people sometimes a local tram (known as the Muni) to get around town. However, the fare processing system was hacked into and infected with ransomware (a type of software which encrypts your data and asks you to pay a ransom to decrypt it). This basically meant the people of San Francisco were able to get free rides on the Muni
Of course, Samsung’s not had a good year in 2016. The Galaxy Note 7 was a good phone. I would probably say that it was one of the best of 2016. However, the one thing that tarnished that reputation was the controversy that happened shortly after the release. The battery inside the Galaxy Note 7 started to explode, causing phones to catch fire. This problem got so bad that this phone was banned from pretty much every single airline out there. Additionally, it got even worse in that Samsung had to recall every Galaxy Note 7. On a side note, their washing machines were also having problems.
Moving from Samsung, we now take a look at the world of Apple in 2016. Apple released the iPhone 7 and it caused quite a controversy because of the missing socket for a headphone. When they announced it Apple said they removed it because of courage in that they were showing that they had the courage to move on. To account for this they released the iPhone 7 with an adapter which allowed people to plug their normal headphones instead of the headphones that have Apple’s proprietary lightning port.
Additionally Apple released a new Macbook Pro laptop. One of the new additions to the MacBook Pro is the so-called touch bar. A touch screen that adds functionality to different apps. However, it’s up to the developer to integrate the touch bar into their app in order for the user to make use of it. With that being said there was an issue to do with the battery life of the laptop.
From Apple, we now turn our attention to Google. They’ve also been bringing out a few products including a new brand of smartphone known as the Pixel. It’s a Google branded smartphone complete with a 5 inch screen, up to 128GB of internal storage, a quad-core processor and a 12.3 Megapixel camera.
Additionally they introduced a new device to the world known as Google home. This is a small little voice controlled assistant which allows you to send video from your phone to a TV using Chromecast or ask it to give you information such as local weather or even control the lighting in your house.
Up next, let’s take a look at what Microsoft got up to in 2016. Some of you may recall that at the end of July 2016 you would no longer be able to upgrade to Windows 10(from Windows 7/8.1) for free. However, there was quite a big controversy due to the way in which Microsoft had set up the free upgrade. If you were running Windows 7 or 8.1 then you would have noticed a utility called “Get Windows 10″(AKA GWX). The intent with this was to make it easier to upgrade but where it got out of hand is that clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner of the screen was the same as saying “I agree to the scheduled time for my free upgrade”. Where it gets worse is that there was no easy way to opt-out of the free upgrade.
Gaming also saw quite a few things happening. Of course, Street Fighter V came out in February of this year. I reviewed it and ended up lowering my final score on it. A lot of features that the casual players wanted (like arcade mode and a cinematic story mode) were missing. Additionally it still takes me about 4 minutes to connect to someone to get into a match.
Also in gaming, we saw the re-birth of a favourite franchise in the fighting game community. I am of course talking about Marvel vs Capcom. This came in the form of the announcement of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. The folks at Capcom showed off a trailer at PlayStation experience(a conference dedicated to all things PlayStation) which showed the game being a 2-on-2 fighting game. The game will be released later in 2017.
However, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was released exclusively for PlayStation 4 in December with Xbox One and PC versions coming in March 2017. Early reports from many members of the fighting game community state that the game on PlayStation 4 is a basic port of the game with a poor online multiplayer experience.
Additionally Microsoft launched a new initiative called PlayAnywhere. Games that were released under this initiative would be available on both Xbox One and PCs running Windows 10. Furthermore, any premium/downloadable content purchased on Xbox One would be added to a gamer’s library on the PC version of that game. This would also mean that any progress in a game would transfer from Xbox One to PC.
Another gaming story that made the news was No Man’s Sky. It was an independently made game for PC that had a lot of promise. It had a lot of people backing it on a crowd funding site called kick starter. However, the advertising standards authority here in the UK found that Hello Games (the developers behind the game) had fallen foul of false advertising rules. On top of that the game had other problems at launch, as such many gamers had demanded refunds on their purchase of the game, so they had to pony up the cash.
Nokia were back in the news albeit for a reason that was kind of interesting to me at least. Nokia decided to bring out mobile phones that are like some of their older phones. They had a physical keypad and a smaller screen that you cannot touch.
Of course, 2016 saw the death of a technology known as VHS. A Japanese company called Funai Electric stopped producing video cassette recorders. Not only was the VHS a way to distribute movies and TV shows (amongst other things), but many people use to record shows being aired on TV (so that they could watch them later).
Moving away from the world of gaming to another part of technology that is somewhat intertwined with gaming and that is virtual reality(which has been experiencing a renaissance as of late). In February HTC showed its hand by announcing it’s HTC Vive headset. This also came with a pair of controllers for players to use.
Whilst it was announced in mid 2015, the folks at Oculus VR released the Oculus Rift VR headset. Whilst it came out a little later Oculus also released its own control system for the Oculus Rift known as the Oculus Touch.
Both of these two headsets would require a very powerful PC and a lot of space in order to use them.
For those of you who do not have a PC powerful enough to run one of these there was also some news from Google who decided to show their hand. They did this in the form of Daydream which is a virtual reality experience similar to Google Cardboard . Alongside the launch of daydream was a new headset from Google called Daydream view. Just like Google Cardboard you could put your phone in there and then experience VR content from apps such as YouTube, CNN and the Guardian (to name but a few).
On a much more personal note, I am pleased to announce that Adi’s Tech Site hit its 5th anniversary this year. Of course, I marked it in style with a giveaway where two of you won a £20 Steam voucher each.
Well that about wraps it up for this round up of 2016’s news stories. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. With that being said I know that many of you might be asking me this question: What do you have planned in store 2017? Well I am still on hiatus but I can tell you that I will do my best to cover the big tech news stories in 2017.
Whilst we are on the topic of things coming in 2017, I have a surprise planned for you all in 2017. It’s something that I am building and you will hear more about this in the first quarter of this year.
So this brings me to a question that I would like to put to you the reader: Are there any tech news stories that I missed in my roundup?
Additionally, what were your favourite news stories of 2016?
Either way let me know in the comments.
I know I have said this before but it bears repeating. I would not be anywhere without you, my readers. So I would like to thank you for your continued support. I guess all that remains for me to say is that I would like to wish you a happy new year.