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Top 20 Stories in Tech News for 2012

Top 20 Stories in Tech News for 2012

In the year 2012 we have seen a lot of great news in technology, from product releases to court battles, and everything in between. One exciting piece of news for 2012 was the creation of The High Tech Society, we have been bringing you all of the latest technical news, reviews, how to’s, and information for almost 6 months now, and we have all enjoyed doing it. We hope you have enjoyed our tech news daily in 2012 and will continue to enjoy it in 2013. For now though, we will go over a brief overview of the top 20 tech news stories for 2012.

1. Samsung Vs. Apple

who won apple lawsuit against samsung

Shortly after Samsung released the Galaxy tablet, Apple took them to court, suing for infringement on about 7 different patents.  Samsung retaliated by filing its own lawsuit, and the two technical giants ended up in a trial that lasted more than three weeks. A jury sided with Apple for the most part, awarding them $1.05 billion in damages, and a possible sales ban on many Samsung devices. Originally Apple was suing for $2.5 billion in damages. However, the fight is not over yet as the two companies are scheduled to go back to court in another case regarding patents in 2014.

2. Oracle Vs. Google

The trial between Oracle and Google actually began back in 2010, after Oracle claimed that Google had used its servers without reimbursement. The legal complaint also lists many copyrights that Oracle believes Google infringed upon. In June of 2012, a judge ordered that Google owed Oracle nothing, essentially ending the court battle. However, because Oracle had hinted that Google had been paying people to blog about the lawsuit, the Judge ordered that both parties disclose the names of any bloggers paid to blog about the case. Oracle produced two members, and Google has produced no one, instead they have simply claimed that they have a large network of connections.

3. Earth Gets Extreme

In 2012 our planet’s weather became so extreme that it set no records world wide. Record drought, heat waves, melting and floods lead to a costly and destabilizing environmental disasters. How is this tech news for 2012 you may ask? Well, according to scientists, most of these things we are now experiencing in our whacky weather are as a direct result of global warming and global warming, they say, is from our constantly growing technology that often results in the use of things that are not so great for our planet. You can read more about this in our upcoming article about how technology is affecting the earth. For now, some of the most extreme records seen included:

  • United States: With 4,420 daily records broken by July, the U.S. experienced the hottest temperatures ever to be recorded. This heat wave helped trigger droughts that affected 80% of the country, severe storms that cut power to over 4.2 million people and wild fires that burned over 9 million acres. Warmer ocean temps are also being blamed for rising sea levels which amplified one of the worst disasters to hit the U.S., the storm called Sandy.
  • Canada / United States: Due to a rise in acidification, partly due to carbon dioxide emissions, Pacific Northwest commercial oyster hatcheries have been reporting that more than 80% of their oyster larvae has been dying.
  • China: In just 3 months, May through July, torrential rains caused massive flooding and landslides destroying nearly 1 million acres of farmland in China. These conditions affected over 38 million people, of which 1.3 million had to be evacuated. Economic losses totalled $6.2 billion.
  • India: Due to a severe drought caused by the failure of India’s summer monsoons, the country experienced a water shortage like none seen before. With the loss of of water they also lost electricity due to not having enough water to power their hydroelectric power plants. This caused the largest blackout in history, which lasted over 2 days and left more than half of India’s 1.2 billion people without power.
  • Greenland: Within just a 4 day span of time, NASA satellite images showed that more than 90% of an ice sheet that covers about 80% of Greenland, had begun to melt. This rapid thawing is the most that has ever been seen since satellite tracking began in 1979.
  • Nigeria: The worst floods in over 40 years swept through 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states, leaving 1.4 million people displaced and claimed over 430 lives.
  • Arctic Ocean: The Arctic Ocean’s ice coverage has now shrank to a record low of just 1.32 million square miles, which is less than half of the area the was covered by sea ice just 3 decades ago.
  • Great Barrier Reef: Due to intense storms, coral bleaching (something associated with the warming ocean waters), and an extreme growth of coral eating starfish, the Great Barrier Reef system has lost more than half of its coral cover. This massive loss has happened in a period of just 27 years.
  • Australia: Meteorologists suggest that due to climate changes, an unusually intense La Nina caused massive flooding to occur when monsoons drenched eastern Australia in a 2 month time period (February and March). This affected about 70% of New South Wales (which includes Sydney), and is home to nearly 1/3rd of the nation’s 22 million residents.

4. Windows 8

In tech news for 2012, we saw the release of the new operating system, Windows 8. A brand new operating system that is claimed to be one of the three biggest initiatives Microsoft has ever attempted. Windows 8 is packed with new features such as the charms sidebar and tiled interface, and is made to work with touch screen computers. Microsoft claims that over 40 million copies of Windows 8 were sold in the first month, which is double the number for the Windows 7 operating system. According to Microsoft, however, one of the best features of Windows 8 is going unused. This feature is it’s touch screen capabilities. In order to take advantage of it though, you need a touch screen computer. 

5. Yahoo Security Breach

in July, Yahoo confirmed that over 450K passwords and usernames had been stolen in one of the worst security breaches in their history. Fortunately, the file that was stolen was an older file with mostly invalid information, although Yahoo urged customers to change their passwords to ensure security of their information. The data from the stolen information was available on a Ukraine website for almost 4 days, and even after the site was taken down, copies of the stolen passwords were being made available to anyone via torrents websites. According to a United States Internet Security firm, a hacking group called D33D were responsible for the theft, although the group has never claimed responsibility.

6. Google Profits up While Microsoft Takes its First Loss

The second quarterly reports from Google have shown that its net profit has jumped 11% compared to last year, and a whopping 35% since its purchase of Motorola Mobile. Microsoft wasn’t so lucky and reported its first loss since 1986. Microsoft reports show that is has experienced a $492 million loss for the second quarter, which is a huge drop compared to their $5.9 billion profits from a year ago. The loss is partially blamed on the 2007 purchase of the company, Aquantive. The company was purchased for $6.2 billion, but it has failed to perform well and cannot compete with Google.

 

7. Hotmail Gets A Makeover

2012 tech news also revealed some new news about Hotmail. Microsoft has stood by Hotmail for 15 years, however in August they brought in their new mailing server ‘Outlook’. Almost everybody recognizes the name, but this version is much more than a simple Pop3 mail server. Instead, it is a completely revamped version of Hotmail. Outlook is packed with many new features that go beyond simple organization. The most notable being a stripped down server. While many of the options available with Hotmail are gone, what is left is an e mail program geared specifically for simplicity and speed. If you would like your own Outlook e mail, you can sign up at Outlook.com.

8. Smartphone Usage Grows

Global smartphone usage, particularly the Google Android and the Apple iOS phones, has grown considerably over the past few years. In fact, smartphone adoption across the world has grown 10 times faster than computer adoption at its height in the 1980s, and the mobile platforms have gained new users twice as quickly as the internet itself during the 1990s. This growth has caused a necessary change in how many websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Mozilla look and feel, as they attempt to keep up with the increasing number of smartphone and tablet users accessing the Internet.

9. Battle Net Hack, User Passwords Stolen

2012 tech news brought us many hacks on various sites, including GoDaddy. One of the biggest though was on August 9th, 2012 when millions of Blizzard’s Battle Net passwords were stolen in what is reported to be one of the largest hacks in recent history. Blizzard, Battle Net currently hosts over 11 million subscribers to their World of Warcraft game alone, without taking into account their other subscribers of games such as Diablo 3 and StarCraft. It is estimated that the Battle Net hack could have resulted in the theft of over 14 million usernames and passwords. Fortunately, Blizzard claims that most of the information was stored cryptographically, meaning that it would be difficult and slow for the hackers to translate the data. Blizzard also claimed that no credit card or other personal information was stolen during the attack.

10. The Rover Curiosity

On August 6th, 2012 millions of people from all over the world watched as the Mars Rover Curiosity touched down on the planet. It is expected that the Curiosity will spend a little less than two years on Mars as it gathers and analyzes information about the planet. It will then return to Earth with the information, and hopefully a new future in space technology and exploration. The Curiosity is on Mars to search for evidence of life and water, and to collect priceless information about how Mars has evolved over its lifetime. Scientists are hoping that this information will help future missions that will hopefully include a human setting foot on the surface of Mars. When we think of Mars and the Curiosity, we can’t help but also remember that this year we lost one of our greatest space and moon pioneer’s,  Neil Armstrong. Live long and prosper Neil, okay it’s a Star Trek reference, but it kind of fits, right?

11. Tablets, The Tech Gadget of Choice

bestbuy tablet

2012 was definitely the year of the tablet. This past year we saw three new iPad releases, and the first ever branded tablets from rivals microsoft and Google. The variety of affordable 7 inch Android based tablets have grown considerably this year with the release of the Kindle Fire HD, Googles Nexus 7, and the Barnes & Noble Nook, all three offering a great user experience for under $200. October 2012, saw the release of the iPad Mini, and the Microsoft Surface. Of course, the iPad line of tablets is still considered the best, but the marketplace now has many more options in both manufacturer, design, and price. This trend is expected to continue throughout 2013 and beyond.

12. Google Vs. Apple

Tech news for 2012 could certainly be called the year of lawsuits. As if 2012 hadn’t seen enough lawsuits surrounding technical companies, Google launched a complaint against Apple on July 23rd. The lawsuit is related to patents owned by their newly acquired company Motorola Mobile. Many believe that the timing of this lawsuit was strategic, and that the real reason behind it is because of the money that Google has invested in the Android operating system. After the results of the Samsung vs. Apple trial where some of Samsung’s products were banned from sales in certain areas. Google fears a similar limitation of its Android based devices. It is believed that if Google backs Apple into a corner, they might be able to reach a shared licensing agreement that allows both parties to continue to sell mobile phones and tablets using each others software.

13. Tablet PC, New Windows 8 Laptop Models

Encouraged by the release of Windows 8, a new operating system that combines features from traditional and mobile operating systems, computer manufacturers have begun to produce hybrid notebook laptops called tablet PC’s. Experts believe that either a typing friendly tablet or a mobile friendly laptop, or both is the next logical step in computing technology.

The first product of this type was the Dell Duo Inspirion, a flipbook that can change from a laptop into a touchscreen tablet with a single swivel. But Dell isn’t the only company jumping into the tablet PC market. Other manufacturers such as HP, Asus, Lenovo, and Toshiba have all shown off PC tablet or crossover designs. Some models include a touch screen notepad that looks like a traditional computer but operates with mobile touch technology, and others feature a swivel screen similar to the Dell Duo. One of the world’s most popular technical brands, Apple, has stated that it will not produce a tablet pc with combined iPad and Mac features. However, they may change their minds as the technology and tablet PC’s become more popular.

 

14. MySpace Returns From The Dead

Is MySpace really coming back? Well it remains to be seen, but new owners that include Specific Media LLC and Justin Timberlake are attempting to revive the once popular social media platform. The new owners state that they want to keep the sites original ideas of giving users a space that they are able to do anything with, but Justin has stated that he also wants Myspace to become a unique artist social site where bands and other artists can connect with their followers.

Myspace was founded in 2003 and was one of the first social media websites. At its peak, the site had over 100 million users, and was valued at over $12 billion. The site allows users to create a unique webpage using HTML add ons, but because the site was fully customizable, many hackers inserted viruses into their pages to attack their visitors. When Facebook was created, many Myspace users moved over to avoid the spam and risk of viruses from the Myspace platform. Timberlake and Specific Media LLC, are working hard to give Myspace a completely new look and many new features, to try and encourage users to return to the website.

15. Skype Virus Targets Windows Users

Skype Security Issues

2012 tech news also included a Virus that spread thru links in Skype, it was released earlier this year and made our tech news for 2012. The virus was one that would infiltrate the computer system and download malware if the link was clicked. This virus started out as a simple message from someone on your contact list that would include a link. While the origin of the malware that it downloads was unclear, the virus spread very quickly. The bot that installed the Skype virus was called Dorkbot, and quickly spread to more than 400 computers in under 12 hours. If this virus became installed on a computer, it initiated three different programs. These programs could log keystrokes, steal passwords and other personal information, and put the infected computer onto a bot net, meaning that it could be used to install other harmful software, or be used for fraud.

16. Disney Purchases LucasFilm and a New Star Wars is in the Works!

The Hollywood giant Disney recently paid more than $4 billion for George Lucas’ media company. This news hit a nerve with Star Wars fans across the world who immediately became worried about the future of the series. Disney plans to release the 7th Star Wars movie in 2015, with episodes 8 and 9 to follow, so for now, we have to wait to see if we will see Disney style family oriented storylines and Mickey Mouse shaped spaceships. However, the purchase isn’t simply about Star Wars. Lucasfilm also owned visual and sound effects studios Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and the animation studio Pixar, which are now all owned by Disney.

17. Apple iPad Mini

One of the newest versions of the Apple iPad, the iPad Mini is a scaled down version that only seems to lack the Retina Display from its big brother, but doesn’t seem to be lacking any of the other features and functions. While the iPad Mini is expensive compared to other smaller tablets, it is much less expensive than the regular iPad, and packed with dual cameras, optional high speed wireless LTE, and many other features and functions, it is proof that smaller tablets do not have to be lacking in functionality.

18. Partnership Between Yahoo and Facebook Rumors

2012 tech news was also a year of rumor and speculation, but it was almost always right on. Whether it will be for this next rumor I am about to reveal is yet to be seen. During the latter part of 2012, there were rumors that the chief executive of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer and the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg had been discussing how the two companies can work more closely together. These talks have sparked speculation that the two companies are planning to take on the internet giant Google.

If Facebook and Yahoo do create a partnership, it won’t be the first time that they have worked together. They have worked very closely before on a variety of different small projects, including Yahoo News on Facebook, and they recently agreed to settle some long standing lawsuits over patent infringement.
Facebook has also recently stated that it has plans to boost their web search facility, and Mark Zukerberg believes that the social networking site is in a unique position to answer peoples questions.

19. Social Media ‘Twitter War’

A war between Israel and Hamas has taken advantage of social media technology and is being fought on the social media website Twitter. This tech news for 2012 first appeared on November 14th. The Israeli Defense Force tweeted that an attack on Hamas leaders was taking place. When a Hamas member was killed, the IDF then tweeted a photograph of him with the word ‘Eliminated’. The IDF continue to use twitter as a way to update followers about the war, and tweet whenever missiles have been deterred and how many people have lost their lives in the latest attacks.

Israel and Hamas are fighting over the Gaza Strip, and have been since 2000, in the past 12 years, literally thousands of people have lost their lives, and while the IDF have been tweeting about this war for at least the past three years, it is only now earning th attention of millions of people all over the world.

20. #/stoptheterror

stop the terror

The Hands of The HTS (High Tech Society) Join to “STOP the Terror”

Although it may not seem like tech news for 2012, or even new news, the battle between Hamas and Israel made tech news due to a few social media twists. Bullets and missiles have been flying in Israel and the Gaza Strip for the past 12 years, and the Israeli Defense Force has been tweeting about this war for the past three years, but this new social media war has only recently gained public attention. In retaliation, a new movement of peace called #stoptheterror has quickly gained popularity  What began as a simple photograph posted on Instagram has turned into a huge peace movement with more people joining everyday.

The producer of Israeli television shows, Simyoni simply posted a picture of the palm of his hand with the word STOP written on it. In less than a week, this picture was liked more than 5,000 times and thousands of people started to post similar pictures. Simyoni has stated that his message is to stop terror all over the world, and he is asking that people join him in taking a stand stating that terror is not right anywhere.

I am proud to say that the owners and writers of The HTS have joined this movement, and we welcome you to join with us by sending a picture of your hand to our email at thehightechsociety@gmail.com. We will post it on our page to help get the word out.

That’s All Folks! For 2012′s Tech News Anyway~

There was certainly a full year of tech news for 2012, too much for us to cover it all. However, some other top tech news stories for 2012 that you may wish made our top 20 list may include that president Obama won his second election into office with a lot of help from some captured videos of his opponent saying some, well, comments that showed the truth of what he really felt about at least 47% of the country, we also saw that the long awaited iPhone 5 was finally released, Instagram made its users very upset with some not so private privacy issues, websites went dark for Sandy Hook in a moment of silence and we learned that one of the coolest inventions ever, that of the 3D printer, had been darkened by the knowledge that some 3-D printers were or could be be used to make gun parts.

That’s it, it has been an interesting year in tech news and news in general. Now we get to prepare ourselves for tech news for 2013. So, watch for a special release on our site on January 1st, 2013 for our predictions of what you will see this coming year in tech news!  Before you go and run off to setup for your New Year’s party, let us know what it is that you remember or that stood out to you this year in tech news? Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and we here at The High Tech Society wish you a Happy New Year!

About A. Masters

A. Masters is a writer and tech lover that writes exclusively for TheHighTechSociety.com.