Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 100 Tech Stories of 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Evil - 100 Stories Every Techie Should Know about 2009. Lots of failure, embarrassment, innovation, and evil; humor and amazement. All in one year.

What's missing from the list? Leave a comment and let me know!

1. On January 1, all Zune 30s stopped working, in a late Y2K-like failure.
2. Outsourcing firm Satyam admitted to a huge financial fraud the likes of which Worldcom would have be proud of.
3. Apple announced a sudden leave of absence for Steve Jobs due to a hormone imbalance. Imbalanced enough that he needed a new liver.
4. Belkin admitted to paying for positive reviews on Amazon. They should advertise this more - I bet they would have gotten more people writing them.
5. Google was effectively shut down for an hour, reporting every web site as malware, publicly blamed, and later quietly retracted. That's not evil though.

6. The digital TV rollout was delayed, because the 6 million households were at risk of being cut off from something as vital to life as television.
7. Bill Gates released a jar of mosquitoes on the TED crowd, responsible for yet another set of bugs.
8. The Kindle2 was released, in an attempt to eliminate the "Worst button placement ever" label.
9. A lawsuits puts iFart against PullMyFinger, in a smelly battle of intellectual property.
10. A war of words broke out between Joe Spolsky and Uncle Bob Martin, about whether SOLID principles make a solid project.
11. Microsoft laid off employees, accidentally overpaid them, then asked for the money back. Apparently to finance Bing cash back.
12. Some stations switched to digital TV on their own, causing a man to shoot his television, but it didn't fix the problem.
13. The Rocky Mountain News closed down, but Google is going to save the newspaper industry.

14. An overzealous Palm investor predicted the death of the iPhone with the launch of the Pre.
15. Melinda Gates admitted she has iPhone envy, and many YouTube spoofs resulted.
16. The Seattle Post-Intelligencier moved to an online-only model, but Google is going to save the newspaper industry.
17. A home invasion was documented on Twitter an UStream. Luckily, it was in New Orleans.
18. IE8 was released, and it still renders differently than other browsers.
19. The iPhone 3.0 OS was released with the regular fanfare, touting 35-year old features like copy and paste.
20. Ulitzer plagarized tech blog posts, then defamed those which spoke out against it. This won the interesting business model of the year award.

21. The Confiker virus woke up, and appeared to do nothing, prompting speculation that it was an April Fools Joke. I don't think IT departments got it, though.
22. Twitter was attacke by Mikey, the kid from Life cereal commercials.
23. Aston Kutcher challenged CNN to be the first user with 1 million Twitter followers, in a serious ego trip.
24. The one-billionth app is downloaded from the iTunes Store, about half of which make fart noises.
25. Android phone running Latitude is inside stolen purse, leading police right to robber. Those same felons will now use Latitude to stalk women.
26. Oracle agrees to buy Sun Microsystems, appearantly without any benefit to Oracle.
27. Yahoo announced the shutdown of Geocities, in an attempt to boost its traffic.

28. GoGaRuCon made headlines in a bad way when a CouchDB presentation contained porn. If you wondered why the employee in the cube to your left AND right are both male, now you know why.Link
29. Apple was late in paying developers who had earned money through its app store. Writing software is easy - writing checks is hard.
30. Google went green by replacing lawnmowers with goats. Keep them away from the cables.
31. Amazon launched the KindleDX but forgot to set up their domain. Good thing they didn't do the same thing with the launch of
32. Copies of Windows7 were leaked, but they contained a trojan horse, called Windows7.
33. Duke Nukem Forever was nuked after 12 years of development, because it took forever.
34. Apple forced iPhone 3.0 compliance on all apps in app store, defining the new term forward-compatibility.
35. WolframAlpha launched. Ask it what Wolfram Alpha is at the risk of it becoming self-aware.
36. Microsoft created Axum, a new language you never heard of.
37. Microsoft released its iPod killer, the Zune HD, which not suprisingly, does NOT have an HD screen, and even less surprisingly, did not kill the iPod.
38. Time Warner announced the spin off of AOL, ending perhaps the worst merger in corporate history.

39. Microsoft revolutionized search with the release of its search engine Bing, with the revolutionary feature of a background picture on its home page.
40. Google launched Wave, the coolest web application that nobody could figure out how to use.
41. Microsoft showed us project Natal, the best vaporware we've ever seen.
42. The Pirate Bay conviction leads to a Pirate Bay political party, which won an EU parliament seat. Surprising they don't have a Microsoft party?
43. Apple launched the iPhone 3GS, where the 'S' stands for something to do with AT&T's service.
44. Iranian election protests were covered by Twitter, missed by CNN, but the internet isn't reliable.
45. A judgment of $1.9M was issued against a single mother who downloaded 24 songs illegally, reaffirming the opinion that judges have no common sense.
46. Firefox released version 3.5 but you'll swear its 4.0.

47. Google announced Chrome OS, the most relevant irrelevant operating system in history.
48. A girl fell into a manhole while texting, and of course her parents sued.
49. Microsoft decided to put Office 2010 online for free, to be more like Google.
50. The State Department dismissed the free Firefox as too expensive. That's free as in expensive.
51. Amazon erased legally purchased books from Kindles, giving a new twist on censorship.
52. AT&T iPhone voicemail went down for as much as 2 weeks for some customers. The bad thing is the company didn't even leave these people a voice mail.
53. The C++ standards committee removed concepts from the upcoming version of the language. They didn't like the concept.
54. Lie of the year: Ebay's PR head admits "Pez dispenser founding" story was a lie.
55. Apple captured 91% of $1000+ PC market. Who's the monopoly now?
56. The Netflix prize was claimed, and it went down to the last minute. They should make a movie about it.
57. Toyota unveiled the world's fastest running robot, which is only slightly slower than a Prius.
58. Apple and/or AT&T blocked Google voice from the iPhone, but neither admit it.
59. Yahoo and Microsoft inked a search deal, making Yahoo even less relevant than it was before.
60. Apple asked the DHS to make jailbreaking an iPhone illegal for national security reasons, but not any other phones.
61. Firefox hit 1 billion downloads. Are there even that many PCs?

62. Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple's board, presumably because he found out they were evil.
63. Twitter fell victim to a DDOS attack, which is not very different from regular tweeting.
64. Facebook purchased Friendfeed, to be more user-friendly.
65. A day after a joke is posted on Hacker News, famed Rubyist Why The Lucky Stiff disappears (as do his projects) from the internet, becoming Where The Lucky Stiff.
66. A Windows Update is pushed out which quietly installs a Firefox plugin to allow further quiet software installations. Microsoft must be trying to improve IE's relative security.
67. After signing a search deal with Bing, Yahoo decides that IE is safer for its users than Firefox.
68. Microsoft changed the face of an African-American man to that of a white man in the Polish edition of an ad. The hands were kept as is though.

69. Google found back Bing's background photo innovation with a larger text box on its home page. And people say innovation is dead.
70. Microsoft started its own open source movement, so it can steal code legally.
71. Steve Balmer attacked a Microsoft employee who took his photo using an iPhone. Must have thought it had the Light Saber app.
72. Queens university unveiled their pool-playing robot deep green.
73. Google released Frame, allowing users who aren't allowed to upgrade their IE browser to upgrade their IE browser.
74. 37 Signals spoke out against placing a valuation on companies based on VC investments, leading VCs to inquire about investing in them.
75. Florida police in the middle of an arrest stop to play Wii bolwing. Must be a shorter line than at home.
76. The customer service award goes to Texas Instruments, who sued calculator hackers.

77. Microsoft blamed the leaking of thousands of Windows Live and Hotmail user credentials on a phishing scheme, and not a breach of internal data. Sure, everyone whose name starts with A and B could have fallen for it.
78. Outage of the year: T-mobile Sidekick users went without data (including contacts) due to a system failure, and no backups. Later, in the miracle of ther year, the not-backed-up data was recovered.
79. Eolas sued 23 tech companies, claiming patent on browser plugins. Excuse me if I ask - Eolas, what browser did you write?
80. A brilliant judge ruled that a Facebook poke violates a restraining order.
81. An even more brilliant judge ruled that a dollar a day earned by an unemployed blogger from AdSense payments constitutes a job, and requires forfeiture of unemployment benefits.
82. Windows 7 upgrade resulted in an endless reboot cycle for many users, but only after Vista was removed.

83. The Motorola Droid launched, with Apple-like lines forming to be the first to get one.
84. The popular java IDEA IDE moved to open source.
85. In a sick twist to Rick Rolling, an iPhone worm changed user's background images to a Rick Astley photo. Maybe Apple was right about the national security risk.
86. Google launched its Go language, which you had heard of, because the Go language already existed.
87. Apple passed Nokia as the most profitable cell phone manufacturer. Nokia still holds title of lamest.
88. Microsoft bans hacked Xboxes from Xbox Live service.
89. Microsoft employee admitted Win7 copied Mac's graphics. Its about time they copied it!
90. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo offer free Wifi at major US airports. Merry Christmas.
91. Bing cashback revealed to cost you more. And I thought it was out of the goodness of their hearts.
92. AOL renames itself Aol. Read it and LOL.
93. Microsoft violated GPL with DVD USB download tool. Is this part of their new open source movement?

94. Due to emerging HTML5 standard, Google dropped gears, a mere 15 years before this technology should be universally spread.
95. Comcast takes control of Hulu as part of del with GE. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
96. App store developer reviews own apps. Should have talked to Belkin first - they have a more efficient way.
97. Microsoft discontinued Win7 Family Pack, claims it is "sold out". Should have made some more!
98. A Macbook was shot by airport police, but its hard drive remained intact. Now that's a laptop that could survive even children.
99. Microsoft pulls Plurk microblogging service after finding out it stole source code.
100. HP computers discovered to be racist.

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