WE'RE NOT SURE THERE'S SPACE in history books for 2016. We've had Brexit, we've had Trump, we've fucked up the Toblerone and everybody's dead.
It's been a rollercoaster year in the world of technology, too. We've had Apple's encryption battle with the FBI, Samsung's explosive Galaxy Note 7 recall, Yahoo admitting that a data breach in 2014 exposed 500,000 million users and, only last month, the Investigatory Powers Bill (more appropriately known as the Snoopers' Charter) was passed into law.
Here at INQ, it's certainly been an odd, if not interesting year to be a technology journalist so we thought we'd share with you what we each thought was the best and worst thing to happen over the past 12 months. Trust us, this wasn't easy.
Feel free to let us know yours in the comments below.
Commissioning editor, Carly Page
I'm sure Samsung, nor many of you reading this will agree, but for me, the Galaxy Note 7 recall was one of the more interesting things to happen this year.
Sure, it maybe wasn't the "best" thing to happen in 2016 given that some people ended up with burnt arses and millions of others without a smartphone, but as I predicted back in October, the fiasco has already lead to the mobile market becoming a more diverse and interesting place, rather than a two-man dick-waving contest between Apple and Samsung.
Regular readers perhaps won't be surprised to learn that my "worst" of 2016 is Apple's new MacBooks, which might have put me off the firm's laptops for good. I've already ranted about this elsewhere, but any excuse to have a moan.
I'm mainly pissed off, admittedly, because I can't afford them, with Apple's newfangled 13in and 15in MacBooks costing an eye-watering £1,749 and £2,349, respectively, almost £1,000 more expensive than me current 11in MacBook Air. I'm also pretty narked about the connectivity options available -- there's a headphone jack (I've just upgraded to a 3.5mm jack-less iPhone 7) and no MagSafe connection (making my collection of £80 chargers all-but-worthless).
Anyway. I'm going to stop moaning and go and get very drunk. It is Christmas, after all. Here's to 2017!
Miserable sod, Chris Merriman
2016 hasn't given the world a lot to be thankful for, and as we stand on the brink of seeing who is going to cause armageddon first - the Russians, the hackers, the terrorists, the North Koreans, the Trump Administration or Boris Johnson (combo play possible and indeed likely) then it's good to take a look back at the reasons to get out of bed and write this jibberish.
Robot Wars came back. That's a good thing. Anything that encourages people to be building IoT devices is ok in my book.
The Amazon Echo made us realise that we are actually living in the future, it was just waiting for someone to come up with a way of implementing it. The advent of the truly smart home at an affordable price has dominated. The UK launch of the Echo was a true game changer which opened people's eyes as to what was possible beyond the realms of the AI community.
There was also the guy that invented a system to stop WiFi freeloaders because a password is only generated if they touch a banana in his office. That was great.
Android Pay's UK launch was a game-changer for the majority, because it just worked. On Day One. And that's awesome.
Plus Jide brought its Remix OS to PCs for free, allowing users to work straight from Android if they so wished.
Tay, the Twitter chatbot from Microsoft going absolutely bonkers and telling everyone she was a pot smoking nazi whore was amazing. I actually believe it's one of the most important things to happen in AI this year.
I'm also seeing so many cool things coming out of the tech health sector. As a sufferer of more conditions than you can shake a stick at, that sort of thing matters a lot to me, and the fact that we're starting to see "medical grade" wearables is hope. There's no other word for it. It's hope.
And on the subject of China, finding some genuinely great brands like Chuwi and Jide is going to make the market have to sit up and think on pricing.
In May, there was a game app where the winner got a real live cow. That was cool.
Google beat Oracle over the use of open source APIs in Android. They're appealing it of course, but victory is victory.
TV has been a joy for geeks this year with Black Mirror, Humans and Westworld all bringing the dystopic tech world to life, and in some cases a little too close for comfort. All of which comes to life beautifully with Sky Q, a much-needed kick up the arse for the ageing Sky Plus system.
But most important of all? The beginning of the end of Adobe Flash. Good times.
Low points? So, so many. The ongoing rise of Windows 10 to a near quarter market share in spite of its gaping disregard for customers privacy and convenience irritates the hell out of me.
As of course does the Snoopers' charter.
The fact that major hacks are being a daily occurrence is killing me. It now feels like a bigger threat than growing up under the shadow of The Bomb.
Acceptance of ad blockers is killing the free web, but also the fact that we've had to take steps to overcome them has saddened me in equal measure.
The end of The Great British Bake Off on the BBC was a bummer. Not strictly relevant, but it upset me.
Tech manufacturers being forced to raise prices after Brexit.
Storage-wise, I was hoping for a revolution with SSDs becoming high capacity and affordable. We're getting there, but we're not there yet and I can't help feeling that it's the trickle down that is causing it - the technology to build smaller, high capacity devices is there. We're just being drip-fed.
HP unilaterally blocking printers that don't use their cartridges was a statement of a huge problem that covers everything from the IoT, to music, to the cloud. There's still so many silos up. Until everything is inter-compatible, I'm not going to be happy.
Microsoft bought Sunrise calendar and in 2016 they closed it down. Still haven't found a worthy replacement, and I worry for Swiftkey too. My feelings on the ‘John Hurt' syndrome are well known.
I couldn't decide if this is in my best or worst list. The Microsoft email that told interns: "There will be hella noms, lots of dranks, the best beats, and just like last year we're breaking out the Yammer beer pong tables!". That was a low point, however much I like it when Microsoft screw up.
So yeah, It's been a bloody awful year, innit.
Contributor, Dave Neal
Ah, 2016, you were the best of times, you were the worst of times. A lot of people died this year, good people. A lot of people also apparently wasted their time trying to fight off the Investigatory Powers Bill, an onerous piece of legislation that has stuck in Theresa May's teeth like a bit of popcorn shell for years and has now become everybody's problem.
That is probably the nadir of 2016, although I did get some pathetically bleak survey based press releases that made me question my life and work. Also bad, and also down to the government, is the continued harassment of Lauri Love and the threat of his extradition to the US.
The poor fellow can do without all this hassle. Surely Theresa May can remember what Gary McKinnon went through? She can't put another family through that. That's probably going to be a low point of 2017 now, though, as that has not yet physically happened.
Also not happened yet are comments that suggest that Love should have a large book thrown at him, and the kind of sentence that murderers get. But, again this is a pending concern.
That is enough bad news for now, and I cannot be bothered to get into the problems that Windows 210 has caused me, some of which I share with Eugene Kaspersky, so let's segue into some positives.
Kicking off on Kickstarter, where I found and funded the Fidgetcube, which I cannot wait to start fiddling with. This silly little gadget will, I hope, revolutionise my hand downtime, something that I desperately need. It will also save me a lot of money on those popping packaging sheets.
Also this year I landed on the Brazzers press list. I am aware of the site Brazzers, I believe that it is quite infamous, and I have learned via its press releases a lot of things that I would never have learned. For example, Texans, and I have never met one, like to search for ‘alien cousin joystick sex'. And I am sure that we can all agree, this is very very illuminating, and an excellent fact for any lull in conversation.
My last highlight is a tricky one. It is that Parappa the Rapper, which is the only game that I have completed multiple times, is being rebooted on the PS4. I have mixed feelings because I do not have a PS4 and am not sure that I love the game enough to buy one.
This suggests that I do not even know myself anymore.
V3 deputy editor, Dan Worth
For me, shockingly, the most promising bit of tech news came from the government. I know!
For years everyone has been telling them that The Fibre is the future for broadband investment and that while efforts to provide reasonable connections to everyone are welcome, it needs to do more to focus on high-speed The Fibre connections.
And lo, at last they have listened! Yes, I'm sure they'll backtrack and U-turn and so on, but at least someone, somewhere gets it. The future is all digital and online and giving people speeds so fast it becomes irrelevant to worry bout your connection - especially for upload - has to be the goal of the UK.
There are plenty of firms focused on this already, such as CityFibre which came on great guns during 2016, but it will take government intervention to makes this a nationwide reality and news of new funding and focus on The Fibre is fantastic.
Give it time, but I think we'll look back at 2016 as the start of the UK's journey, however long, to The Fibre utopia. I was also pleased to see contactless payment technologies arrive in Sainsbury's.
Now, bad things that happened in 2016…hmm…let me think…struggling here…Oh, there was that April Fools thing Google did that led to people losing work and looking very rude by sending Mic Drops Minions. Also, HP buying Samsung's printer business could hold back printer innovation for YEARS.
Another thing that really irked me was the news that they are stopping production of VHS tapes. Someone better get fired for that decision. Oh and don't even get me started on the plans to turn Candy Crash into a gameshow. Leave the classics alone!
I'm going to have to stop now, this is all making me too angry. 2016 man, what a year! µ
Plus IoT factories and a pricey Pixel pouch
It's all fun and games until someone loses their rent
Speeding this way from the Spring
It's generating lower margins than smart-speaker rivals from Amazon and Google