Top 20 BetaNews stories of 2008
What were the stories that gathered BetaNews readers' attention, got them talking, made them think more about the meaning behind the technology? Our space-age statistics generator has provided us with the final tally.
Intel's Core i7 architecture nearly, or perhaps even completely, closes the feature gap between its technology and rival AMD's. The memory controller is moved into the chip itself -- where all too many architects believe it belongs in the first place -- and the front-side bus as we have come to know it begins its fade into history.
It was the beginning of the Storm, and the promise that Research In Motion could produce a competitor to Apple's iPhone that might even surpass it in several departments, including coolness. The Storm experienced a bit of a stormy start of its own, but just a few months ago, we hadn't seen that coming yet.
Last August, millions of users received an unplanned reminder of why the "beta" label still appears beside the Gmail logo, after so many years. The irony of this story is how many users complained using Twitter, which hasn't always been ship-shape either.
Is it too late for a new data description format that uses programmatic constructs, but which could eliminate the use or need of XML in many applications? Google has both the weight and the wherewithal to give it a try anyway, even if the answer ends up being "no."
What is a "Web standard" really? Is it what a consortium of architects defines it to be, or is it what a majority of the world's Web sites choose to use? At one time, Microsoft boasted about the answer being the latter, but as part of its image-changing effort, early this year the company displayed a radical change of heart.
As it turned out, there was a $99 iPhone in the works, and there was a discount sale being planned at Wal-Mart. But the blog-O-square put the two revelations together as though they were the same one: Wal-Mart's discount only amounted to a few measly dollars, and AT&T's radical price drops were for refurbished models only.
Poor Sony. 2008 was significantly less than a banner year for the company that actually won the format war this time around. But despite its sales downturn, its declining growth, and its string of mea culpas from corporate executives, the most read Sony story of '08 was the one that impacted PS3 users directly: a big, big bug.
Just two months ago, Apple was still capable of making a splash by broadcasting a minor hint about an upgrade that, if you think about it, any other manufacturer might also have made to its notebook PCs. Now the story heading into January is that Apple might not have anything new to announce at Macworld, where it used to make its biggest annual impact, and where the iPhone was born.
When Google used its unconventional "comic book" as the first white paper for its Chrome Web browser, we recognized many of the characters in the story. They were -- and still are -- prominent Mozilla Firefox contributors. For its part, Mozilla says it's happy that its people are so generous in giving its ideas to the broader community. Somehow we wonder what Mozilla's leaders are saying privately, especially since Google remains the organization's principal source of revenue.
When Yahoo countered Microsoft's ploy to take over the #2 Internet search provider by partnering with Google, we thought it was a masterstroke...at first. But Yahoo didn't have enough resources to maintain that leverage, and Microsoft used that fact to its advantage in the end. As it turned out, Microsoft ended up snagging one of Yahoo's prize developers anyway, though it now relies on Dr. Qi Lu to run its entire online services division -- a kind of management service that Dr. Lu hasn't done before.
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