From Windows 8 to the Raspberry Pi and legal cases galore on copyright and free speech, technology-wise 2012 was a busy year
From the launch of Windows 8 and excitement around the Raspberry Pi to debates around porn blocking and free speech on social networks, 2012 has been a busy year in technology. We take a look at the stories that affected computer users over the past year.
Wikipedia took its English-language website offline for 24 hours in protest against proposed US anti-piracy laws, Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.
The bills called for internet censoring to stop films, TV shows and music from being shared illegally on file-sharing sites. Critics argued that they would have given copyright-holders excessive powers to control the internet.
The European Union signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which prompted MEP Kader Arif to walk out in protest, saying he would he would no longer take part in "this masquerade". All bills have been shelved amid public and industry outcry.
The Computeractive team went to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, which was dominated by smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks - although 3D television, a major theme of years past, had been side-lined by talk of smart TV.
Web blocking in the UK became a reality when internet service providers Sky, Talk Talk, Everthing Everywhere and Virgin Media were ordered by the courts to block access to file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay. Hacking group Anonymous went on the war path attacking the ISPS despite the fact this was a legal order they had to comply with and the blocks were circumnavigated easily by people wanting access to this site.
Raspberry Pi, the barebones computer, launched but distribution issues affecting the Chinese manufacturer meant many were left waiting. In September, the Raspberry Pi Foundation clinched a deal with Sony to make Pis in Wales, bringing jobs to the UK.
Chancellor George Osborne urged UK cities to bid for a share of £150m to bring faster broadband speeds to their region.
Campaigners who had worked for years to bring faster broadband to rural areas throughout the rest of the year accused the Government of going back on its pledge to ensure a minimum speed of 2Mbits/sec for all.
Apple quickened pulses by revealing its latest version of the iPad with a high-resolution retina display and faster processor.
The B4RN rural broadband project began in earnest this month with the first cables being laid. The community broadband project will bring superfast broadband to rural areas in Lancashire.
MPs, organisations and peers resurrected the issue of children accessing adult sites. They wanted legislation to force ISPs to control adult-content filtering. This issue rumbled on throughout the year leading to David Cameron saying in May that the issue needed to go to a public consultation.
At the end of the year the Department for Education said this consultation showed that the public had "no appetite" for such draconian measures and most felt keeping children safe on line was mainly the responsibility of parents.
ISPs will however have to continue to make parental control software easily available to customers.
Microsoft began gearing up to launch its latest operating system and finally revealed the Windows 8 editions that would be available to consumers.
While we may grumble about our broadband speeds and costs, pity the residents of St Helena.
We reported on a campaign to connect the "small British village" in the Atlantic to a cable being laid between South America and Africa. Residents pay around £240 a month for unreliable 384Kbits/sec connections.
Google tested a driverless car, taking a computer-controlled Toyota Prius for a drive down the Las Vegas strip.
Millions of people were unable to get to their money when a software upgrade carried out by Natwest and RBS caused transactions to be delayed. Software experts said the RBS fiasco was "an accident waiting to happen".
Microsoft revealed plans to make its first move into the hardware market, announcing a range of Surface tablets, which would run its new operating system.
The Surface RT powered by an ARM processor is already on sale but people will have to wait until 2013 for the Surface Pro, which uses Intel technology.
The FBI warned that people infected with malicious software in 2007 would no longer be able to access the internet as it was shutting down rogue servers. People affected were told to change their DNS settings or face going offline.
Authorities in Ukraine, the Netherlands, Russia and Panama took down the Grum botnet. This network of hijacked PCs was responsible for sending out 34 per cent of the world's spam emails.
The notorious Twitter Joke trial finally reached a conclusion and accountant Paul Chambers won his two year fight to a ruling that he had sent a 'menacing message' on Twitter overturned.
But his and other similar cases that ended up in court led the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue guidelines about online free speech at the end of the year.
During the London Olympics, more than 150 million tweets were sent and more than 116 million Facebook comments made about the games, while 820,000 people watched the BBC's live stream of Andy Murray winning his gold medal.
On its busiest day the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes of data. This is more information than held in all the academic libraries in the entire USA.
NASA's Curiosity rover became the first device to get a software upgrade delivered from one planet to another. It continues to tweet its findings from Mars and NASA hopes at some point to fly out a companion to the lonely robot.
Apple launched the iPhone 5. While it had a faster processor and improved battery life, older docks and cables were incompatible, and the Maps app was so bad it became a running joke. It is also only compatible with Everything Everywhere's 4G network
Conservative Party Co-Chairman Grant Shapps faced calls from MPs to undergo a criminal investigation into an online business he co-founded, which was accused of illegally republishing material.
Mr Shapps said that he no longer had any involvement with the company, as he had sold his shares to his wife. The sites associated with How to Corp disappeared.
Everything Everywhere launched the first UK 4G fast mobile broadband service. Eleven lucky cities, including London were the first to get this service, which allowed Computeractive to take a trip around the city to test the speeds.
Amazon bought its Kindle tablet to the UK, a year after its US launch. The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD went head-to-head with Apple's iPad Mini and Google's Nexus 7 this Christmas as they sought to be the most popular gift.
The US Federal Trade Commission and UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency tried to tackle the on-going problem of cold-call scams claiming to be from Microsoft. This fraud has conned thousands of people into parting with money because they believed their computer was infected with malicious software.
Home Secretary Theresa May finally stepped into bring a halt to the decade long legal attempt by the US to extradite Gary McKinnon to face hacking charges in America.
She was no doubt that McKinnon was "seriously ill" and there were genuine concerns he would commit suicide, so to extradite him would be "incompatible" with the 46-year-old's human rights.
Beleaguered high street retailer Comet, trading since 1933, went into administration. More than 6,000 people could lose their jobs and 236 stores will close around the UK.
The US backed down from trying to extradite student Richard O'Dwyer for copyright infringement. Although under UK law he may have not committed a crime, he faced 10 years in jail if convicted in the US.
Although Home Secretary Theresa May had blocked the US extradition of Gary McKinnon in October on health grounds, she refused to intervene on behalf of Mr O'Dwyer.
Portsmouth University created a website that revealed the havoc the Luftwaffe unleashed on London during the Blitz in World War Two. Visitors to the site can zoom in to specific areas, see where the bombs hit and discover what kind of bomb was dropped.
Meanwhile, porn distributor Golden Eye wanted another chance to sue people it said are guilty of illegally downloading adult content. Internet service provider O2 was ordered to give the company the names and addresses of thousands of people earlier this year but Golden Eye went back to court this month to get the names the ISP can associate with a further 6,155 IP addresses.
Computeractive attended the hearing and although a ruling has not been handed down by the appeal court, while listening to comments from the judges we wouldn't be surprised if Golden Eye wins this case.
Scammers quickly took the opportunity to cash in on the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut setting up fake donation websites.
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