Friday Essential: Flashback 2017

Friday Essential: Flashback 2017

We are sure your timeline must be full of ‘Goodbye 2017’ and ‘Welcome 2018’ posts, but, we wanted to shift your focus to an ‘Ode to the Technological landmarks of 2017’. When we talk of Technological flashback, we want to specify that the below mentioned are the most newsworthy stories of that time period. So, sit back and enjoy this flashback!

January 2017: Ajit Pai takes a U-Turn on Net Neutrality !

January flashback 2017

As the new year dawned, Ajit Pai, the head of the FCC, started hinting at repealing the ‘Net Neutrality’ laws that were implemented by past president, Barack Obama’s administration. What started out as a series of tweets, slowly and surely turned out to be a year long process that eventually resulted in the nixing of Net Neutrality in December 2017.  Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are now laughing their way to the bank while we suffer through this redundant law!

February 2017: Facebook announces developing Artificial Intelligence!

Facebook announces

In a bold new step to further advance the reachability of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team decided to take the reins in regards to developing Artificial Intelligence. The spanner in their works came sometime later when the 2 robots they had created, started to communicate with each other without the need for human prompting or commands. Even the language they used was beyond human interpretation. Flashbacks of ‘The Terminator: Judgement Day’ prompted the engineers to shut down the robots and step back to the drawing boards! We can hope that with time, this division of Facebook avoids stepping into, Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’ level of AI awareness.

March 2017 : Nintendo Switch launched!

Nintendo Switch launched!

When Nintendo rises to the occasion, it sure does things right! From being considered as an ‘Has Been’ to trumping them all, Nintendo has sure come a long way. The current pinnacle was made possible with the launch of Switch! The combination of The Switch and home console and mobile gaming, has captured the public’s imagination and its two flagship games are both cited as among the best in their respective franchise histories.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ and ‘Super Mario: Odyssey’ both wowed the critics while third-party ports such as ‘Doom’ and ‘Rocket League’ has proved just how agile the Switch can be.

April 2017 : Facebook Shuts 30,000 accounts!

Facebook Shuts 30,000 accounts

In a bid to free itself from the multiple sock accounts and fake accounts, Facebook purged upto 30,000 different accounts from its system in France. While this may seem like a step taken in the right direction, it is in fact, too little, too late. With the French presidential election mere days away, it tried to clean up its act. The utter failure to curb ‘Fake News’ that was being shared on Facebook during the American presidential election, prompted this step. Facebook also took out full page ads, in leading newspapers across all of France, further explaining how to spot a fake news. We can just hope that it continues to let it’s moral compass guide it in the future too.

May 2017: Wannacry Ransomware hits NHS!

Wannacry Ransomware hits NHS!

Wannacry was a ransomware attack that took over the world! Microsoft Windows OS user were the most affected by it. There was a lot of blame game going on. Some even pointed fingers at the NSA ( National Security Agency) of knowing beforehand that there is a flaw in the OS and that it was vulnerable to a cyber security breach! Microsoft did try their level best to release out of band security update. But alas, it was too late for many. Its most alarming victim was the NHS (National Health Services), which saw its hospital computer systems come to a standstill. Patients were diverted to other units, appointments were cancelled and accident-and-emergency wards were forced to turn away some arrivals. A rather sad sight!

June 2017: 10th Anniversary of the iPhone!

10th Anniversary of the iPhone!

“A revolutionary product, that changes everything”. What an appropriate way of describing the iPhone. While we shall always miss the charisma of Steve Jobs, his legacy shall always live on. Launched a decade back, we have seen significant changes in the iPhone and in the many that followed it. The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch display screen with a 480 x 320-pixel resolution. Today, the high-end iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. That’s like moving from VCR quality to full HD. Now that’s a leap! Rock on Apple!

July 2017: HBO launches Season 7 of Game of Thrones

HBO launches Season 7 of Game of Thrones

Opening to a record breaking viewership, the 7th season of Game of Thrones released worldwide on HBO. It has been a rather difficult year for HBO. It was hacked sometime in July 2017 for approximately 1.5 terabyte of data. Majority of said data was, scripts of unaired episodes of GOT and summaries. The hacker even claimed to have personal details of the cast and crew involved, including phone numbers, residence addresses and their social security numbers too! As of November 2017, an Iranian man has been arrested in connection to the July hack. He also had episodes of ‘Ballers,’ ‘Insecure,’ ‘Room 104’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ The hacker, who identified himself as “Mr. Smith,” publicized the breach by sending emails to news reporters that included links to the stolen information.

August 2017: Artificial Intelligence Failure( robot hacked in to a stabbing machine)

Artificial Intelligence Failure( robot hacked in to a stabbing machine)

‘Chucky’ gets company in the form of an Artificial Intelligence enabled robot, created by UBTECH. Named, ‘Alpha 2’, this knee high robot was hacked into by Ethical hackers and easily converted into a stabbing machine. Its Android OS doesn’t use code-signing to verify the signature of the update being installed. It’s due to this flaw, than an average hacker could gain access to the Internet-connected device. They can also easily install a malware of their choice. The entire process of hacking is very easy due to these loopholes. So all of you, who are interested in purchasing AI devices, beware! You may have a stab happy jack at your disposal.

September 2017: iOS 11 launched (faces negative reviews)

iOS 11 launched (faces negative reviews)

It was with much fanfare that the iOS 11 was launched. Once launched it was downloaded almost a million times within 24 hours. But, the reviews that came in were not all positive. In a first, people expressed their dissatisfaction. Many even hailed it as an end of the era for Apple. Riddled with bugs that prevented emails from reaching the servers to crackling sounds in the ear phones, iOS 11 was quickly updated with a multiple number of versions. It was also accused of causing the battery to drain much faster. For a company who pays an obsessive attention to details, this is just unexpectable!

October 2017: Yahoo has its data breached, Again!

Yahoo has its data breached, Again!

On an October morning, Yahoo, the one time giants of Internet service, confessed that all 3 Billion users of their users were impacted by the past 2 data breaches that occurred in 2014 and 2016. Specific details of material taken included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers and even dates of birth. This had been the largest breach in Internet History!  Yahoo faced a lot of flak for the delayed information that it provided and is now facing multiple cases in the court of law!

November 2017: Twitter expands to 280 character limit!

Twitter expands to 280 character limit!

The world celebrated the inclusion of additional characters to their twitter feed. 280 seemed like so much more than the restricting 140 everyone was used to. Many did bemoan the fact that with this extension, President Trump shall have extra space to spew his ‘alternate opinions’ of things. The cherry on the cake was the sudden and shocking deletion of President Trump’s Twitter account by an ex-employee of Twitter. While many hailed this unsung hero, the Former Republican congressman David Jolly even called for him to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!

December 2017: Bitcoin Rise!

Bitcoin Rise!

Talk about closing the year with a bang! Bitcoin rose and rose and rose to heights that were unimaginable and unpredictable by anyone! Those who were ignorant of the technology, the number of different cryptocurrencies that have existed since 2009, rushed to jump on the bandwagon to instant profit. Bitcoin in particular rose to the heights of 2000% profits in a matter of days! Then, came the downward slope. The new investors faced harsh reality in regards to profit margins. Though it has since stabilized, Bitcoin continues to prove its volatility. What the next year will bring in terms of cryptocurrencies, time will tell!

There you have it folks. The above mentioned were the most newsworthy in the field of technology. Hope you enjoyed this roundup. Let’s wish that the next year brings in more advancements and less hacking news. More cryptocurrency rises and less of killer robots! Drop us a line to share your views. Happy New Year to You!!

A traveler who has eaten with Bedouins, gotten lost in mist, and walked a kilometer to get net connection. When not writing, Nisha reads tech magazines to shampoo bottle labels

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