It’s time to look back at some of the most read tech stories we covered during 2013. Google Glass, NSA spying, video game consoles, and a major upgrade to Apple’s iOS operating system all popular with our readers.
Connecticut also had some interesting connections to the space program this year, with a Waterbury native blasting off to the space station and a commercial space company giving Connecticut residents the opportunity to see two night launches from our backyards.
10. Google Glass Review
Google allowed us to buy one of the first editions of their Google Glass wearable computer. We were not impressed but wrote up an extensive written and video review detailing Google’s vision of the future.
9. CTNext Launches Startup Map
CTNext, Connecticut’s startup incubator network, launched an interactive map to keep track of the state’s newest enterprises. The map has a number of filtering options to help narrow down searches based on company size and service offerings.
8.Amazon to Collect Connecticut Sales Tax
Amazon.com, after initially cutting off all affiliate sellers of their products after the state tried collecting sales tax from those sales, did an about-face by announcing a new distribution center will be opening in Connecticut. Along with the announcement came an agreement for Amazon to collect Connecticut sales tax from residents. That collection began on November 1 – just in time for holiday shopping.
7. Apple Releases iOS 7 With Some Customers Reporting Major Problems
We gave iPhone and iPad users an advanced preview of Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system. But the upgrade didn’t go smoothly for some iPhone 4s customers who lost their WiFi capability after the upgrade. NBC Connecticut interviewed us not once but twice for their coverage of this ongoing issue.
We also reviewed the new iPad Air and the iPhone 5s.
6. Connecticut Astronaut Blasts off to the Space Station
Astronaut Rick Mastracchio, a Waterbury native, blasted off to the International Space Station on November 6. Waterbury elementary students are following his mission and even gave him a Geocaching Travel Bug to take with him on his six month mission. NASA granted CTTechJunkie an interview with Mastracchio shortly before he left for launch. Mastracchio, one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts, was tasked with replacing a faulty cooling pump located outside of the station. The first of three spacewalks to repair the pump was conducted over the weekend.
5. SnapChat Safety
SnapChat, the wildly popular “self destructing” messaging service, is not always so temporary. We demonstrated a few ways to make permanent copies of images and videos coming through SnapChat and Facebook’s Poke app which attempted to dethrone SnapChat’s dominance in the temporary messaging marketplace. NBC Connecticut also talked to us about some of the potential privacy flaws with the app.
4. Setting up the Wii U
In an attempt to save Christmas everywhere, we reminded parents last year of the need to install a required multi-gigabyte update for Nintendo’s latest console before wrapping it up for the kids. We also detailed the rather complex procedure of copying data from the prior version of the console. The story’s popularity continued into 2013. Unfortunately for Nintendo sales of the new game system have been lackluster.
The Wii U wasn’t the only system in need of a huge initial update – the Xbox One also needed an enormous update when it first booted up.
3. The NSA Is Watching
This was, in our minds, the biggest tech story of the year that will also likely be the story of the century. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to The Guardian that he acquired while working for the spy agency. His leak confirmed what many in the tech industry suspected: that the United States government has been ingesting enormous quantities of private data traversing the Internet.
We took a closer look at not only the agency’s capabilities but also asked a Yale law scholar about the legal semantics the agency has been employing to justify its activities. We also interviewed Congressman Jim Himes, a new member of the House Intelligence Committee.
We also appeared on Fox61’s The Real Story.
2. Connecticut Sees Two Private Space Launches
NASA’s facility at Wallops Island, Virginia has been busy this year, launching a number of unmanned vehicles into orbit – including an International Space Station resupply mission. Two of the launches were visible from Connecticut and our cameras captured them. See them here and here.
1. Roku vs. AppleTV
Cutting the cable television cord was the most read topic of the year this year.
CTnewsJunkie columnists Susan Bigelow and Terry Cowgill offered their take on two cord cutting set top television boxes. Susan talked about ditching satellite for her Roku and Terry gave high marks to the Apple TV.
Thank you all for your support and readership in 2013! We look forward to bringing you more local tech news and analysis in the year to come.