2016: Year In Review

At this time of year I like to look back over the past 365 days and pick out the stories that really got my attention. Now if you have something that you think that should be on this list, leave a comment with your thoughts. Now on to the top stories of the year:

Samsung Redefines The Term “My Phone Is Blowing Up”: One of the top stories of the year had to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which had a tendency to catch fire and explode. Sometimes in epic fashion. Samsung recalled the device twice before putting an end to the product once and for all. Though they had problems getting them all back and resorted to sending out an update to kill the device remotely. It will be interesting to see how they recover from this in 2017.

Rotten Apple?: The company who usually avoids bad PR got lots of bad PR this year. Whether it was their new MacBook Pro which had a laundry list of issues and complaints when it shipped, the fight with US law enforcement over unlocking the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, or the removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 which was described by Apple as being a move of “courage.” Then there was “touch disease” in iPhone 6 and 6s models that led to class action lawsuits, among many other events that I don’t have the space to list. In short, Apple really had a bad year on multiple fronts which makes one wonder if their best days are behind them. Stay tuned as 2017 will provide that answer. 

Thousands Of Canadian netTALK Customers Lose Their Phone Service & The IT Nerd Breaks The Story: One of the things that I am proud of this year is that when netTALK got into a dispute with a company called Iristel and in the process, thousands of Canadians lost their phone service, I was reporting on this from the moment the story broke, to the moment it was resolved. And I was doing this for almost a week before the mainstream media started to report on this. That was important as there was no information other than what I was reporting on that customers affected by this outage could read while they waited for their phone service to come back. It also highlighted the fact that netTALK was on shaky ground which made me classify their products as “not recommended” which is only the second time I’ve ever done that. Another thing that was highlighted was the fact that the CRTC and the CCTS who are supposed to stop this sort of thing from happening to Canadians are toothless tigers when it comes to doing so. Strangely in a twist of fate, near the end of the year I had to deal with their technical support on behalf of a customer. And that did not go so well. Sigh.

Hyundai, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay,& Other Oddities Of Life: Another situation that I got involved in was the perceived lack of upgrades to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in late model Hyundai Canada vehicles. This was brought on by the fact that similar vehicles in the USA got do it yourself upgrades for free but Canadians felt that they were getting the short end of the stick as they didn’t. Though I would like to point out that no promises were ever made by Hyundai Canada about getting upgrades to either system. I reached out to Hyundai Canada and to their credit, they really worked with me to get accurate  & complete information into the public domain whenever I asked for it. That’s not an everyday occurrence in these situations, so that has to be highlighted. Plus by the end of the year, they got a program going to get Apple CarPlay into three 2017 models that did not come with it. Thus while I really think that while this story isn’t over, I think that it is headed in a positive direction. Though based on some of the e-mails and comments that I am receiving, Hyundai Canada will have some fence mending to do as there are a bunch of unhappy people out there at the moment. As an aside, hopefully Australian Hyundai owners get the same treatment as they also reached out to me for help this year for a similar reason. That’s a situation that I will monitor closely in 2017.

Uber Behaving Badly: Uber really took their strategy of thumbing their noses at rules and regulations to new lows this year when they tried to put self driving cars onto the streets of San Francisco without the proper permits, and then were forced to pull them after the California DMV got involved. But not before those vehicles ran a few red lights in the process. But it didn’t end there, it came to light that not only did some of their employees snoop around customer data looking for info on celebrities and ex-partners, but it also came to light that the Uber app tracks you long after you’ve used their service. Something that they tried and failed to explain away. Hopefully this shines a light on this company so that everyone can see that they’ve not exactly good corporate citizens.

The “Internet Of Things” Becomes The Source Of Epic Pwnage: Those WiFi controlled cameras, light switches and the like became the source of distributed denial of service attacks this year. Largely because those “things” on the Internet were not all that secure. Companies who make IoT devices will seriously need to step up their game to avoid having the epic pwnage continue in 2017.

Rogers Returns To My Radar Screen: Last year, Rogers had dropped off of my radar screen after being on it for all the wrong reasons for many years. This year, they’re back on it because of their inability to roll out their Gigabit Internet service to their customers without having things go sideways. Something that I got caught up in before having Rogers hop through hoops to resolve the issues that I had. Though to be fair, they are currently in the midst of doing upgrades to their network that may make this go away. I hope for their sake it does as they don’t need to be on my radar screen for all the wrong reasons in 2017.

Windows 10 Continues To Be A Source Of Pain: While Microsoft finally admitted to the fact that they were far too aggressive in trying to get people to update to Windows 10, that admission came after one of their forced updates took computers off the Internet, and another one broke webcams along with causing Kindles to BSOD Windows 10 machines among other things. There were lawsuits filed and won this year over Windows 10, one of which succeeded. Thus this OS continues to be a great source of pain for Microsoft, which is likely to continue to be painful in 2017 for them unless they get their act together.

The IT Nerd Travels: The global growth of the consulting side of my business continued this year with trips to the UK as well as India. I should note that I will be returning to India early in 2017 and I have trips planned for Germany and Japan as well. Stay tuned for the travelouges on those. I also took a couple of brief vacations to Prince Edward County and to Algonquin Park as well as a day trip to the Halton County Raidal Railway this year which provided much needed breaks from the daily grind of blogging and consulting.

Reviews, Reviews, And More Reviews: This year was a busy one for me as I did 49 product reviews this year. On top of all that, I did the third annual IT Nerd Awards. Without giving too much away, you can expect to see much more of that in 2017.

And now, here’s my top ten posts in terms of page views from this year:

  1. How To Fix “Windows can not connect to the printer 0x00000057”
  2. Review: Rogers NextBox 3.0
  3. Review: GTA Car Kits Pure Bluetooth Car Kit
  4. Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF103C (Model K010)
  5. Review: Kristall Liquid Screen Protector
  6. In Depth: Mazda Connect
  7. Review: DiskWarrior 5
  8. Hyundai Canada, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay: The Facts
  9. Don’t Call It A Recall: Toyota Canada
  10. Review: 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD – Part 3

I find it interesting that a Windows issue is at the top of the list for a second year in a row. Clearly that is something that Microsoft needs to fix. Also interesting that three car companies are in the top ten. Mazda is in there twice, but so is Hyundai in regards to getting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into their vehicles. Clearly that’s a topic of interest. Toyota is there for their issues with some of their engines burning oil. That’s something that should worry Toyota as that’s bad press for their brand.

And the top ten countries that visit my blog are:

  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. France
  7. Italy
  8. Netherlands
  9. India
  10. Singapore

In all, I get visitors from over 110 countries. That’s incredible.

Here’s to 2017 as for better or worse, the tech world is really going to get very interesting. And I will be here to comment on it.

One Response to “2016: Year In Review”

  1. […] Apple Can No Longer Say “It Just Works”: Apple had some high profile #fails this year starting with the epic security issue where anyone could get root access to a Mac with ease (though that was fixed within a day), followed by vulnerabilities in HomeKit, not to mention numerous other high profile and embarrassing bugs in a variety of Apple products that seems to highlight that their QA process is in free fall. Oh yeah, Apple was caught slowing down iPhones with aging batteries which they tried to explain away, but got targeted with nine (and counting) lawsuits, before offering up an apology and cheap battery replacements. But not before being trolled by their competition. Let’s face it. Apple has seriously lost their way as I guess they spent way too much time building Apple Park and not enough time building quality products. It will be interesting to see if 2018 turns this around for the better, or we witness Apple continue the decline that it started last year. […]

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