2020: 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. This year is different as it’s been a dumpster fire of a year. While tech did sort of march on, the focus on the entire planet was elsewhere. Having said that, here’s what happened in tech this year:

In 2020 The Pwnage Was EPIC: Every day brought a new story about someone or something getting pwned by hackers. I’d list all the stories but we’d be here all day. You can get a sense of this by simply searching my blog for “pwnage 2020” or “hacked 2020”. The thing is that this is getting worse and not better. Which means we should all be scared for what might happen in 2021.

Apple Stopped Including Chargers In The Box: Citing environmental reasons, Apple stopped including chargers in the Apple Watch 6 and iPhone 12s. That was a heavily criticized move that apparently is now being copied by Samsung who trolled Apple for not including the charger in the box and is now covering that up. Chinese phone maker Xiaomi is apparently doing the same thing. Does that make Apple right? No. I bet that this was all about boosting their margins. But at least they were first.

The Hammer Drops On Big Tech: Both Facebook and Google get sued by the US government for being too big and too powerful. That’s not a surprise as you could see this coming. The real question is, if anything substantive will happen because of it in 2021 and beyond? Stay tuned to find out.

Trump Faces Off Against TikTok: President Donald Trump faced off against TikTok for something around half the year citing it as a national security threat. Perhaps that’s true as TikTok does do some things that are kind of sketchy. Such as the app itself being incredibly invasive, and the company sending info about American job applicants to China. Or perhaps it’s because anti-Trump types used TikTok to embarrass Trump. Either way, this was an interesting story to watch in 2020, but chances are we won’t be hearing about TikTok in 2021 as Trump will be gone by the end of January and I am sure that the incoming Biden administration won’t care about this.

Apple & Google vs. Epic Games – FIGHT!: Epic Games who makes the game Fortnite wanted to cut a side deal with Apple so that it could make more money. Apple said no. Epic then tried to side load a way to make money into Fortnite which made Apple in turn toss Fortnite off the App Store. And it turns out that they did something similar to Google with led to a similar result. This has led to lawsuits which at the moment aren’t going well for Epic. This is headed to trial in 2021 where I expect Epic to lose. Though I am not a lawyer. But I think Epic will find a way to back down from this and save what little of the Fortnite empire is left before it gets that far.

Cyberpunk 2077 Crashes And Burns: The most hyped video game in the history of the universe ever was released late this year and spectacularly failed. That game was Cyberpunk 2077. Now you perhaps saw this coming as trouble during development was plain to see. The initial release date of April 16th 2020 was first pushed back to September 17th. Then November 19th. Then December 10th. You can blame prepping for so many platforms at the same time for that. When the game finally launched, it was a bug ridden mess that forced Sony and Microsoft to pull the game from their respective platforms and offer refunds. Now some patches and fixes are being rolled out, but is that going to be enough to stave off the hordes of lawyers who are looking to sue the daylights out of CD Projekt who made the game? That’s a question that will be answered in 2021.

Apple Gives The Middle Finger To Intel: Apple this past June dumped Intel in favor of putting their own processors. It wasn’t a shock as the average iPhone made in the last four or five years has a chip in it that runs circles around anything Intel makes. Thus it was only a matter of time before they started to show up in Macs. And based on my look at the MacBook Air with Apple’s new M1 processor, they perhaps should have done it years ago as the M1 processor is miles ahead of Intel on multiple fronts. And this M1 processor will be the slowest processor that Apple will ever make. Which if you are Intel, you should be prepared for PC makers to dump you as well. Ether for AMD who makes better x86 processors than Intel, or for someone else who is using ARM based processors like Apple is. The fact is that Intel’s days are very much numbered given that there are better options out there for computer makers.

Belkin Kills IoT Cameras And Alienates Users In The Process: Belkin lit up the Internet by killing their line of NetCam cameras this past year leaving users with no plan B. They did extend this once, but they killed it once and for all at the end of June. I think that part of the problem is that they did this in the middle of a global pandemic which really ticked users off. Now on one hand, I can say that this should serve as a cautionary tale about IoT gear. Which is that the vendor can kill them at any time and users should know that. But on the other hand Belkin could have handled this way better than they did. And as a result of that, you can bet a lot of people will not be considering Belkin the next time they need gear, IoT or otherwise.

Zooming All The Things: Zoom took off this year because you couldn’t have face to face meetings. Which lead to a lot of scrutiny on Zoom. They had a ton of security issues that they had to deal with. Some of which were were self inflicted. Once the world stops ending, I wonder if they will be as relevant as they are right now.

Bell Takes Flight…. And Flops At The Same Time: A trend that I noted this year is that a lot of people are making the move from Rogers Internet to Bell Internet. That doesn’t surprise me as to be frank Bell has a much better Internet product than Rogers. Which is kind of important when you are working from home as many of us are. You can find out why that is the case here. And it also didn’t help that during this pandemic where everyone is working from home, Rogers was caught throttling their customers. However, something that I also did a lot of is to help customers to fix Bell’s mistakes after the install. For example I had a customer who moved all their services from Rogers to Bell, and they lost their phone service for 36 hours. They could dial out, but nobody could call them. The customer made two calls to Bell with no joy. Then I got involved and explained to Bell that their phone service wasn’t provisioned properly and how I came to that conclusion. Then It got fixed. I could cite other examples, but a rough estimate is that 40% of my clients who switched to Bell had post install issues. That’s not cool. So I have a message to Bell. People shouldn’t have to pay someone like me to make sure your products are properly installed. Thus I would suggest that get your installers into a room and really drill home the message that you don’t leave a customer until everything is working to the customer’s satisfaction. Because it’s stuff like that that gives me reason not to not only recommend Bell to my clients, but to switch to them myself. And believe me, I do want to switch to Bell Internet as it is from my experience way better than Rogers Internet.

Apple vs. Facebook – FIGHT!: Apple has brought out a bunch of privacy changes to iOS 14 that disclose what apps on iOS do and what information they want access to. Facebook got very upset about this and mounted a full court press to get Apple to back down on this. Including an ad campaign that from the perspective of most is full of lies. I’m guessing that Facebook is upset as if users know how invasive Facebook is, they won’t use Facebook and Facebook’s income will nosedive. That’s too bad for Facebook as it is high time that someone introduce Facebook to the concept of respecting their users. Though Apple would have better footing on the moral high ground if they took such a hard stance not just with Facebook, but with China as well seeing as Apple folds up like a cheap suit every time China wants it to seeing as it does China’s bidding without much protest.

And now for some stats. The top ten countries that visited my blog in 2020 are:

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

In all almost 1 million page views were served up this year. Given the year that we all had, that’s pretty good.

And in terms of the top ten stories that were viewed this year:

  1. Review: TP-Link AX1800 Deco X20 Mesh WiFi System
  2. Don’t Fall For This Interac Scam That Is Delivered By Text Message [UPDATED]
  3. Here’s How The Last 4 Digits Of Your Credit Card Can Be Used To Commit Fraud
  4. Rogers Rolling Out New Modem/Routers For Ignite Internet…. Why You Should Care
  5. New Program Offering Canadian Seniors Free Smartphones & Low-Cost Data Plans From TELUS To Help Them Stay Connected
  6. Hyundai Canada Updates Software Update Site To Support More Hyundai Canada Vehicles [UPDATED]
  7. Review: GTA Car Kits Pure Bluetooth Car Kit
  8. How To Move Your E-Mail And Contacts Off The Rogers Yahoo/Oath E-Mail Platform
  9. Android Auto & Apple CarPlay On My 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited
  10. Review: Rogers NextBox 3.0

A story on TP-Link’s mesh WiFi system was number one this year. Likely because everyone and their dog is working from home and having good WiFi is an absolute requirement. For the second year in a row, a story about scams doesn’t shock me seeing how much I wrote about that topic in the last couple of years. Rogers seems to be popular with three stories in the top ten. Though one of them is moving off of the Rogers email platform which should ring alarm bells in the corner offices at Rogers. And two stories about Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in Hyundai vehicles were also in the top ten which I find curious seeing as that upgrade program has ended. But there’s a cheap to free option for Hyundai Canada owners that I wrote about here. Regardless there’s a lot of Hyundai owners in Canada who care about Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Finally, news about low cost data plans for seniors from TELUS got a lot of attention. Perhaps Rogers and Bell should take note?

Now if you have something that you think that should be on this list, leave a comment with your thoughts. Happy new year (hopefully)!

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