TECHGEEK Year In Review 2008 : January & February

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The year that was known as 2008 can’t be called an easy one. From Barack Obama winning the election to an entire year of worry on our economic stability, or the fact that Australia might be acting like China to implement a filter that we didn’t want; TECHGEEK.com.au recollects on the year that was, in a series of posts from the entire year that were in our archives since 2008.

The following retrospective covers the months January and February 2008.

January

We start off with our retrospective to January with the introduction of the government’s proposed filter, with many IT groups (and us) opposed to it. It even managed to gain wide-spread attention across the world, saying that we have become a follower in China’s footsteps. Hmm, maybe that’s why Rudd learnt Mandarin (remember Election 2007?)

Then came CES and MacWorld, and this time we saw the PSP getting Skype, Panasonic releasing the biggest TV (again) and Bill Gates presenting his very last keynote before retiring and working for the company part-time. And while we all have a bit of gadget lust, it was not good news for one blogger from Gizmodo, after being banned for playing a prank to the booths around CES by turning their TVs off – ouch!

The Journal, before being spun off to its own blog, was still here – and our favourite sci-fi show (after Doctor Who) was Torchwood, where it came back for a second (and more emotional – at the end of it) series on January 16. Piracy still rules all Australian hearts. As well, Sony BMG let go of its DRM stance by allowing people to download songs from Amazon DRM-free!

We learnt that SIM Cards can withstand heat temperatures for up to 450 degrees, and Brazil banned EverQuest and Counter-Strike (poor Jay, if he ever goes to Brazil, which is never). We also heard that the merger between the two only satellite radio broadcasters, XM and Sirius, made some investors uneasy after it was still in ‘regulatory limbo’.

Locally, We reported on how Telstra patches up phone lines with plastic bags, found that Optus and Telstra will no longer have a monopoly on the data traffic flowing to US servers, and that Optus’ parent company SingTel was in talks with Apple to have a region-wide exclusive rights to the iPhone, which then turned out to be a non-exclusive thing after being found that it would break competition regulations.

February

On the first day of the month that has only 29 days (leap year!), Foxtel announced that will launch a HD service, following a similar move made by its counterparts owned by News Corporation (Sky and DirecTV). Also during the month, we saw five cables being cut, affecting many international clients and slowing down traffic across the web.

TPG and Soul decided to merge, while claims of the failure rates of the Xbox 360 were higher than the consumer electronics failure rates. But have no fear, (at that time) new editor Sean Hyatt has some ways to stop having your Xbox 360 fail on you while playing your game. But in Security, Hackers managed to upload a torrent containing the entire content, including login information and databases, to the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website – causing a massive security breach.

We saw EA offering $2 billion for rival Take-Two, quarterlife, a web show, being part of NBC’s shows line-up before moving to Bravo, Microsoft getting a $1.4 billion fine for failing to comply with an EU anti-trust ruling, and Vista finally gets a price cut. We found a video to see if the iPhone could count to 1,000 minutes plus. Can it? You will just have to watch and see. Oh, did we mention that we could get an R rating soon?

But wait, there’s more: Vista breaking programs after installing SP1, BBC shows get sold on iTunes in the UK, and HD DVD – the competitor to Blu-Ray in the HD format war – announced its defeat. R.I.P HD DVD. Meanwhile, HP managed to settle with the people it was spying upon.

But the biggest news has to be Underbelly. While it was on the front pages on national news, tech news was having a field day with it, including us. Remember Underbelly being uploaded an hour after being broadcast, with a higher-quality version appearing soon after; or remember that time when most of the unaired episodes were leaked to the internet. Nine even started to a probe to find out who leaked this high-quality Aussie drama.

But what caught everyone’s surprise wasn’t the increase popularity of the hit gangland drama, but it was the announcement on the 1st of February 2008 (our time) when Microsoft announced that it would propose to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion, or $31 per share, before getting rejected by the board of directors on the reason that the bid price was “too low”.