2012: a year in tech

The year in social media.
The year in social media.

People are captivated by gadgets, so it is no surprise the Apple iPhone continued to be one of the most popular Technology and Digital Life topics this year, accounting for several top stories, but it was two science discoveries that captured the most attention. You can re-read them, or enjoy them for the first time, by following the supplied links.

1. Where did it go? Scientists "undiscover" Pacific island

The incredible story of the team of Australian scientists who found an island that appeared on maps and charts, but didn't actually exist.

2. Two-million-year-old skeleton found in Cradle of Humankind

In July, South African scientists claimed to have uncovered the most complete skeleton yet of an ancient relative of man, hidden in a rock excavated from an archaeological site three years ago.

3. Apple unveils iPhone 5

September saw the biggest technology release of the year. Not surprisingly, people from all over the world hit the internet to know more and the story on the Sydney Morning Herald online was one of the most viewed.

4. Confused? So was Kristen Neel

Kristen Neel, a teenager from Georgia in the US, gained Twitter infamy in Australia in a matter of hours on the night of the presidential election with one misguided tweet. After news President Obama won four more years, the 18-year-old tweeted: "I'm moving to Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says." She has since deleted her Twitter account.

5. Why Avis went overboard at 28 and ditched her $250,000 job

"I suppose I just woke up one day [in 2008] and said, 'I've done all the things I'm supposed to do to make me happy and successful and I'm not', so I kind of went a bit overboard and just ditched my job, ditched my boyfriend and booked a ticket to Africa and went and lived in a rainforest." Avis Mulhall is now working as a tech entrepreneur in Sydney.

6. Fixing iPhone's battery and data drain bugs

Users of the latest iPhone reported poor battery life on the new device. Deputy technology editor Ben Grubb offered tips to improve it and readers loved it.

7. Why I abandoned the iPhone

After several generations of loyalty to his mobile phone, the worm had turned on Apple, wrote tech columnist Charles Wright in July.

8. If you use Google, you may want to read this

In March, Google began to aggregate all the information it acquires about its users who are logged in to Google services into a single, unified pool of data.

9. Real-life anime girl joins "human dolls"

A 19-year-old Ukrainian woman transformed herself into a real-life anime girl, with a daily ritual of painstakingly applying make-up to create a look that's a spitting image of characters from Japanese cartoons or computer animation.


10. Facebook mistakes elbow for breast

The social network's strict policy of banning "pornographic" content was in the spotlight in November. After realising its blunder, Facebook later restored the photo and apologised: "We made a mistake and sent an apology to the original poster," it told gossip blog Gawker.

11. "Rude awakening" for Mac users: serious Mac flaw needs urgent fix

In April, Mac users got a rude wake-up call when it was revealed more than 500,000 Apple machines had been infected with a virus. Even Apple couldn't deny it, releasing an urgent patch to plug at least a dozen security holes in its software.

12. Email after hours? It's overtime by law for some

The backlash against 24-hour connectivity started to gather pace around the world early in January, after Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff approved a new law that determined answering work emails on smartphones after the end of shifts qualified workers for overtime.

This story 2012: a year in tech first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.