As 2018 nears its end, it’s time to reflect on a year that isn’t particularly memorable.
If anything, it may be remembered as just a(nother) year of data breaches and security risks. It began in January when it was revealed that just about every CPU (Intel, AMD, ARM) is vulnerable to the Spectre and/or Meltdown exploits that could potentially allow access to sensitive data stored in an operating system’s protected kernel. In March, it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica had scraped the data of at least 87 million Facebook users for nefarious purposes.
MyFitnessPal, Ticketfly, MyHeritage, Ticketmaster, Reddit, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Marriott were just some of the other famous names who had substantial user data compromised during the year (and are known of). Google announced the planned shutdown of its Google+ platform following (two publicised) data breaches.
Mailboxes were flooded with TOS update notifications as the EU parliament implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years” on 25 May 2018. Social media analytics service Klout shut down the same day.
In December, German news weekly Der Spiegel admitted that one of its top journalists, award-winning Claas Relotius, had been making up stories for years.
I spent most of 2018 clearing out old webris, netsam and saved information by way of revising South African record labels in Discogs. I wrote a guest post for the Discogs blog. Because I also spent much time on the road I’m a little dismayed that I’ll have to drag the project into the new year although, serendipitously, the second item on the list comes just in time as SmugMug buys Flickr, a service I’ve also been meaning to revisit.
Microsoft bought GitHub for $7.5 billion. Windows 10 finally overtook Windows 7 in global (online) usage. In September, Apple‘s worth hit the $1 trillion mark.
Android turned 10. Google (the search engine) turned 20 (around as long as I’ve been using it). NASA turned 60. Keith Richards turned 75.
Thanos snapped his fingers. Comic and MCU cameo legend Stan Lee died.
Other deaths during the year include that of Winnie Mandela, Nick Meglin (Mad Magazine‘s former herder of the usual gang of idiots), Sci-Fi author Harlan Ellison, physicist Stephen Hawking, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, playwright Neil Simon, as well as actors R. Lee Ermey, Burt Reynolds, and Douglas Rain (the voice of HAL 9000).
We lost recording engineer Geoff Emerick, French crooner Charles Aznavour, Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, and Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.
Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA and Naomi Parker Fraley, the girl in the “We can do it” poster also passed on.
Courage, our Jack Russell terrier died. He was over 17 years old.
Sony released a new Aibo robot dog.
Germany again went to Russia wholly unprepared and were booted out in the first round of the FIFA World Cup.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin were re-elected as leaders of their respective empires. US president Donald Trump met North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. England’s Prince Harry married a coloured girl. Jacob Zuma finally resigned as President of South Africa. Bill Cosby is now a convicted sexual offender.
In the UK, KFC ran into a shortage of chicken. Kids took to eating laundry detergent pods.
Cyclone Friederike (known as “David” in some countries) caused some two billion euros in damage across Europe. It blew a roof tile off our house. Weed is now legal in Canada.
The worst wildfires in Californian history ravaged most of the celebrity enclave of Malibu. Much of Europe experienced abnormal temperatures and drought, causing wildfires in Sweden and in Greece. Indonesia was again struck by several tsunamis and earthquakes.
NASA’s InSight lander successfully touched down on the Martian surface. Japan landed three robots on asteroid Ryugu. Elon Musk shot his Tesla roadster into space.
And, as is custom, here’s this year’s bevy of Christmas babes.
Photo credits: hmvh DOT net + Unknown