The 2018 Bruceb News Year In Review

Bruceb News Year In Review 2018

Remember when I wrote an article a year ago predicting that always-connected computers would be heavily promoted in 2018?

Yeah, about that: not even close. Nada. All the buzz died away when the first PCs in that category turned out to be underpowered and, well, pretty awful.

Okay, that prediction didn’t pan out. But that wasn’t all! I also told you that the battle between Amazon and Google over home assistants would be the source of the most interesting technology advances in 2018, and that prediction worked out okay. So not a complete strikeout, eh?

I wrote a few other things last year that may have helped you navigate the ever-changing technology landscape. Here are a few articles to revisit when you can’t sleep.

 


Security

Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2018

The essential guide to being secure in a dangerous world.

 

A few more security tips, including one about the scariest scam of the year, where the bad guys quote one of your old passwords and claim to have a compromising video from your laptop camera.

Your Neighbor Is Not Calling You: 3.4 Billion Reasons Not To Answer The Phone

Security Warning: Malicious Email Reaches Epidemic Levels

The Bad Guys Do Not Have A Video Of You Looking At Porn

The Bad Guys Do Not Have A Video Of You Looking At Porn

 

Four articles about improving your password habits and adopting tools to help you stay secure.

The Password Lecture

The Password Lecture

These Shocking Facts About LastPass Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Saving Passwords In Google Chrome Is Better Than Nothing (And That’s A Good Thing!)

Better Security With Two Factor Authentication

 


Cybersecurity

Cyber battles between national governments and large enterprises are being fought largely behind the scenes. I wrote three articles to help you understand the headlines and get a deeper understanding of the real issues behind the daily political ruckus.

FBI Warns That Your Router Is Possessed By Demons; Government Recommends Panic

FBI Warns That Your Router Is Possessed By Demons; Government Recommends Panic

“The Perfect Weapon” Is The Perfect Book For 2018

Decoding Russian Cyberattacks: The Difference Between Hacking And Meddling

 


Ecosystems

Five companies dominate our technology worlds, seeking our loyalty when we choose devices and services. Each has different motivations and each uses different techniques to draw us into their ecosystems. These articles provide an overview of the business strategies used by the big technology companies to control the hardware, software, services, and media that you can use most easily.

All Your Loyalties Are Belong To Us: How Technology Companies Lure Us Into Walled Gardens

The Apple Ecosystem: Life Behind The Greatest Wall

The Amazon Ecosystem: The Company That Wants To Sell Everything To Everyone

The Google Ecosystem: You Will Be Assimilated

The Microsoft Ecosystem: Evolution And Extinction

The Microsoft Ecosystem: Evolution And Extinction

The Samsung Ecosystem: When Technology Is Driven By Jealousy

 


Business and news analysis

I wrote a number of analytical articles in 2018 about businesses and topics in the news, and new services that are changing our world. If there’s a theme, perhaps it’s the unintended consequences of business and political decisions when they do not take into account the nuances of how people use and design technology.

Tech Giants And World Domination

Net Neutrality & SESTA: The Big Will Grow Bigger

Facebook And Fake Accounts: A Miscalculation Of Scale

Facebook And Fake Accounts: A Miscalculation Of Scale

Algorithms And Paperclips: How Facebook Drives Us Apart

Around The World In 80 Taps: Google Pay, Apple Pay, And Contactless Paymentss

The End Of New Product Announcements

Prepare Yourself (And Your Budget) For Subscription Fatigue

Google Knows So Much About You That It’s Creepy, But It Might Not Be An Invasion Of Privacy

 


Microsoft

What an interesting year for Microsoft! Windows and Office are legacy products that still generate lots of revenue but which are being downplayed in favor of Satya Nadella’s vision of Microsoft as an enterprise-focused company that provides the plumbing for the entire Internet. It’s hard to argue: at the end of 2018 Microsoft was the most valuable company on the planet, ahead of Apple and Amazon and Facebook. We will still use Windows and Office for a long time, and Microsoft will profess to be excited about them as it seeks to extend their life, but Microsoft is a much different company than it was ten years ago and small businesses and consumers are not its primary focus any more.

Microsoft Acknowledges The Inevitable: Windows Is Sailing Into The Sunset

Microsoft Acknowledges The Inevitable: Windows Is Sailing Into The Sunset

Could Microsoft Have Kept Windows Relevant?

How Microsoft Became Uncool And Lost Touch With Consumers

The Microsoft Ecosystem: Evolution And Extinction

Microsoft Has Not Made Any Progress On Sorting Out Its Personal And Work Accounts

 


Google

Google is obtaining massive amounts of data about each and every one of us. So far it is using its vast AI and machine learning powers to provide genuinely useful services like Google Photos and Google Assistant. We are forced to trust the company’s culture and hope it preserves our privacy and treats us fairly.

Google Performs An Amazing Magic Trick With Artificial Intelligence

Google Performs An Amazing Magic Trick With Artificial Intelligence

The Google Ecosystem: You Will Be Assimilated

The Definitive Answer To Which Is Better: An Amazon Echo Or A Google Home

Put A Google Home Hub On Your Xmas List

Google Knows So Much About You That It’s Creepy, But It Might Not Be An Invasion Of Privacy

 


A few more tips

In 2018 it became possible to store files online in services like Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive, but browse through them in File Explorer on our PCs as if they were stored on the hard drive. It’s a subtle but important change that will seem natural before long. I’ve written about that frequently.

Store Your Files In The Server In The Sky

Store Files Online, View Them On Your Computer With Dropbox Smart Sync

Box Drive Hits A Milestone

Store Your Files In The Server In The Sky

OneDrive Can Automatically Back Up Your Documents, Pictures And Desktop Folders

 

I also wrote some specific tips – about a problem that many people dealt with after the April 2018 update to Windows 10; about shopping for small PCs; and the article about surge protectors which in some ways was my single most unexpected discovery in 2018.

How To Fix Low Disk Space Notifications After Installing Windows 10 April 2018 Update

Itsy Bitsy Teensy Weensy PCs

Itsy Bitsy Teensy Weensy PCs

Am I The Only One Who Didn’t Know That Surge Protectors Wear Out?

 

Many thanks to my colleagues at TeamLogic IT of Santa Rosa, Mike Cook, and all the clients, friends and readers who make it so much fun to work in this exciting age of technology. I look forward to finding out what 2019 will bring. All my best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year!