Most read tech stories of 2013 – Irish coders, Android and a new era in TV viewing

31 Dec 2013

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In our round-up of some of the most-read tech stories of 2013, we look at how a 13-year-old Irish coder enthralled the giant of Silicon Valley, how Android is eating the world (in terms of smartphones), and how the TV landscape is changing before our eyes.

13-year-old Irish coder and CEO addresses the titans of Silicon Valley

In May, we reported that Jordan Casey, a 13-year-old from Waterford (he has since turned 14) who taught himself how to write code and who at 12 was one of the youngest entrepreneurs to publish an app in the App Store, was to speak at the prestigious 20th TiEcon conference in California where he imparted the lessons of a CEO to the top brass from LinkedIn, Amazon, Netflix, PayPal and many others.

Jordan, the CEO of Casey Games, first came to our attention in 2012 when he published his first game, Alien Ball Vs Humans on the Apple App Store.

Jordan is constantly in demand as a conference speaker and in the past year he has spoken in Germany, England, France and India.

Android takes more than 80pc of global smartphone market, led by Samsung

android

Whatever way you look at it, 2013 was the year of the Android as Google’s operating system continued to gobble up loads of smartphone real estate.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 261.1m smartphones shipped worldwide during the third quarter of 2013, representing a 39.9pc increase year-on-year.

Of these shipments, 81pc were Android devices.

Among those operating in the Android space, Samsung carved out the biggest slice of the pie with 39pc of all Android smartphone shipments in Q3, while most other Android manufacturers’ market share laments in the single digits.

Back on Earth, astronaut Chris Hadfield continued to share photos from space

hadfield

He went to space and a new star was born. Across the world, the antics of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield brought us all a little closer to the stars as his photos and renditions of Space Oddity amazed and entranced us during his time aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The most popular of our Hadfield stories related to his continuing to post photos shot from space even after he had landed back on Earth on 13 May after a five-month mission aboard the ISS.

His series of photos showed us an Earth we barely knew existed.

Major brute force attack against WordPress

A major brute force attack against blogging site WordPress took place during the year, involving a giant botnet that commanded up to 90,000 servers in the attack.

A study of various attack patterns led to security software firm Sucuri concluding that the number of brute force attacks against WordPress had trebled and that reports of attacks are accurate.

“Brute force attacks have reached epidemic levels,” said Peter Armstrong, managing director of Spiral Hosting at the time.

Smile, GAA Football fans!

The 360-degree photo-capture technology FanPic has been used at other major sporting events and stadiums worldwide – including football matches at Ireland’s Aviva Stadium – but its usage for the first time at Croke Park in the lead-up to the All Ireland finals caused quite a stir.

Photos were uploaded the day after each match and fans were able to search the crowd, tag themselves and share the image on Facebook.

SCEE Worldwide Studios SVP explains the new PlayStation ecosystem

denny

In the lead-up to the launch of the PlayStation 4, Michael Denny, senior vice-president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Worldwide Studios, gave us a detailed view of Sony’s vision for the next-generation console.

Denny expressed his belief that, first and fundamentally, the PlayStation 4 needs not just the best games, but the most unique games. “It’s incumbent on us to try and differentiate, to try and give the platform some exclusive titles that show something different about PlayStation.”

He pointed to games like Heavy Rain and Journey as genre-defining titles that have tried, and succeeded, to do something new with the PlayStation platform, and this innovation is set to continue with the PlayStation 4.

A nation of gamers

Pre-orders for the recently released PlayStation 4 console were stronger in Ireland than in any other country in the world, a comparison of GameStop global pre-orders suggested.

Consumers in Ireland also logged the most pre-orders in Europe for the Xbox One console, with Australia having nabbed the most Xbox One pre-orders on a global basis.

The video-game retailer reported that with thousands of PlayStation 4 pre-orders, and with 51 stores across the country, Ireland came out on top on a per store basis, based on the global pre-order comparisons.

TV will never be the same again

The changing TV landscape featured large among our most-read stories of 2013, whether it was second-screen experiences or major shifts in set-top box experiences.

Among the most read stories of 2013 was UPC’s launch of its Horizon set-top box, which came with a bundle of integrated TV apps, 350 hours of recording time and built-in Wi-Fi for the multitude of connected devices that are scattered around homes these days.

We caught up with the new CEO Magnus Ternsjö to ask him what impact the device could have on the TV market. He described the arrival of the box as a “defining moment in Irish TV.”

Another pivotal moment in Irish TV came when Eircom began its onslaught on the TV landscape with its eVision TV service, which offers 34 channels for €10 a month.

Programming is delivered via Eircom’s eFibre fibre broadband network, which is only available in select locations for the time being. However, eFibre’s reach should extend to 1m homes by June 2014, according to Eircom’s roadmap.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com