’s Top 10 most popular items of 2011

  •’s Top 10 most popular items of 2011

    It was another big year for tech news in Canada and around the world. 2011 saw the passing of tech legends including Apple chairman Steve Jobs and Unix inventor Dennis Ritchie, it saw the acquisition of some notable Canadian startups like Radian6 by, and the growing popularity of tablets as Apple and Google found success with their platforms while HP and RIM struggled with theirs.

    But looking at our most-viewed items from the past year, it seems readers had an eclectic mix of interests. While you were jumping on some obvious topics like new tablets, you also still showed high interest in new BlackBerry phones and breaking computer security news.

    By Brian Jackson, associate editor,

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  • Motorola Atrix smartphone

    Debuting the Atrix at the beginning of the year at CES in Las Vegas, Motorola pitched this smartphone as a bona fide pocket computer. It even docked with a laptop-shell accessory so users could type on a full keyboard and use the phone OS on a larger screen.

    With a killer spec sheet that includes a large 4-inch QHD display with 24-bit colour graphics, a fast 1Ghz dual core NVDIA Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM, and a fingerprint scanner, the list of features is topped off with an impressive battery life with 9-hour talk time.

    Watch the video here.

    slide 1

  • Malicious Facebook app infects 5 million users

    After receiving a tip from Timothy Wong, one of our Facebook fans, investigated reports of a new spam attack that was tagging photos and leave a link leading to malware. It turned out that a malicious app had managed to infect no less than 5 million Facebook users in just 48 hours. The click bait for the attack featured a dog with human eyes.

    Read the story here.

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  • iPad 2 used to produce original song

    When Steve Jobs launched Apple’s iPad 2 on March 2, he spent much of his time in the spotlight showcasing the new tablet’s music creation capabilities – powered by Garageband, a new app compatible with iOS 4.3. “Anyone can make music now,” Jobs proclaimed as he demonstrated the ìsmartî instruments in the app, and the ability to record real guitars using Apogee’s Jam adapter.

    That prompted to ask: ìReally?î With a little help from Steve Salt and Chris Tindal of 52 Song Project, and thanks to Steam Whistle Brewery lending us a room, we set out to record and produce a song using only the iPad 2.

    Watch the video here.

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  • Landline alternatives: magicJack Plus vs. netTalk Duo

    Paying less for phone bills always seems to catch the attention of Canadans. So it’s no surprise to see that many of you wanted to scope these VoIP products that promise big savings. Skype may be immensely popular, but it’s products like the netTalk Duo and magicJack Plus that make VoIP a more interesting landline alternative.

    Both are USB dongles that plug in to a telephone, a router and a power outlet. The key to that combination is that there is no computer involved. Unlike previous models or services, a PC or Mac is only needed to set up your phone number, but isn’t needed to make or take calls. In other words, your home or office phone will act like any regular landline when all is said and done.

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  • BlackBerry 9900 smartphone

    As much as you hear about Research In Motion falling behind other smartphone makers in the market today, our readers still showed plenty of interest in BlackBerry phones. First readers were interested in blogger Kye Husbands’s assessment of why the device was dead on arrival. Then, somewhat conversely, readers were also interested in what apps they could load onto the new device when senior writer Nestor Arellano collected a list of nine of them.

    Read Husbands’ blog post here and Arellano’s post here.

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  • AMD employees use Eyefinity

    Many modern workers may have two monitors on their desks, but readers were wowed by the workspace setups of Markham, Ont.-based AMD employees that typically have three or more monitors on the go. Putting their own Eyefinity technology to work, these are definitely some of the coolest work stations around. Many readers wanted to eyeball the video of this setup, and we suspect many of them were AMD employees themselves.

    Read the story here.

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  • Logitech closes Canadian office

    When Logitech International, known best for making a variety of computer peripherals, shut down its Mississauga office at the end of September, it laid off Canadian workers and exited the country entirely (as far as organizational presence goes). Some workers not laid off ended up moving to California or India to continue working with Logitech. The annoucment came after the Swiss firm’s stock hit a 52-week low.

    Read the story here.

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  • Hands on with the HP Touchpad

    Long before HP’s Touchpad tablet, powered by webOS, became a bargain bin device selling at a steep discount of $99 for the 16 gb version and $149 for the 32 gb version, it looked like a promising competitor to the iPad and Android Honeycomb tablets. We quite liked the tablet in our early review of it as it first hit the market, and our readers were interested to see the new platform being used hands on. Hopefully those of you wanting to buy the device held out until the fire sales.

    Watch the video here.

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  • Office Suite showdown

    Microsoft has long dominated the Office Suite software space, but challengers like Apple and Google have been winning over some users recently. Our product comparison pitting Microsoft Word 2011 against Google Docs and Apple’s Pages 2009 proved to be a hit with readers. It goes to show that people are willing to change the software they’re used to if they see the possibility of improved productivity.

    Read the story here.

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  • Underground call-centre for ID theft uncovered

    When security company Trusteer spotted an advertisement offering on-demand calls at $10 a pop for cybercriminals to obtain missing pieces of information needed to execute identity theft, readers wanted to know about it. Illegal call services are not new.Their staff is trained to impersonate bank employees, computer technicians, travel agents, recruiters and other people to whom targeted individuals are likely to disclose information.

    Read the story here.

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  • Windows 8 first look

    Microsoft Corp. gave the public its first glimpse of Windows 8 at its Build conference in Anaheim, Calif. in September. The software giant handed out tablets loaded with the developer’s preview version of its next OS, and we produced a video giving a tour. Many readers were interested to see what Microsoft has planned for this mobile-friendly, touch-enabled OS.

    Watch the video here.

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