Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

2012-2013_thumbIt’s the time of the year again that we reflect on the news and the events that made the headlines over the past 12 months. Every major newspaper and TV show have some documentary or extra edition dedicated to last year’s big events, whether it was the facebook IPO, the discovery of the Higgs particle, the London Olympics, the US Presidential elections, … you’ll find it all.

But count on social media and tech giants Google and Twitter to take it even one step further. Google have launched their “Zeitgeist 2012”, a magnificent, inspiring video and a website that slices and dices the most searched data of the past year in a variety of ways (timelines, maps, … and you can even model it so you can see what the big stories were in your country).

Twitter has made a “2012 Year In Review”, which allows you to look back at last year’s top trending topics, the newest twitter celebs, etc. as well as look back at your own Twitter year in review via a service called Vizify, which will help you relive your own biggest Twitter moments.
As the company itself sais “Every day, we’re amazed and humbled by the many ways in which people use Twitter, which range from simply retweeting to igniting conversations with hashtags (even around lesser-known topics) to sharing spectacular and far-flung views. In 2012, everyone on Twitter brought us closer to moments and places that used to be far away or inaccessible: A Tweet from the bottom of the ocean. Tweets from Mars. An extraordinary view from space of Superstorm Sandy. A quiet backstage moment with a presidential candidate. All of these and millions of other such moments were ours to experience directly wherever we were, in the midst of work or play or travel.

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Both services are fun and will help you relive some of the biggest moments of 2012.

On the retro side, and more specifically on the Commodore front, the biggest news items for me were the 30th anniversary of the Commodore C64 which we celebrated in style with “Commodore month”. It made everyone go on a trip down memory lane, dust of the old joysticks and relive the excitement of this wonderful machine. The London Summer Olympics also were the ideal opportunity to bring the C64 outside and have my kids play some classic Summer Games along with their friends.

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But not only the C64 had its birthday celebration, it was also the 35th anniversary of the computer business as a whole, as in 1977 the industry was “launched” at the West Coast Computer Faire (WCCF) with Apple showcasing its Apple II and Commodore launching the PET. Even to this day, the PET holds some mysteries as a it was only last June that a team of users of the CBM mailing list succeeded in unfolding the specs of the strange and undocumented 6702 chip that appeared in the SuperPET and was effectively used by software companies as a “dongle” to prevent unauthorized use.

More on the hardware side, we saw Petro’s (Tyschtschenko, the former president of Amiga) sale of original and unopened Amiga 1200’s, which he must have found in some dark corner of some abandoned warehouse. It created quite the buzz in the Amiga community.

Whilst Apple and Samsung were battling it out in court during their “patent wars”, Apple starting to slip as their iPhone 5 was not the next big thing everyone was hoping for (remember Apple Maps?) and Microsoft releasing Windows 8, your trusty breadbox was getting a firm foothold in the “Cloud” as services like Commodore Live and Commodore Server continue to provide virtual 1541’s for your enjoyment. The latter even upgraded their services this year so that your C64 cannot only read D64 files directly from the web, but even access up to 10 drives at the same time! Talk about some serious scifi that’s a reality for your beige beast!

The Commodore C64 also remains a subject of study, as a team of University professors published the book “10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10” in November.
This book takes a single line of code, the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title, and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture (if you didn’t already order a copy, do it now!)

But perhaps the biggest news of all, and also the saddest, was the passing of Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore and one of the greatest computer pioneers, on Sunday, April 8th.

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The tributes to Jack have been huge and he’s truly recognized as the man that helped shape the industry in what it is today and his contribution is no less, and perhaps more than that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, because after all, he was the man that made computers for the masses, not the classes.

Have a wonderful and great New Year everyone and see you in 2013!

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