What mattered to you this year, in the world of tech
Looking at the most popular news stories on PC Advisor in 2010, it seems that broadband, PC security, the ongoing hand-wringing over who takes responsibility for illegal file sharing and, well, sexy new products - especially Tablet PCs. Here then, are the Top 10 Most Popular Technology News Stories of 2010.
This is a story that's run all year, and still has legs going in to 2011. The news that hundreds of British web users were being forced to fork out £500 after being accused of illegally downloading digital audio and pornography files elicited a broad range of opinion from the many thousands of readers who read it, but mostly it was outrage.
Around 50,000 web users in the UK had received letters from legal firms such as ACS Law, some people ignored the summons, others contested it. The first eight cases that made it to court were thrown out by a judge who said that the case remained unproven.
The story continues to bubble along, with no end in sight, and the principle of dodgy downloaders being held legally responsible remains shaky. Regardless of what happens in 2010, you'll read about it first on PC Advisor.
Here's how to bake a popular news story: take one ounce of Microsoft, and blend in a market leading product. Spice up with an unpatched vulnerability exploited in a geo-political attack on Google, season with publicity about the world's most secretive super power, and then garnish with an out-of-band update marked 'critical'.
When Microsoft in January announced that it was releasing an emergency patch for Internet Explorer (IE), and also admitted that attacks can be hidden inside rigged Office documents, the technology world took notice. This was not least because the vulnerability had been exploited in attacks against Google and other western multinationals, apparently from China. Far from being under the bed, the Reds were in the world's favourite search engine, it seemed.
Want to read about how Steve Ballmer is going to protect you from Chairman Mao? Of course you do. And you did.
Number 3: New Windows 8 features leaked this week
If there's one thing you like more than news about existing products from Microsoft, it's news about the future. What comes after Windows 7? Windows 8. We think.
We wrote this story in the week that documents thought to show Microsoft's plans for the next Windows operating system were leaked online. Apparently. And if the documents are genuine, Microsoft has some big plans for Windows 8. Microsoft may be looking at three broad PC categories for the future: Lap PC, Workhorse PC, and Family Hub PC.
Microsoft wants to add a facial recognition and proximity sensor feature called 'My PC Knows Me', according to the leaked documents.
The idea is that you walk into the room where your PC is, and the proximity sensor detects your movements and wakes the PC. As you sit down at the desk, your PC is already on so it can scan your face to log you in. The computer can also switch between different user accounts with the facial recognition feature.
Once you've finished using the computer and leave the room, the proximity sensor detects that no one is around, logs you off, and puts the computer to sleep.
This, and more even fantastical ideas, formed the story that you read in your droves.
Number 2: Windows XP users warned over F1 key
Once again the combination of a popular Microsoft product and the clammy hand of fears over internet security proved to be a winner, of sorts.
Microsoft in March warned Windows XP users not to press the F1 key when prompted by a website, as part of its reaction to an unpatched vulnerability that hackers could exploit to hijack PCs running Internet Explorer (IE).
In a security advisory Microsoft confirmed an unpatched bug in VBScript found by Polish researcher Maurycy Prodeus, It offered more information on the flaw and provided some advice on how to protect PCs until a patch shipped. Then it shipped a patch. Business as usual for the world's largest software company, and it's long-suffering users.
NEXT: our Number 1 News Story of 2010 >>