We've seen a lot of innovation in technology this year: 3D printing's gone from bones to guns, single-channel EEG's making its commercial debut and Augmented Reality looks like it'll finally function, thanks to Google Glass. But with innovation comes obsolescence, and sadly, 2012 was a year in which many things peaked.
The slideshow below is a mishmash of memes, devices and tech trends, all of which have (we predict) seen their best days. Click on through to see what's old and new, then comment here or tweet to @HuffPostTech to tell us what from 2012 you'll miss.
Over the summer, <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/11/ff-mat-honan-password-hacker/">Wired columnist Mat Honan</a> saw his digital life erased, as hackers hankering after his Twitter handle, he recounts, <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/11/ff-mat-honan-password-hacker/">"wipe[d] every one of my devices, my iPhone and iPad and MacBook, deleting all my messages and documents and every picture I’d ever taken of my 18-month-old daughter."</a> His post-mortem account of the hack and his subsequent foray into the <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/11/ff-mat-honan-password-hacker/">"world of online security"</a> revealed what we were all too afraid to think; no matter how long, complicated, or "strong" your password, it's no longer strong enough to keep your data safe. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57558223-83/no-password-is-safe-from-this-new-25-gpu-computer-cluster/">Jeremi Gosney, founder and CEO of Stricture Consulting group</a>, proved the point further in December, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57558223-83/no-password-is-safe-from-this-new-25-gpu-computer-cluster/">inventing a 25 GPU computer cluster that can crack any eight-character-or-fewer password in 5.5 hours, maximum. </a> So what's the alternative? Well, Android and Microsoft have been leading the charge to displace the primitive password, inventing <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/251906/android_pattern_lock_stumps_fbi.html">patternlock</a> and <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/09/microsofts-picture-password-a-breath-of-fresh-air-on-the-lockscreen-of-all-places/">picture passwords</a> respectively. Problems? Those methods rely on touchscreens, and we often don't use touchscreen-related devices to access our Email. And until a viable password alternative reaches our laptops, all our data is unsafe.
Live in New York City? Watch broadcast television? Toss your flatscreen or junk those rabbit ears, because now you can turn your computer into a TV. The culprit? <a href="https://www.aereo.com/">Aereo</a>, a Brooklyn-based startup, which uses <a href="https://www.aereo.com/">"remote antennas"</a> to catch TV content as it's broadcasted over the airwaves. Aereo users looking for a particular show can choose to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/aereo-broadcasters-streams-networks-tv_n_1690173.html">watch the content live or record it</a>. Sadly, the service is currently in New York only, but we eagerly await expansions: it seems about time we should be able to watch live TV on the internet.
It's getting harder and harder to take an ugly photo these days. Flat lighting and dull colors? Add atmosphere with one of the dozens (if not hundreds) of filters offered by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/11/twitter-adds-vintage-filt_n_2274901.html">Twitter</a>, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9742122/Flickr-app-adds-Instagram-style-filters.html">Flickr</a> or <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/every-instagram-filter_n_1553101.html">Instagram</a>. Poor focus? No longer a problem with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/27/lytro-camera-pictures_n_1827975.html">Lytro</a>, a camera that lets you take photos that can be after-the-fact refocused. Bad perspective becomes a thing of the past with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/future-of-photography-photos-2012_n_2273080.html">Google Photosphere</a>, and lifelogging devices like <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/23/memoto-wearable-lifelogging-camera_n_2004559.html">Memoto</a> and the <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/autographer-wearable-camera-will-save-your-life-or-track-your-staff-7000004775/">Autographer</a> mean you'll never miss the perfect photo op.
Congress Ignoring Nerds
Revenge of the nerds? Maybe. In January, Congress tried to pass SOPA and PIPA, two bills that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/sopa-blackout-internet-censorship_n_1211905.html">"would give both the government and major corporations the power to shut down entire websites accused of copyright infringement with neither a trial nor a traditional court hearing."</a> "Nerds" -- or at least "people who hang out on the internet a lot" -- responded dramatically; <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/sopa-blackout-internet-censorship_n_1211905.html">anti-SOPA protests on January 18th blacked out thousands of websites, including Mozilla, Reddit and Wikipedia. </a> SOPA and PIPA bills died inglorious deaths and by the end of the year, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/barack-obama-reddit-ama_n_1840908.html">politicians were making campaign stops on Reddit</a> -- the very place where the PIPA/SOPA protests gained steam. The "internet demographic," meanwhile, has hardly grown complacent: in July, the <a href="http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/internet-defense-league-creates-cat-signal-to-save-web-from-next-sopa/">newly formed Internet Defense League proposed a "cat signal," a "code supporters of the Internet Defense League can embed in their websites…[to] tell you another bad law threatening Internet freedom is making the rounds."</a>
Once upon a time, a tech company could make a smartphone without being sued. Sadly, those days are no longer, as more and more big tech companies decide to litigate rather than innovate. We can blame Apple for starting it -- Apple's <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/28/apple-rot-starts-with-samsung-lawsuit-win">always been a litigious company</a>, but the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/apple-samsung-lawsuit-verdict_n_1829268.html">Samsung/Apple sue-off really brought smartphone battles to a new level.</a> Then Google got into the game, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/15/google-motorola-mobility_n_927670.html">buying Motorola for its patent storehouse</a> and <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/18/motorolas-patent-lawsuit-against-apple-targets-siri-location-reminders-email-notifications-more/">proceeding to try and sue Siri out of existence.</a> Other smartphone companies jumped into the fray (<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/us-ericsson-samsung-idUSBRE8AQ0B020121127">Ericsson sued Samsung</a>, <a href="http://www.webpronews.com/nokia-is-suing-google-over-patents-again-2012-07">Nokia sued Nexus</a>). <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-among-tech-giants-can-stifle-competition.html?pagewanted=all">Essays were written discouraging tech companies from using patents as "swords,"</a> but to no avail. The saddest part, of course, is that no one in these patent battles seems to care what's best for the users -- Apple and Google, this past year, have <a href="http://www.geekosystem.com/apple-google-patents/">spent more money purchasing patents then they have on research and design.</a>
Apple's Aura Of Invincibility
Remember when Apple could do no wrong? Sadly for Apple CEO Tim Cook those days are now over thanks almost entirely to the debacle that was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/apple-maps-vs-google-maps_n_2293894.html">Apple Maps.</a> Apple's proprietary mapping system, pre-installed and forced-default on the iPhone 5, was an unmitigated disaster, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/new-iphone-5-maps-failing_n_1918884.html">leading patients away from hospitals</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/apple-maps-life-threatening-australian-police_n_2271499.html">stranding travelers in National Parks.</a> The debacle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/scott-forstall-resigns-apple-maps_n_2043927.html">got Scott Forstall, head of iPhone's software development, fired, </a> and combined with <a href="http://seekingalpha.com/article/1029551-peak-smartphone-theory">continuing patent litigation</a> and <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/iphone-peaked-apple-iphone-4s-seen-outselling-iphone-153025940.html">the underwhelming iPhone 5</a> caused Apple stock to tumble from its once stratospheric highs.
Human-Powered Food Delivery
Clearly, we're all unsatisfied with the state of food delivery in America -- what else explains the wild popularity of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/tacocopter-startup-delivers-tacos-by-unmanned-drone-helicopter_n_1375842.html">Tacocoptor</a>, a high-tech taco delivery service using drones and iPhones to deliver your meal? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/tacocopter-startup-delivers-tacos-by-unmanned-drone-helicopter_n_1375842.html">Tacocoptor was never meant to be more than a concept,</a> but before the end of the year, it had inspired <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/burrito-bomber-flying-parachute-delivery_n_2270732.html">Leonardo the Pizzacoptor and the Burrito Bomber,</a> both actual working drones that could do actual working food delivery. Of course delivering food by drone is still prohibited by the FAA, but the recently signed FAA Modernization and Reform Act could change that. The Act requires the FAA to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/burrito-bomber-flying-parachute-delivery_n_2270732.html">"allow drones built by private companies to fly in US airspace, and could open up a pathway for drone delivery of parcels, mail, and -- yes -- burritos." </a>
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