BEST OF THE WEB: The 10 very best tech stories of the year

It’s been a hectic year in tech. We’ve seen Apple come up against its first true competitor in the mobile space, Samsung. We’ve seen the seven-inch tablet form really take off, and we saw Google veteran Marissa Mayer do what many thought unthinkable: Abandon Google to try and save a sinking ship in Yahoo.

Our Best of the Web articles have been designed to bring you the best writing in technology each week. It’s an area that’s seeing more and more high-quality writing, and we’ve attempted to showcase that here.

So with the end of the year approaching, now’s a good time to reflect on the past 12 months. Here are 10 of the best articles we’ve covered this year, ranging from anecdotes about Steve Jobs to an analysis of how Amazon and Apple policies allowed one of the most shocking hacks of the year.

Stick them away in a reader app and space them out over the holiday for some relaxing Christmas-time reading.

Tumblr’s Gen-Y entrepreneur and the blogging revolution

If you’ve paid even fleeting attention to the blogging sphere this year then you’d know Tumblr has taken off like a rocket. And that’s mostly thanks to the company’s 25-year-old founder, David Karp, who has seen the platform move from an obscure blogging option to one of the most important websites of the year. Check out this piece on Wired about Tumblr and the success it’s found in allowing creative freedom.

How Kickstarter is changing everything you know about business funding

Kickstarter has really taken off this year. Crowdfunding isn’t just a throwaway option for a dud idea – there are projects now earning millions of dollars. Check out this piece in The New York Times about the company and how it’s fast becoming the funding platform of the future – and be sure to read about the Pebble watch that earned its founders $7.8 million in a month.

How Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is playing the long-term game

Amazon is one of the few companies that survived the dot-com era and is thriving as a result. This extensive profile in The Economist delves into Jeff Bezos’ business mentality, and how he’s creating a long-term plan to ensure the company’s success extends beyond retail.

The best Steve Jobs stories you’ve never heard

When Steve Jobs died last year, some of the most interesting stories about his professional and personal behaviour came seeping out onto the internet. They were mostly flattering and entertaining, revealing nothing new about his workaholic personality. But this group of anecdotes on Forbes revealed some unheard stories – including one of him dressing up as Santa and handing out $100 bills to employees.

Meet the tech guru running Barack Obama’s campaign

More than ever before, the American election campaigns depended on analysing data. This piece on Mother Jones analysed the tech guru behind Barack Obama’s winning run for a second term.

Why Apple and Amazon are to blame for the year’s most shocking hack

This story should scare you. Wired reporter Mat Honan had his gadgets wiped, his Gmail account hacked and his Twitter taken over after a hacker gained access to his entire digital arsenal. And they did so by simply getting on the phone and pretending to be him. His confession on Wired is a must-read for anyone who has as much as an email account.

Why passwords should die

This is a follow up piece from Mat Honan about the nature of online security, and why passwords are actually one of the weakest forms out there. This is a long read, but well worth it if you’re into digital security of any form. It seems in the future, passwords may just end up dying out in favour of more accurate methods like biotechnology.

Makes sense – after all, Apple bought a fingerprint scanning company this year.

How Yahoo! killed Flickr and lost the internet

There was a time when Yahoo! could have dominated the online photo space with Flickr, but that time is all but gone. This story at Gizmodo chronicles how the husband and wife team behind the business lament its downfall, and the mistakes Yahoo made along the way.

How Mark Zuckerberg transformed into a competent CEO – and took Silicon Valley by surprise

Mark Zuckerberg has been one of the most iconic figures in tech over the past eight years, and with good reason. But this piece in New York Magazine chronicles something many didn’t expect – he’s actually turning into a competent CEO. And that’s a good development, as it’s pretty clear he’s set on keeping control of Facebook for as long as possible.

Why LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman values relationships above all else

Reid Hoffman has had an interesting year, and in the past 18 months his company’s IPO has been one of the few to actually do well. And in this piece at Wired, Hoffman is put under the microscope. What’s revealed is interesting, especially the fact he values relationships with friends and colleagues above all else.

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