ReadWriteReflect offers a look back at major technology trends, products and companies of the past year.
Every once in a while, a tech article grabs you and doesn’t let go—whether it’s because it offers much-needed help and guidance, gives you more insight into an area of interest, or transforms a topic you previously didn’t care about into a fascinating subject.
It’s the same for the editorial staffers at ReadWrite, who took a moment to reflect on a few of their favorite stories of 2013. If you haven’t checked out the following articles before, or would like to revisit some classics—all crafted with original insights and reporting—take a stroll through these selections, hand-picked by our writers and editors.
At first, this article reads like something out of dystopian science fiction. But as Brian piles on the research done to the contrary, it becomes clear that this is our greatest argument for giving the Internet of Things ironclad security.
With iOS 7, my 4S had continual crashes, and the features that everyone raved about (i.e. parallax and motion, automatic app updates) ruined the experience. After applying the changes Adriana talked about in this article, my iPhone’s performance improved. Though it’s still not perfect—iOS 7 is built for iPhone 5 and above—it definitely helped.
This was a terrific ReadWrite story on just about every front. It told readers something surprising about the digital services many have come to rely on, and backed up its assertions with compelling evidence. It deftly moved from discussion of streaming business models (or the lack thereof) to the history of artist-studio relations and back again. And it’s very nicely written, infused with just enough personal perspective and narrative nuance to lend the piece terrific authority while keeping it light on its feet.
Written by Lauren Orsini (@laureninspace)
Lauren does an excellent job breaking down Bitcoin for the casual reader who may not know what it is. I envisioned her in some dark alley buying Bitcoin in person, like she was buying Walter White’s blue meth. Instead, she found a trustworthy, amiable man who helped her understand the Bitcoin market a little better. This piece puts a face on one of the most esoteric technologies of our time.
“Anticipatory systems” is where all that data-gathering by tech companies is supposed to lead—to features that successfully anticipate what people want, and deliver it when and where they want them. It’s the driving force behind numerous current trends, from Foursquare check-ins to Siri and Google Now, as well as emerging trends, like connected homes, wearable computing and the Internet of Things. Owen insightfully keyed in on anticipatory systems and zoomed in on its primary challenge: “… how to design a great anticipatory service around a specific need — without feeling creepy or, worse, clumsy.” Nailed it.
No More Grimy Thrift Store Finds: The Polished Re-Commerce Model Is Here
An article about thrift-store shopping is way outside my field of interest, but Stephanie’s wit and snap had me hooked: “Thrift shopping is a harrowing experience. Anyone who has ever stepped inside a thrift store knows it is a haven of ill-fitting clothes, mysterious stains and the overwhelming smell of mothballs and sadness.” That was my favorite lede of the year.
The tale of GoldieBlox could have been another hackneyed Kickstarter success story. But Lauren Orsini made it distinctive, by focusing on the passions of founder Debbie Sterling and the problems she solved along the way. I’m also enchanted by how readers found the story: With 125,000 pageviews generated through 79,000 shares, it made its way to its audience, not in some mass-media blast, but in the classic way we used to tell each other stories—person to person.