We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2011!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Modern Warfare 3, the next video game in the enormously popular Call of Duty franchise, is set for a Nov. 8, 2011 release and Activision on Tuesday teased the eagerly awaited title with an action-packed trailer (video below).
Earlier this month, gaming site Kotaku claimed that a leaked audio clip from Modern Warfare 3 contained a reference to SEAL Team Six, the Navy commandoes who took out Osama bin Laden on May 2.
If that reference exists, it wasn't contained in the official trailer, which managed to whet Call of Duty fans' appetites for what looks to be a blockbuster first-person shooter jam-packed with high-stakes action in "the next global conflict."
"It doesn't take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict, just the will of a single man," intones a brief spot of narration in the trailer. That conflagration kicks in the streets of New York, presumably following through on a Russian invasion that was imminent at the end of Modern Warfare 2.
The action then moves to England, France, and Germany. Clips of crashing trains, tank battles, tumbling buildings, air strikes, amphibious assaults, and lots and lots of street fighting are interspersed throughout.
Developer Kuma Games has released an update to its first-person-shooter Kuma War 2 that allows gamers to protect—or kill—Osama Bin Laden. And this isn't just some Unreal Tournament-style skin job: No, Kuma Games has faithfully recreated a map based on the assault on Bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan compound.
The mission, "Osama 2011," comes as the 107th and likely final update to the company's free squad-based first-person shooter. When joining the game, Kuma War players are automatically assigned to one of two teams for the final Bin Laden mission: U.S. Navy SEALS, tasked with killing Bin Laden and recovering the body, or Bin Laden defenders, who have to save Bin Laden from harm by eliminating all opposing players.
"At Kuma, we are very sensitive and respectful of American and coalition soldiers and the sacrifices they are making every day," said Kuma Games CEO Keith Halper in an interview with Forbes. "We hope that by telling their stories with such a powerful medium that we enable the American public to gain a better appreciation of the conflicts and the dangers they face."
Sohaib Athar, the man who accidentally livetweeted the raid on Osama bin Laden has been hacked, he confirmed via Twitter.
Athar, who goes by the Twitter handle @ReallyVirtual, said early this morning that his blog, which was linked via his Twitter page, had been infected with malware. Websense, for its part, said in a blog post that the poorly detected malware used a "blackhole exploit kit" to serve the malware. Not surprisingly, Websense said that its customers were protected.
"Anyone going to this page would also load content from the malicious URL above, and the Blackhole Exploit Kit would then try to use several exploits to automatically install malware on the PC," the firm wrote. "The malware that the drive-by-download attempts to install is a fake system tool named 'WindowsRecovery' that claims to have found problems on the victim's computer."
The malware then would have hidden all the files and folders in the user's hard drive and desktop - then offer to restore them for a price, which a Websense graphic indicated was $79.50.
It wasn't clear from Athar's account whether he had successfully removed the malware from his blog or taken it down.
"Can you imagine what's on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?"
That's the question a U.S. official posed to Politico recently in an article that revealed the government is now in possession of the deceased terrorist leader's computers.
The Navy SEALs who infiltrated bin Laden's compound Sunday, killing him and several others, also confiscated computer drives and disks that the U.S. official said was "the mother lode of intelligence." The contents of those machines are currently being torn apart at a secret location in Afghanistan.
"It's going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable," the official told Politico.
Osama bin Laden has likely stayed off the grid for the past decade in order to evade capture, but was it his aversion to tech that actually did him in?
During a late-night press briefing on bin Laden's death, the White House said that the Abbottabad, Pakistan's compound's lack of an Internet connection was one of the things that tipped off investigators.
"It's also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it. The brothers had no explainable source of wealth," a senior administration offical told reporters.
The brothers in question are a trusted bin Laden courier and his sibling. The White House said intelligence officials became aware of this courier four years ago thanks to information provided by detainees, but only uncovered his location in August 2010.
White House officials said they were "shocked" by the compound.
Osama Bin Laden's death is a clear victory in the war on terror for the U.S., but as someone who was working in New York City on September 11, 2001, this event also highlights just how much has changed in the world of technology, communication and news dissemination in the last 10 years.
Nearly a decade ago, I marveled at how technology allowed us to not only learn about the attack on the World Trade Center, but experience it as it unfolded. Back then, I relied heavily on AOL's Instant Messenger to communicate with my team in the office and those scattered around the country. As a result, AIM was a constant presence on my desktop and it's through that platform that I learned of the first jet hitting one of the towers. With that distressing information in hand, our staff gathered in a conference room to watch TV news on a larger projection TV. As a result, we all witnessed the second plane hit the other tower and knew we were under attack.
I used AIM throughout the day to stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers. Most of my news updates, however, were delivered via TV and radio. There was no Google News, no Facebook, no Twitter, or YouTube for anyone to post eyewitness accounts.
Last night, much of the world learned of Osama bin Laden's death hours before President Barack Obama announced it in a televised news conference at roughly 11:35pm Eastern. Back in 2001, those sharing news about the airplane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers were simply repeating what they had seen on local television networks. Real news was rarely traded on the point-to-point instant messaging service. In fact, there was no concept of a viral network or participants simply sharing what they were experiencing to a wider group without thought of import or impact.
Update: We've updated the image.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces, Google has updated Google Maps to show the location of bin Laden's compound. Above, you can see how it looks with satellite view turned on. Just search for "Osama bin Laden Compound" in Google Maps to get a look yourself.