The Best and Worst of 2010

Not content with completing a two post review of my blogging year, I thought I’d also look back and reflect on some of the good and not so good products, people, things etc of the past year.  My own little award ceremony if you like.  Although the prizes for each winner are limited to being merely mentioned.  No cash prizes or tasteful little statuettes I’m afraid.  My budget simply doesn’t stretch that far.  So, without further ado (I’ve never used that word in a blog post before and I have now done so twice in a very short space of time….who’d have thunk it?), here are my winners and losers for 2010.

Social Network of the Year – Twitter

ijclarkThere is quite a number of social networks to choose from, with Flickr, LibraryThing and Delicious being other personal favourites of mine.  However, many of the things that I have achieved this year would have been difficult if not impossible without the help of Twitter.  Yes, it has its moments of gremlins and glitches, but it has been genius in so many other ways.  So, despite the odd hiccup, Twitter is without doubt my social network of the year.

Internet Utility of the Year – Dropbox

Dropbox has been a real bonus for me.  Simple to use, it not only ensures access from any PC via the website, you can also download a Dropbox folder onto your laptop or desktop and any file added to it will be synced across your devices (including your smartphone).  So, saving a Word document on my desktop to the Dropbox folder ensures that within minutes I can also access it from a Dropbox folder on my laptop and the Dropbox application on my iPhone.  Brilliant.  The best products are quite often the ones that are clear and simple, Dropbox is no exception.

Tech Product of the Year – iPhone 4

This was up against some stiff competition when compared to other technological toys purchased in the past year, including a Sony HD TV, Blu-Ray player, FreeSat HDR box and the Kodak Zi8 compact camcorder.  Each of these have been fantastic (particularly the FreeSat box), but the iPhone 4 wins out on design, ease of use and just the sheer pleasure you get from using it.  Sure there were some issues with the aerial (which were overblown to be honest), but this does not take away from what a great piece of kit it is.  And I’m no Apple fanboy…..this is the only piece of Apple hardware I own.

It’s also worth mentioning how strong the body is.  Just a couple of days ago I accidentally dropped my iPhone from three feet onto a marble floor.  Not only did it survive, there is no visible evidence that it had even been slightly troubled by the fall.  Pretty impressive, although I won’t be allowing that little impromptu test to happen again.

Book of the Year – Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway

Moving away from techie stuff to other things (although I did read this as an ebook!), and Merchants of Doubt was undoubtedly my favourite book of 2010.  Examining the tobacco industry and the climate change deniers, Oreskes and Conway reveal how a small group of scientists close to both government and industry, ran a campaign of mis-information and ‘doubt’ to create the impression that there was no link between smoking and lung cancer and that the science around global warming is not settled.  It’s a fascinating read and demonstrates how much influence a small group of scientists who (in their eyes) are seeking to defend the capitalist system from malign influences, can have on government policy and society as a whole.  For those of you that are interested in science, government and capitalism, I would heartily recommend that you read this book.

Failing that, read The World That Never Was, another fantastic book published in 2010 and a close second to Merchants of Doubt.  Written by Alex Butterworth, The World…. examines the true story of anarchists and secret agents in the nineteenth century.  Well worth digging around for.

Album of the Year – Heligoland by Massive Attack

To be honest, there weren’t many albums that demanded my attention this year…in fact, it is fair to say that I find this increasingly common as I get older [insert sad smiley face].  However, I really enjoyed this album, particularly Paradise Circus (used as the theme tune for the brilliant Luther), and I think it is up there as one of their best.  It’s a bit odd for me as a grunge fanatic to recommend an album of electronica, but I just have so there you go.

TV Show of the Year – The Trip

Unbelievably for me (I don’t watch huge amounts of TV), there was a lot of quality TV this year.  Luther, the brilliant re-boot of Sherlock, Rev (who’d have thought a comedy about vicars that is actually funny)….all of these were great, but The Trip wins it for being utterly hilarious.  However, not only was it funny, it was also an interesting look at two characters, one happy with his lot and one struggling to come to terms with his.  There was something a bit tragic about it bubbling away under the veneer of comedy.  And, to be frank, the exchange exploring exactly when knights would have gone into battle (“To bed! For tomorrow we rise at 8.30 for 9!”)….had me in stitches.

Film of the Year –

I’m going to leave this blank for now as there are some films from 2010 I have yet to see…well, one in particular anyway…I suspect when I see it I will agree with everyone else.  It shall remain nameless for now though……..

People of the Year – Voices for the Library

Well, it had to be didn’t it?  I am, of course, excluding myself from this!  But I have to say that everyone involved in the campaign deserves a lot of credit for setting up a well supported library campaign (mentioned in The Observer no-less!) in such a short space of time –  it really is quite remarkable.  Yes, there have been hiccups along the way, but I am really proud to be associated with everyone involved in the campaign.  It has been a truly amazing experience.

Chumps of 2010 – Yahoo!

For their unforgiveable cock-up over Delicious.  Should they mess with Flickr they may well be in line for Chumps of the Decade.  What a mess.

Idiot of the Year –

I’ll leave that to your imaginations.  Shouldn’t be too difficult should it? I’ve heard he’s quite well-known in the north-east, but virtually anonymous in the south……..

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