This year has seen tumultuous events shake the world. The economic crisis, the lingering effects of the recession, natural disasters, war and revolution. With all of that going on, it seems like our readers needed a little light relief. Whether it was piracy, hacking or 'laptop rage', you came in your droves, and we were happy to accommodate you.

As part of our look back as this solar cycle draws to a close, we'll be running a series of articles on the biggest and best stories of the year. Stay tuned for our picks of the best news and features, and perhaps a few surprises as well.

These are your top stories of the year, in no particular order:

Sun Microsystems IBM in talks to buy Sun Microsystems

So this is where the saga started. All those interminable delays, antitrust investigations, open source hissy fits and insult exchanges began here. IBM began to sniff around the none-too-fresh smelling Sun Microsystems, when suddenly, in jumps the young challenger Oracle. You have to wonder if they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

Now, with the deal nearly complete (pending the outcome of a probe by EU commissioners) we can look back in amazement at a twisted a tale of corporate mergers as was ever told.

Gordon Moore Moore's Law is dead, says Gordon Moore

Shock! Horror! Can it be? The author of possibly the most famous (and famously disputed) thesis in the history computing recants?

Well, no. What he actually said is that in 10 to 20 years' time, we will have reached the limit where transistors will be on the scale of atoms. But by that time, we'll all surely be flying around in personal spaceships, wearing silver foil and using Star Trek techno-magic. Either that or we will be slaves of the victorious robot army.

George Osborne with Train Tories ignoring open source security risk

Shadow chancellor George Osborne accused the government of wasting time and money on proprietary software, when open source tools could do the same job for less. All part of the swinging parliamentary slanging match.

But what's this? In swoops security firm Fortify to explain that Osborne has it all wrong. No no no they cry! Open source is so horribly flawed, all that lovely government data could come leaking out like runny egg. Commenters on the story, on the other hand, seem to disagree and accused Fortify of outrageous FUD. Could it be true? A company promoting positive stories to ensure sales of its products? Surely not.

Handset makers agree to universal phone charger

I would kill for this. Literally. However, the original plan went one better.

"Verheugen said the original plan was to push for a universal charger for all devices."

Are you kidding? Some innovative soul suggested a single charger for all my gadgets, and someone stopped this happening. Crying shame isn't the word.

Short Fuse One in ten portables downed by 'laptop rage'

Possibly my favourite item on the list. It seems some of you out there have been taking the concept of creative destruction a little too far, and taking out your frustration on the company laptop. According to the Ponemon Institute (gotta analyse 'em all), one in three laptops in Brazil and Mexico are wasted by exasperated employees bashing them to bits. Britain however brings up the rear, with only six percent of breakages due to angry staff, and the majority put down to not taking proper care of the machine.

My fellow countrymen, you disappoint me. Our Latin brothers have exposed our laziness for the last time. Get to work.

Zlob hacker writes love letter to Microsoft

In the running for most bizarrely jovial communication of all time. A Russian hacker slipped a lovely message in with his revision of the Zlob trojan, praising the work of the Microsoft security team trying desperately to plug holes in their operating system. "Just want to say 'Hello' from Russia. You are really good guys," wrote the hacker. "Happy New Year, guys, and good luck!"

It seems selling your soul to the hacker gods doesn't mean giving up common courtesy.

Pirate Windows 7 cracked by pirates

Arrr matey, all aboard the pirate boat. What's that? Swedish police? Man the cannon!

Wikipedia loses thousands of editors

So it appears that Wiki-contributors have been throwing their wiki-toys out of the wiki-pram since the recent changes to the submission guidelines, which mean less opportunity to insert off colour jokes and slanderous accusations into entries. The fact that Jimmy Wales' pet project (which may be an elaborate scheme just to get chicks) seems to be haemorrhaging writers at a greater rate than usual is worrying, especially for lazy students and television journalists.

Fake antivirus overwhelming scanners

To express this story in the form of an algorithm:


Evil programmers + Human Stupidity > Antivirus competence


Give criminals all your money


Buy a new computer

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook site down

One of our most popular stories of the year. It seems Facebook is having trouble dealing with its massive popularity, like an awkward adolescent catapulted to Hollywood stardom. And just like that teenager, Facebook seems to be acting erratically and experiencing temporary blackouts. Just be thankful that you are unlikely to be treated to the site of Mark Zuckerberg wandering around LA naked, screaming at traffic. Probably.

IE 8 runs ten times faster with Google Chrome plugin

Not only does Google make a grab for Microsoft's vulnerable parts by launching their own operating system, as well as a suite of office apps, but they also play an almighty practical joke on the lumbering Redmond giant. Internet Explorer has got used to having its ass handed to it in browser rendering tests, but now Google comes along and cleans up their mess for them. How humiliating.