2016: As the hardware world turns Soon, the ball will drop in Times Square, someone will realize you can turn ‘2018’ into a pair of novelty sunglasses, and the forgotten mumbled lyrics of Auld Lang Syne will echo through New Year’s Eve parties. It’s time once again to recount the last 366 days, and what a year it’s been. Arduino got into an argument with Arduino and Arduino won. We got new Raspberry Pis. Video cards are finally getting to the point where VR is practical. The FCC inadvertently killed security in home routers before fixing the problem. All of this is small potatoes and really doesn’t capture the essence of 2016. Hackaday

Battered Toshiba out of easy options to plug nuclear hole Faced with the prospect of a multi-billion-dollar writedown that could wipe out its shareholders' equity, Japan's Toshiba is running out of fixes: it is burning cash, cannot issue shares and has few easy assets left to sell. The Tokyo-based conglomerate, which is still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015, dismayed investors and lenders again this week by announcing that cost overruns at a U.S. nuclear business bought only last year meant it could now face a crippling charge against profit. Reuters

Deprecated: The Ars 2017 tech company deathwatch Welcome (almost) to 2017. If you're reading this, the Seventh Seal has not yet been broken, the cybers have not all fallen over, and you apparently have not been consigned to the kids' table by a disagreement with relatives about which bowl game to watch. Hooray for minor victories. That means it's time for us to look forward to the year ahead and select the companies and technologies least likely to see its end. Ars Technica

Defending the digital future: 2016 in review The year started with fireworks: John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, became furious when an explosive EFF investigation revealed that T-Mobile was throttling video content for many of its customers, potentially violating net neutrality rules. Legere released a colorful selfie video demanding to know who EFF was -- and our community responded in force, inundating the tech CEO with countless tweets and messages explaining why people worldwide were proud to count themselves as friends of EFF. The EFF

Let's raise a glass to the many tech pioneers who died in 2016 In technology, you're always "standing on the shoulders" of those who came before you -- and together, each individual's contribution becomes part of a larger ongoing story. So as this year finally winds to a close, click through to see our list of some of the pioneers who left us in 2016. And feel free to share any memories and reflections of your own in the comments. Slashdot

Postal, the legendarily violent video game by Running With Scissors, is now open source Video game developer Running With Scissors has announced that it is open sourcing the original version of its most popular title-Postal, which was released back in 1997. Even though violence in video games has been a topic of debate for over decades now, Postal has been one of the most criticised games out of the lot. Gadgets 360

Governments shut down the internet more than 50 times in 2016 Governments around the world shut down the internet more than 50 times in 2016 – suppressing elections, slowing economies and limiting free speech. In the worst cases internet shutdowns have been associated with human rights violations, Deji Olukotun, senior global advocacy manager at digital rights organisation Access Now told IPS. The Wire

Machine Learning crash course: part 2 In this post we’ll talk about one of the most fundamental machine learning algorithms: the perceptron algorithm. This algorithm forms the basis for many modern day ML algorithms, most notably neural networks. In addition, we’ll discuss the perceptron algorithm’s cousin, logistic regression. And then we'll conclude with an introduction to SVMs, or support vector machines, which are perhaps one of the most flexible algorithms used today. Berkeley (Part 1, also: A Guide to Deep Learning)

Why Google co-founder Larry Page is pouring millions into flying cars People have dreamed about flying cars for decades, but the technology has always seemed far out of reach. Airplanes have long been too big, expensive, dangerous, loud, and complex for personal aviation to be more than a hobby for rich people. But that might be about to change. “There’s a couple of technologies that are maturing and converging” to make small, affordable airplanes feasible, says Brian German, an aerospace researcher at Georgia Tech. Vox

Lessons from 3,000 technical interviews… The first blog post I published that got any real attention was called “Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data“. It was my attempt to understand what attributes of someone’s resume actually mattered for getting a software engineering job. Surprisingly, as it turned out, where someone went to school didn’t matter at all, and by far and away, the strongest signal came from the number of typos and grammatical errors on their resume. Interviewing.io

How China built 'iPhone city' with billions in perks for Apple’s partner A vast, boxy customs center acts as a busy island of commerce deep in central China. Government officers, in sharply pressed uniforms, race around a maze of wooden pallets piled high with boxes -- counting, weighing, scanning and approving shipments. Unmarked trucks stretch for more than a mile awaiting the next load headed for Beijing, New York, London and dozens of other destinations. The NY Times

The top tech books of 2016 (part I) When I first began writing about technology, a modest shelf could actually hold pretty much all the volumes that we now recognized as “tech books”  --  business-oriented tomes about tech companies, geeky explorations of hardware or software milestones, celebratory or scary projections of what our current products will morph to, and one more biography of Steve Jobs. BackChannel (Part II)

Judging a book through its cover MIT researchers and their colleagues are designing an imaging system that can read closed books. In the latest issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe a prototype of the system, which they tested on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets. MIT

Facebook doesn't tell users everything it really knows about them Facebook has long let users see all sorts of things the site knows about them, like whether they enjoy soccer, have recently moved, or like Melania Trump. But the tech giant gives users little indication that it buys far more sensitive data about them, including their income, the types of restaurants they frequent and even how many credit cards are in their wallets. ProPublica

Commercial NAS operating systems - exploring value-additions - part I The market for network-attached storage units has expanded significantly over the last few years. The rapid growth in public cloud storage (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and the like) has tempered the expansion a bit amongst consumers who are not very tech-savvy. However, the benefits provided by a NAS in the local network are undeniable, particularly when public cloud services can act in a complementary manner. AnandTech

Can you VR on a Laptop? Evaluating the MSI GE62VR A month ago I got to meet MSI at Pax Australia and on the MSI booth I had a nice long chat with Ivy Hsu from MSI who was excited to show me the latest MSI range of VR laptops -- some sleek and some desktop replacements. I was curious as to how well a laptop can handle some of the games available on Steam for the HTC Vive. VR Jive

Mini-shootout: $900 smartphone vs. $3,000 DSLR, round three The smartphone-vs-DSLR shootout has become something of a tradition here at the Ars Orbiting HQ. We did one in 2014 and another in 2015, relying on my own (small) skills as a photographer to stage and shoot a bunch of different images using both the latest model iPhone and my Canon 5D Mark III DSLR. Ars Technica

Here are the 2016 winners of the first ever Steam Awards After over a month of voting, Valve today revealed the winners of The Steam Awards, or what amounts to a “greatest-hits” victory lap for some of the digital retail platform’s most played games. Kotaku