Content and copyright were hot buttons in 2012. And in keeping with those themes, the best-read technology story of the year was the tale of Fyx - a new Auckland ISP that allowed New Zealanders to access US commercial download services such as Netflix and Hulu, ordinarily blocked to those outside North America.
Fyx briefly gave us a glimpse of what life could like for those willing to pay for online content. Momentarily, we lived in a global village of consumer choice, unshackled from content agreements that are nothing about copyright, and everything about maintaining regional distribution monopolies.
Interest was intense. The story generated 60,000 page impressions, making it the most clicked-on NBR story outside of the Rich List. Clearly, there is a high level of curiosity about any developments in the area of street-legal downloads (an April 2011 piece on using iTunes US gained enough new traffic to stay in the Top 10 for a second year, helped by an update about tapping iTunes Australia). Threats to globally-distributed content, such as the US laws SOPA and PIPA, and the TPP trade deal, also rated highly.
Fyx was owned by Maxnet, bought by Australia's Vocus in May. Vocus was not keen on the geo block-busting service, and Maxnet CEO John Hanna walked soon after the May takeover.
On an interesting sidenote, Mr Hanna was recently named CEO of new Crown company The Network for Learning Ltd (N4L). He started on December 3. N4L is expected to hire 40 staff, and is charged with helping 2600 schools with central procurement and content as they connect to fibre under the government's Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) programmes. The government has earmarked $440 million for connecting schools, plus content and applications.
There's the 10 tech stories that drew the most traffic:
Scenes from the iPhone 5 launch in San Francisco ... and about 50 Apple/iPhone/iPad stories that I'm not going to list here (the Wall Street Journal's Top 10 top tech stories list featured 10 Apple stories). Happy Xmas and a merry New Year.