Edge of Innovation

These were Intel IQ’s biggest tech stories of 2016

Dean Evans Technology Writer Twitter

Goodbye 2016, you’ve certainly kept us busy with 7th generation Core processors, the first drone deliveries, mixed reality, autonomous cars and Tim Peake blasting off into space. We’ve covered a wide range of stories on IQ this year and these proved to be the most popular.

Time to change your password

Think your password is strong enough? Despite warnings not to use phrases as basic as ‘123456’ or ‘password’, many people still don’t take digital security seriously. But even long and seemingly complex passwords can be hacked. Using a Linux machine equipped with four Titan X graphics cards, the University of Nottingham’s Dr. Michael Pound demonstrated how password crackers can ‘brute force’ stolen data in seconds, crunching 40 billion combinations per second…

Read: If this doesn’t scare you into changing your password, what will?

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Goodbye spare laptop batteries

As laptops improve in both design and performance, they are consigning some old technologies and accessories to the scrap heap. Do we really need a bulky, multi-pocketed laptop bag any more when a simple protective sleeve will do? When was the last time that you used an optical disc drive? Maybe your current laptop doesn’t even have one…

Read: 8 things new laptops are consigning to the tech scrapheap

Was 2016 the year of the drone?

Drones have been one of the dominant technologies during 2016. Just before the year ended, Amazon flew its first parcel by Prime Air quadcopter, while Just Eat used a six-wheeled bot to deliver a takeaway in London. But this is just the beginning. Drones are capable of so much more…

Read: 8 surprising things you didn’t know a drone could do

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London solar farm breaks a record

Drive down any motorway in the UK and you’ll notice that solar arrays are springing up in fields everywhere. But installing large panels in cities can prove problematic — there just isn’t the space in urban areas. It’s why Thames Water decided to float them instead. Meet Europe’s largest floating solar farm…

Read: London’s new solar farm floats into the record books

Why open world games need a speedy CPU

While you might not need a processor as fast as the Intel Core i7 processor Extreme Edition, a zippy CPU will make the most of today’s top-level graphics hardware. Games aren’t just chasing photorealism, 60fps frame rates and 4K these days, they are getting more ambitious every year. We’ve already seen Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 and The Division in 2016. But there are bigger open world games to come…

Read: These open world games will try to break your PC, don’t let them

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Is that a Compute Stick in your pocket?

The Compute Stick debuted at CES 2015 – a smart, Chromecast-like device that squeezed a quad-core Intel Atom processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 32GB of on-board storage into a package no bigger than a Mars Bar. The 2nd-generation models launched in 2016, upgrading the original in several key areas…

Read: The 2nd-gen Compute Stick puts a Windows 10 PC in your pocket

How well do you know your tech?

Do you know the difference between a self-driving car and an autonomous vehicle? Or what makes 5G better than today’s 4G (apart from a speed boost)? What’s the difference between virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed or merged reality? Test your knowledge here…

Read: What the Tech? 12 Tech Terms to Know Now

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