Artificial intelligence

The 20 most read articles on Ars Technica in 2022

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As 2022 dawned, there were a few things we knew we would write about: global pandemicwhatever cool things Apple and Google have done, rocket launchesand cool stuff about artificial intelligence. But every year brings surprises, and 2022 was no exception.

Yes, we thought there would be a lot of articles about Elon Musk on Ars Technica this year. After all, he runs SpaceX and Tesla, two companies we cover frequently. But if someone had told me that Musk would become “Chief Twit” and end up on the front page of Ars because of his impulse purchase of Twitter and the…interesting decisions he’s made since he was taken over the business, I would have asked them to move the dutchie to the left side.

2022 has been a long and strange journey. And it’s almost over.

So let’s go back to what you, our readers, found most fascinating about Ars this year.

It wasn't a real Google I/O 2022 slide, but it could have been.
Enlarge / It wasn’t a real Google I/O 2022 slide, but it could have been.

Google / Ron Amadeo

Google is arguably known for three things: absolutely dominating the market for Internet advertising, absolutely dominating the market for Internet browsers, and absolutely dominating the market for destroying your own products. At Google I/O 2022, the company decided to dabble in device necromancy. Example: Android tablets.

The pinnacle of Google’s Android tablet development was in 2011, when we saw the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. I’ll let Ron Amadeo take it from here:

“[E]The very later version of Android and the Google app update watered down the tablet interface until it was gone. App developers took Google’s neglect as a sign that they should stop making Android tablets as well, and the ecosystem collapsed.

“After the release of Pixel C in 2015, Google exited the tablet market for three years, then launched the Pixel Slate Chrome-OS tablet. It then exited the tablet market for another three years. Now it’s back Will the company’s new plans produce another ?-an marvel like the Pixel Slate?

Ron went in-depth on Google’s product strategy for 2022, and he’ll be sure to point out when new and resurrected products will be killed off in the future.

In February, Russia illegally invaded Ukraine, unleashing hell on its neighbor. In addition to firing bullets, rockets, artillery shells and other ammunition at each other, Russia and Ukraine engage in cyberwar episodes One against the other.

Ukraine – or a group sympathetic to the country – has launched never-before-seen malware on Russian courts and mayoral offices across the country. Called CryWiper, the malware permanently wipes out data on infected systems.

“After reviewing a sample of malware, we found that this Trojan, although posing as ransomware and extorting money from the victim to ‘decrypt’ data, does not actually encrypt, but deliberately destroys data in the affected system,” according to analysis by security firm Kaspersky. “Furthermore, an analysis of the Trojan’s program code showed that this was not a developer error, but its original intent.”

As Dan Goodin said, “Given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other geopolitical conflicts raging around the world, the pace of erasing malware is unlikely to slow in the coming months”.

Make sure you lock down all your networks and devices…simply because it’s the smartest way to do it.

Speaking of locking down your stuff, good news in 2022 was the arrival of passwordless authentication. Apple, Google, Microsoft and some other tech companies all agree. Even better, it’s less of a hassle than regularly changing your password or using multi-factor authentication. Users can store a single token that will authenticate them to any Big Three service, as well as any other companies that support it.

Here’s how it works:

“The keystone of this scheme is something called ‘multi-device credentials’ or, more colloquially, ‘passkeys’, introduced in updates to the existing FIDO, WebAuthn and CTAP standards for authentication. As the name suggests, credentials work on any device, whether you’re running iOS, Android, or Windows, and on any Apple, Google, or Microsoft service.

“To immunize passkey authentications against phishing and other common forms of credential theft, the phone or other device storing the credentials must be in close proximity to the device that the user uses to log in. A Bluetooth connection allows the two devices to exchange information which ensures that the connecting device is close to the end user rather than a distant threat actor. authentication device to ensure that the connecting machine is connected to the legitimate URL rather than an impostor trying to gain unauthorized access.

For the full story on how it all works, check out Dan’s excellent and in-depth article.

Wagner et al. 2022

The oldest pants in the world belonged to a warrior now called Turfan Man. He lived in China between 1200 and 1000 BCE, and he paired his pants with a belted poncho around the waist, an ornate woolen headband, and ankle boots. Other grave goods found at his burial site indicate that he was probably a warrior on horseback. But back to the pants – what’s so amazing about them isn’t that they survived, but how they were made:

“The Turfan Pant is an extremely functional design, but it’s also very chic. As the weaver worked on this stretchy and roomy crotch piece, they alternated different colors of weft yarns to create pairs of brown stripes on a off-white background. Zigzag stripes adorn the ankles and calves of the pants, along with a pattern similar to a stepped pyramid. This pattern led Wagner and his colleagues to speculate that the Turfan Man culture may have had contacts with people in Mesopotamia, causing them to include ziggurats in a woven pattern.”

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