The Internet sent a loud message to Congress in a coordinated blackout of websites on Jan. 18. to protest the anti-piracy bills, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). It was reported that 75,000 websites took part in the protest.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas ultimately shelved both bills in the Senate and the House.
The tangled web of Apple, Foxconn and Mike Daisey
Following a series of explosive reports, Apple was scrutinized for the working conditions at Foxconn -- the factory where iPhones and iPads are made. The media attention was so persistent that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees to day the company cares about all of its employees.
In a bizarre twist to the tale, it was discovered that one of the original reports of conditions at Foxconn was partially fabricated by American monologist Mike Daisey. His report was featured on "This American Life," but was later retracted.
On April 9, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network planned to acquire Instagram, the popular photo-sharing mobile app. It was later reported the deal was for a whopping $1 billion.
Facebook's purchase of Instagram was finalized in September for $715.3 million -- $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock.
On May 18, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rang the Nasdaq opening bell and the social network became a public company, trading under the ticker symbol "FB."
There was plenty of drama surrounding Facebook's initial public offering, but the most unique story was of graffiti artist David Choe. Choe was hired by then Facebook president Sean Parker to paint a mural at Facebook's first office in Palo Alto in 2005. When the mural was finished, Parker gave Choe the option of taking cash or stock options. He took the stock and went from being homeless to being a millionaire.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The new iPad launches
After months of speculation and build-up, Apple announced its third generation iPad on March 7 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.
The third-generation iPad dropped its numbering system and featured better hardware, Retina Display and 4G LTE support.
Produced by the non-profit group Invisible Children, "Kony 2012" had all of the elements of a powerful viral video: heroes and villains, heart, purpose and a call to action (the filmmakers also make good use of Facebook Timeline as storytelling tool). In less than a week, the video garnered over 26.6 million views, but it's also sparked controversy.
Invisible Children has been criticized for spending more of their resources on advocacy and filmmaking rather than on-the-ground humanitarian work.The organization defended its methods, but was overshadowed by the arrest of its co-founder Jason Russell, who was spotted naked on the streets of San Diego by gossip website TMZ.
Microsoft becomes a hardware company
On June 18, Microsoft announced the Surface tablet computer at a secretive press event in Los Angeles. The Microsoft Surface features a 10.6-inch display, a full version of the Windows 8 operating system, Gorilla Glass, a built in kickstand and a tactile multi-touch keyboard.
Curiosity Rover touches down on Mars
Dutifully executing its complex flight control software, the Mars Science Laboratory silently raced toward its target on Aug. 6, picking up speed as it closed in for a 13,200-mph plunge into the Red Planet's atmosphere and an action-packed seven-minute descent required a rocket-powered "sky crane" to lower the one-ton nuclear-powered rover to the surface. It went off without a hitch.
Apple sued Samsung for allegedly knocking off its popular iPhone and iPad. The computer giant sought $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung denied the charges and countersued Apple for $422 million. A nine-person federal jury in San Jose, Calif. ruled in favor of Apple on August 24 and awarded the company with $1.05 billion in damages.
GoDaddy goes down
Thousands and possibly millions of websites hosted by GoDaddy.com went down for several hours on Sept. 10, causing trouble for the mainly small businesses that rely on the service.
The hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the outage, but GoDaddy said it was due to an internal issue, not hackers.
Apple Maps gets slammed
When Apple released its new mobile operating system iOS 6 on Sept. 19, it had one big omission that users sorely missed: Google Maps. Users complained of missing landmarks, wrong directions and the lack of public transportation directions.
Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized to customers a week later and said the company was working to make Maps better. After months of criticism, and days after a warning from Australian police to stop using Apple Maps, Google Maps made its return to the iPhone on Dec. 13. The app quickly became No. 1 on Apple's App Store.
At left: a side-by-side comparison of Google Maps app, left, and Apple Maps apps, right.
Apple announces iPhone 5
Apple's highly anticipated smartphone was announced on Sept. 12 and went on sale on Sept. 21. Apple announced on Sept. 24 that the smartphone sold 5 million units -- selling out of its initial supply.
Felix Baumgartner jumps from the edge of space
On October 14, 2012 -- the 65th anniversary of test pilot Chuck Yeager's successful attempt to become the first man to officially break the sound barrier aboard an airplane -- extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner attempted to become the first human to break the sound barrier during a high-altitude free-fall parachute jump.
Baumgartner successfully jumped from 24-miles above the Earth, breaking the speed of sound at about 833.9 miles per hour.
Credit: Jay Nemeth,AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos
Social media goes wild for the U.S. presidential elections
The 2012 U.S. presidential elections electrified social media users, as they took to sites like Facebook and Twitter to make comments during convention speeches and debates.
Facebook reported its top event of 2012 was the elections. Twitter reported that politics dominated the "Twitterverse" in 2012, with President Obama's "Four more years" photo becoming the most re-tweeted post in the site's history.
Social media tells the story of Superstorm Sandy in real-time
The U.S. East Coast was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29 and people all over the world got a sense of events happening in the storm in real time, thanks to social media services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Although, the information was not always accurate, some of the reports were found to be true and gave a snapshot of flooding and power outages in real time -- to both East Coast residents and the world.
Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Emails uncover the scandal the brought down David Petraeus
On Nov. 9, CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his resignation to President Obama, citing an extramarital affair.
Law enforcement raised concern over emails Petraeus exchanged with journalist Paula Broadwell, who authored his biography "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." The affair between Petraeus and Broadwell was uncovered during a related investigation into allegedly threatening emails received by Jill Kelley -- a Petraeus family friend.
Credit: Greg E. Mathieson,S / Rex Featu
Apple announces iPad mini and a new iPad...again
Apple unveiled the iPad mini on Oct. 23. The smaller iPad was rumored for years before it arrived and became an instant success. The tech giant took fans and critics by surprise when it also introduced the fourth-generation iPad -- only about 7 months after it launched the third-generation iPad.
After much media scrutiny and user outburst, Instagram backtracked on it terms of service -- announcing on Dec. 19 that it would take out the controversial language.