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Francois Pelland (left) and Alex Hutchinson of Ubisoft (Photo illustration by Luciano Pommella/The Globe and Mail)
Francois Pelland (left) and Alex Hutchinson of Ubisoft (Photo illustration by Luciano Pommella/The Globe and Mail)

Year in Review

From Assassin's Creed history to BBM's rebirth, more of the most popular tech stories of 2013 Add to ...

Some more of the most read, most popular, stories of 2013 that we haven't covered in our other year-end roundups.

How a 'model' employee got away with outsourcing his software job to China

Bob was his company’s best software developer, got glowing performance reviews and earned more than $250,000 a year.
Then a forensic probe revealed that Bob’s software code had in fact been the handiwork of a Chinese subcontractor. Bob was paying a Chinese firm about $50,000 a year to do his work, then spent the day surfing the web, watching cat videos and updating his Facebook page.
“This particular case was pretty unique,” computer security investigator Andrew Valentine, who helped uncover Bob’s scheme, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. “We thought it was actually pretty clever.”
 

U.S. tells all Internet users to disable Java over hacker threat

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged computer users to disable Oracle Corp’s Java software, amplifying security experts’ prior warnings to the hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses that use it to surf the Web.
“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a posting on its website late on Thursday.
“This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered,” the agency said. “To defend against this and future Java vulnerabilities, disable Java in Web browsers.”

What to know before you download Windows 8.1

Cosmetically, the Start screen starts out looking much the same as it did under Windows 8, but poke around a bit and you’ll find some nice tweaks. As well as the original tile sizes, we now can make a tile extra-large (double the size of the Windows 8 large tile) or extra-small (one quarter the size of the Windows 8 small tile). That cuts screen clutter a lot. And to further clean things up, when you install a new app, it no longer automatically gets a tile on the Start screen. Instead, it’s added to the Apps screen (now sortable), which is now accessible with a swipe up from the bottom of the Start screen (and you can make it your default view if you want to).

Are video games like Assassin’s Creed rewriting history?

This is one way history still gets taught: At 6 p.m. in a pink-and-beige lecture hall at the University of Toronto, 100 young men and women in HIS217Y are writing down everything, absolutely everything, Erin Black is saying about Woodrow Wilson and his efforts to keep the United States out of the First World War.
Prof. Black – mid-30s, glasses, speaking from notes and slides – is a first-rate lecturer. Forty-five minutes into her two-hour class, she has touched on American neutrality, immigrant reaction to U.S. neutrality, the British blockade, German submarines, the sinking of the Lusitania, J.P. Morgan, “peace without victory,” and the war’s galvanizing effect on labour, Prohibition and women’s suffrage, among other subjects.
Here’s another way history is inhaled today: At 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday in a precise, book-upholstered apartment, Mark Brownlie, 42, and his fiancée, Erin Dolmage, 39, sit before their 60-inch plasma TV and play Assassin’s Creed III, a $60 video game about the American Revolution.
 

Explainer: How does the wildly popular BBM differ from regular text messaging?

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