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Switched Picks: The Best of Us in 2009

Lists, lists, and more lists. This is a double-whammy of a December, with the year end and the waning of the decade. So we at Switched want to take a look back at a fantastic year, filled with heated political debates and many (too many, some may say) Star Trek jokes, and present the best of the year in Switched -- which is a lot to say, because we had a blast in 2009. After a painful period of nominations, our choices range from perfectly crafted posts to outrageous user comments to real live reportage on game-changing tech.

So kick back, enjoy another list, and take a look into the hearts and minds of the Switched staff, its readers, and of course, the year in technology reporting.


10. Twitter 101

Twitter truly took off in 2009, and our guide to the site and its hashtags and retweets proved to be a helpful introduction for those still pondering the what and how of 140 characters.


9. Headlines That Pretty Much Shocked Us All

Teen Slaps Mom With Taco Over Xbox
Seriously? A taco? Criminy.

German Boy Hit by a Meteorite Lives to Tell About It
Apparently, the odds of surviving an impact like that are a million to one. Looks like it was his lucky day.

Alleged Sexual Predator Impersonates Police Using Geek Squad Badge
Apparently, any badge can get you anywhere these days.

Zoo Replaces Dead Polar Bears With Animatronic Ones, Shatters Dreams
In other news, Santa Claus is dead, the Tooth Fairy hates you, and pandas don't really like to cuddle at all. Devastation abound.

Hood-Wearing 'Jedi' Thrown Out of Supermarket
While the headline is pretty hilarious on its own, the best part of this article is the response from the British supermarket representative: "If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers." Snap.

8. We Get Major Diggs, Nerds Find Out the Truth

One of our favorite articles to date was Terrence O'Brien's story on why HAL the computer sang 'Daisy' in '2001,' and not only did it go viral, but it answered one of the more crucial cinematic questions of our time.


7. Maru Comes to Switched in the Best Single Illustration We May Have Ever Created

Emerging from a conversation about whether the adorable YouTube sensation Maru was a 'special needs' cat or a genius, this illustration fit the story on cat brains perfectly. Basically, a super-computer can mimic kitty thinking patterns, but it can never win our hearts.


6. A Dog, a Bad 'Star Trek' Costume, and a Contest

Though it never took off, our caption contest about a dog wearing a shoddy Star Trek costume was some of the best fun we had this summer. The dog's expression is priceless, but Thomas's caption is the funniest (we've agreed).


5. We Plan For the Apocalypse, And Succeed!

A collaborative effort using the talents of Kendra Cunningham and Thomas Houston, we painstakingly researched the coolest (and most practical) gadget for the end of the world. Our handy-dandy list was not only pretty to look at, but broke down what type of world demise needed what. A piece for the ages, indeed.


4. Switched Takes a Turn for the Cerebral and Conceptual

With the helpful addition of Matthew Zuras, we began to think about what tech most represents to us all: the future. A roundup of interesting ideas and renderings for light objects, this started the era of thinking about possibilities, not just what was already established. Since then, Matt has done more design concepts, but his first was one of our favorites.


3. 70 Under 70

The best efforts are group ones, and our '70 Genius Tech Ideas Under $70' came from all of our collective minds. Sure, it's not the most original idea, but the products we chose were certainly something special. Not only did it provide a helpful service for our readers, but gave a glimpse into the tastes of our writers (for instance: apparently Jon Chase wants a guitar-enabled shirt for Christmas. Who'd have thought?).


2. Switched Goes to Brooklyn, Classes Up the Joint

The first in several brilliant collaborations between Managing Editor Leila Brillson and Video Producer Chad Mumm sent these two to interview the Brooklyn design collective Design Glut. Using technology from the hacker group Makerbot, the gals created little salt-and-pepper shakers for us, which Makerbot brought to life in a 3-D printer (and Chad brought to life using his video skills). We congratulated ourselves on building bridges and expanding minds.


1. Best Camera

With the help of Chad and Jason Rowan, we talked to pro photographer Chase Jarvis over on New York's High Line. We discussed the popularity of cameraphones and their ability to instantly share photos, and how this is changing photography. The gorgeously shot interview marked a new direction for Switched video, garnering discussion all over the Web and even getting picked up by Apple's Hot News section.

Tags: best camera, BestCamera, design, features, makerbot, maru, top