The Top Wikipedia Articles of 2015, Music Streaming Is the Future… [Tech News Digest]

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The most-read Wikipedia entries of 2015, how streaming beat downloads in 2015, the end of Windows 8, Sony tries to trademark the term “Let’s Play”, and how a simple mod makes GTA V more entertaining.

The Most-Popular Wikipedia Entries

Wikipedia remains one of the most important websites on the Internet. Sure, it has its issues, which means some entries aren’t as factual as they should be, but overall, Wikipedia can be used as it’s intended: as an online encyclopedia available to the masses. And the usage statistics for 2015 show that’s the case.

Thanks to Andrew West, a Senior Research Scientist at Verisign Labs, who collected and collated the information, we know the most-read Wikipedia entries for 2015. The Top 10 are listed below, but the Wikimedia Blog has listed the Top 25. For those who are fascinated by this sort of thing, West’s page on Wikipedia lists the Top 5000.

  1. Deaths in 2015 (27,885,484)
  2. Chris Kyle (27,765,570)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (23,523,985)
  4. Facebook (22,330,302)
  5. Stephen Hawking (20,060,944)
  6. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (19,335,481)
  7. List of Bollywood films of 2015 (18,171,094)
  8. Google (18,107,283)
  9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (17,409,029)
  10. United States (16,855,064)

So, what can we determine from this list? 1. People like to know who has died, especially if they’re famous. 2. Star Wars is huge, suggesting Disney has invested its money wisely. 3. Facebook and Google are the most interesting tech companies, with people actively looking for background information on the two corporations.

Beyond that, movies are making a comeback, with Furious 7, Jurassic World, and 50 Shades of Grey all making the Top 25. If the United States elected presidents based on levels of interest, Donald Trump would sweep to victory. And a distinct lack of current news events made an impression on Wikipedia, with the exception of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. So, celebrities and plastic politicians are more important than world affairs. How depressing.

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Streaming Is the Future of Music

With each year that passes it becomes clearer that streaming is the future of, well, everything. But especially music. Last year is no exception, with streaming growing massively during 2015. However, while this shift has inevitably impacted on album sales, streaming hasn’t had such a devastating effect on downloads as naysayers and doom-mongers predicted.

According to Nielsen, as reported by TechCrunch, the number of streams played through music streaming services doubled in 2015. In 2014, 164.5 billion songs were streamed, while in 2015, 317 billion songs were streamed. Album sales dropped around 6 percent in 2015, but in 2014 they dropped 11 percent. Which suggests there is no correlation between the increasing popularity of streaming and the dwindling interest in buying albums.

Streaming may be the future, but it still has some catching up to do to become the preferred method for discovering new music. Radio is still number one in that regard (61%), followed by word-of-mouth (45%), and movie soundtracks (31%), with streaming coming in fourth place with 27%. Nielsen’s full report on the music industry is available here.

Microsoft Kills Off Windows 8

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 8 tomorrow (Jan. 12, 2016). This means Microsoft will longer provide security patches for the operating system, condemning it to the dustbin of history alongside Windows XP and all of the other outdated versions of Windows.

It has only been just over three years since Microsoft launched Windows 8, but Windows 8.1 has superseded it, hence the expedited end of support. As Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade for anyone running Windows 8, there really is no excuse not to bite the bullet with this one.

After upgrading to Windows 8.1, you’ll have the option to also upgrade to Windows 10 for free. And with Windows 10 being supported until at least 2020, this seems a solid solution.

Sony Wants to Trademark “Let’s Play”

Sony is trying to trademark the term, “Let’s Play”, which YouTubers use to refer to videos of themselves playing through various video games. According to Geek.com, Sony has filed a trademark for the term, with the aim of stopping competitors using it.

This is a bizarre turn of events, as “Let’s Play” is a term used by everybody and their dog at this point in time. Even if Sony claims to have invented the term, which isn’t immediately clear, it’s now in such common usage that the company has surely lost all claims over it.

Watch Dogs Mod Messes With GTA V [NSFW]

And finally, while Watch Dogs failed to impress a lot of people, a lot of fun could be had hacking into the various systems present across its sandbox city. The game allowed you to hack into traffic lights, security cameras, and more besides.

Now, someone has brought the Watch Dogs hacking functionality to Grand Theft Auto V. Cue traffic chaos, easy getaways, and explosions aplenty. Game mods such as these may be the only good reason to play on PC rather than consoles. Cue PC gamers spitting bile at their computer screens.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

How often do you find yourself reading Wikipedia? Have you switched to streaming music yet? Are you still using Windows 8? If so, why haven’t you upgraded to Windows 8.1? How do you feel about Sony trying to trademark “Let’s Play”? What’s the best video game mod you have ever seen?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Johann Dreo via Flickr

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