What have been your highlights and lowlights of 2013?

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What have been your highlights and lowlights of 2013?

We're rapidly approaching the end of the year, so it seems like a great time to look back over the past twelve months, evaluate the purchases, consider the online services you have discovered and think about the apps you have tried. It's also a good time to think about what you hope to see in the year head. So… what did you make of 2013?

For me, there have been a lot of discoveries online. I was one of the many people who rued the demise of Google Reader. RSS has been descried by many as an old, dead technology, but it is perfect for anyone who wants to keep up to date with a large number of websites -- in a way that the likes of Facebook and Twitter simply can’t. After a flirtation with Feedly, I was turned onto InoReader -- for me, the perfect blend of power, ease of customization and speed.

It has been quite a year for Microsoft, and the two most notable releases have to be Windows 8.1 and Surface 2. In my mind, both of these should be viewed as 1.0 released. For me, Windows 8 was really Windows 7.7 -- it felt incomplete. The latest update made it a complete operating system. It was really what Windows 8 should have been from the start and demonstrated that Microsoft listens to its customers.

The launch of Surface 2 was also something of a 1.0 launch for me, but not for the same reason. There was nothing "wrong" with the first generation of Surface devices -- I use my Surface Pro daily and love doing so. But for the most part it would be fair to say that the first generation release went largely unnoticed by most computer users.

But at the same time, Surface did start a trend. It was not long before there were numerous other multi-purpose device, convertibles and other non-standard laptops. The launch of Surface 2 was really just a relatively minor evolution of its predecessor, but the time was right. This was a launch that got more attention and time will almost certainly show that Surface 2 is more successful.

2013 was the year I made the switch to Office 365 -- subscription based software is sure to take off in the coming years. The office quite offers superb value for money... it's essentially five licenses (more if you count mobile installations) for the price of one. It's difficult to argue with and Office has, deservedly for me, earned its continue reputation.

But I've also spent a lot of 2013 working with Chromebook, Nexus devices and various Android handsets. Although I have a Nokia Lumia 928, Windows Phone still has a long was to go before it will sway me away from Android. I'm hoping that Windows Phone 8.1 will be the release that really impresses me.

What has 2013 meant to you? What have been your highlights and disappointments? Share the best and worst from the past twelve months below.

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