As another year draws to a close, we've been reflecting on the main technology events, launches and products of 2015. We've each picked our highlights of the year, along with our choice of what disappointed us most in the technology space.
Editor Madeline Bennett
For me, the highlight of 2015 has to be the sharpened focus on women in technology. This has been a perennial issue affecting the IT industry since I became a technology journalist 15 years ago, and the proportion of females working in technology firms has hovered around the 20 percent mark.
But I can see a small glimmer of light at the end of this long and winding tunnel. The Ellen Pao Silicon Valley gender discrimination case at the start of the year helped to propel gender in technology into the spotlight. Major players like Intel and Facebook now release diversity reports highlighting their (as yet small) gains in redressing the balance away from a white, male workforce. Salesforce dedicated an entire day of its Dreamforce event in September to women, and governments and schools are working with the IT sector to try to attract girls and young women into technology roles.
I can't see a dramatic shift occurring over the next five years in the 20/80 female/male makeup of the tech sector, as there are still hundreds of thousands of companies out there that don't acknowledge this as a problem or see value in a more balanced workforce. But the big-name vendors that are being open about their efforts should keep the numbers moving in the right direction, so we can at least aim for a quarter rather than a fifth by 2020.
On a less positive note, it's frustrating that some large companies are still unclear of the need to do some form of software compatibility testing for major platform updates. I'm talking about you, Microsoft and Apple.
Apple launched the latest OS X software in late September and it quickly became apparent that it caused all kinds of problems for the thousands of Mac users who rely on Microsoft Office. The Outlook client in Office for Mac 2011 and 2016 constantly crashed when syncing with the Exchange server, while Office 2011 users were unable to take advantage of the Split View multi-tasking feature on their Mac.
Apple said it was a Microsoft problem, and Microsoft said it was working with Apple on a fix. But one update and several weeks later, people were still reporting problems.
As one disgruntled user remarked: "[Apple] should have put a big red banner on their upgrade site that states 'Will make Outlook and other Windows programs unusable.'"
It's unreasonable, of course, to expect Apple, Microsoft, Google and other operating system vendors to test every possible app for compatibility with their latest versions. But surely they should have a check-list of core and most-used third-party apps that it would be worth working with the provider during the beta phrase to iron out any problems. And for the app providers themselves, there's little excuse for not keeping track of major platform updates like a new Mac version and ensuring compatibility.
Deputy editor Dan Worth
In the telecoms landscape it was great to see the ongoing uptake of superfast services made available by the Broadband Delivery UK framework which, while it has its problems and detractors, has over three million connections as a result of the plans.
The hope will be that BT and Three can use the added clout that the acquisitions will give them to continue investment in better networks with faster services and ongoing 5G developments.
On the topic of 5G it is worth noting that the UK is on the cutting edge of this work, as shown by the University of Surrey achieving at 1Tbps connection earlier this year, as V3 reported.
This is definitely a positive from 2015, as was BT’s development of G.fast services which could give copper connections a huge speed boost for the years ahead.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to give away his fortune for charitable purposes should be applauded and will hopefully encourage other billionaires to give away their fortunes, like the Victorian entrepreneurs of the past.
Perhaps not so positive this year were the weird net neutrality proposals put forward by the European Commission to allow the creation of a two-tier internet market for ‘specialised services’, zero-rating services and traffic management.
The plans had been criticised by several high-profile opponents, none more so than Sir Tim Berners-Lee, but MEPs gave them their overwhelming backing. This is highly dispiriting, especially given the EU’s desire to be a digital leader.
Another disappointment was the backtrack in Europe to end roaming charges by 2015 and instead bring this in by 2017. It’s great that roaming charges will go but it’s a shame we have to wait another two years.
Oh, and Twitter’s new love heart icon to ‘like’ tweets is horrible.
Technology editor Dan Robinson
Any look back at the highlights of 2015 has to include Windows 10, which looks to have restored a great deal of Microsoft's credibility after the fiasco of Windows 8, although there are still many things to gripe about in the new platform.
However, one of the most pleasing developments of 2015 has been the continued success of the Raspberry Pi. The team behind it delivered a beefed up Raspberry Pi 2 and a Raspberry Pi Zero that pushed the price down to an almost unbelievable £4.
The primary purpose of the Raspberry Pi is educational, and a glance at the official blog for the device shows the wide range of imaginative projects that kids and adults have come up with. If nothing else, the Raspberry Pi seems to be doing a good job of getting kids enthusiastic about technology and getting some valuable experience of it, especially when compared with our IT-challenged government.
Another cheery note came from BlackBerry, which might just have hit on a successful formula with the release of the Priv, an Android-powered smartphone that delivers a decent physical keyboard for those of us who find touchscreens error-prone and frustrating. The device has garnered positive reviews, which is good news for the troubled device maker.
On the downside, the internet continues to prove just how much of a Wild West it is, bringing to the surface many of the worst aspects of humanity.
This was demonstrated by a string of high publicity security breaches involving everything from subscriber names being disclosed for the infidelity-promoting Ashley Madison website, to customer bank account details being slurped from household brands such as TalkTalk, as commercial organisations continue to fail to take cyber security seriously enough.
Also depressing is the realisation that many of our leading politicians are technologically illiterate, as demonstrated by David Cameron's idiotic notion of banning encryption, which would, at a stroke, have made privacy and security impossible and killed e-commerce and online banking in a misguided attempt to stop potential terrorists concealing information.
And don't get me started on the Snoopers' Charter, which shows how little regard the pond life in Westminster have for the rights of the citizens they claim to protect, as they shamelessly cite the recent Paris terror attacks as justification for spying on the internet activity of everyone in the country.
Reporter Roland Moore-Colyer
This year has been something of a whirlwind for technology in the private and public sectors. Topping my list of positive actions is the infrastructure and IT overhaul at Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, courtesy of HP among others. The £200m project will see the hospital make significant savings in the coming years and allow the delivery of improved and more efficient care. It's an example of technology really being put to its best use.
The government has earmarked £1bn for technology in the NHS over the next five years, and I hope to see similar projects in 2016.
We also saw the introduction of government-as-a-platform, the concept of constructing public services out of common components to make the public sector more digital and efficient. This can only be a good thing in the face of severe budget cuts.
Over in the software world, I was glad to see Microsoft move from a rather clunky company operating in silos into one that offers more integrated software and, under Satya Nadella's rule, embraces big data and the cloud.
The same could be said of SAP, which looks to be truly pursuing more cloud-based offerings rather than trying to rework legacy software to be a jack-of-all-trades.
Facebook is another company doing a whole range of exciting things beyond its core social network, including plans to offer internet connectivity with carbon fibre drones and open source the majority of its software.
And tech industry stalwart IBM is really pushing its Watson cognitive computing technology into all manner of areas and applications.
I am also beginning to see the role of the chief information officer (CIO) really evolve into something that can drive, rather than merely support, a business. I was given a rundown of the skills and considerations the next CIO will need at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona.
I was also fortunate enough to see some innovative CIOs in action, including Williams F1 tech chief Graham Hackland and John Lewis CIO Paul Coby, both of whom are really looking at the effect IT can have on improving a company's performance.
Other 2015 highlights for me include the smorgasbord of varied and interesting startups that have submitted to V3's startup spotlight questions.
I have seen some very interesting real-world applications of modern technology, including the use of the Internet of Things in the retail environment of The Dandy Lab, and Glasgow's showcase of smart city technologies.
There have not been many downsides to 2015 in my coverage beats, but the dividing of HP, while arguably a positive move for the company, could herald the end of the era of big multi-faceted companies.
The departure of key figures in the Government Digital Service, including Mike Bracken and Francis Maude, was a bit of a blow to the government's digital agenda, although it does seem more on track in recent months. However, the initial failure of the government's £150m IT system for rural payments had a chilling effect on the ambitions of digital technology deployments.
Looking at the general technology world, I remain disappointed by wearables, even the well-received Apple Watch. And while IT giants harp on about the IoT, I still want to see some more compelling deployments.
Still, 2015 was a good year for the areas of technology I cover, and I am hopeful that 2016 will offer a bounty of innovations, particularly driverless cars, green tech and smarter homes, cities and devices.
Security writer Jason Murdock
2015 was the year that data breaches went mainstream, as a huge number of firms were hit with cyber attacks that spanned every industry and sector.
The past 12 months have proved that no-one is untouchable. Yet if we can glean one positive from all this it's that businesses are finally becoming aware of the scale of the problem.
It's become a cliché to say that it's not if, but when, a firm or government will be breached, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true.
I attended a speech by F-Secure's Mikko Hyppönen earlier this year in Helsinki when he warned that all of the Fortune 500 companies had been affected by cyber crime. That, if nothing else, shows the problems now facing business.
The breach at Ashley Madison had a headline-grabbing mixture of conspiracy, accusations of fraud, hacking, adultery and job losses. The cyber attack at TalkTalk, meanwhile, was a case study in how not to respond to a breach. Additionally, the hack at the US Office of Personnel Management continues to have repercussions as the forensic investigation rolls on.
You don't usually cover feel-good stories when writing about security, yet it is good to report about the increased industry collaboration and intelligence-sharing that is becoming more popular as an approach to fighting cyber crime.
Furthermore, firms are waking up to the fact that cyber incident response plans are now vital, and that can only be a sign of progress.
One cause for concern is the UK government's insistence on expanding surveillance with the much-publicised Snoopers' Charter. The proposal to store internet communication records for 12 months has already met with opposition from tech firms and privacy groups.
What's worse, the sunset clause in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act runs out in December 2016 and the UK government will be under increasing pressure to pass a replacement spying bill, which looks likely to be a version of the Investigatory Powers Bill.
Oh, and in a travesty unrelated to security, an emoji was voted as Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year. Yes, an emoji. Suddenly the inevitable cyber war doesn't sound so bad.
Reviews writer James Archer
A lot of quality hardware has passed through the V3 reviews lab - well, reviews cupboard - in 2015. Personal highlights include the blazingly fast Dell XPS 13 ultrabook, the ridiculously good value Motorola Moto G and XYZprinting's da Vinci Jr. 3D printer. Never before, or since, has a single piece of hardware made half the team drop what they were doing to see it in action. Such is the excitement and potential of 3D printing.
This was also the year when smartwatches finally won me over. I was never a fan: they were all too chunky, too ugly, too basic and too niche. One of my favourite recycled jokes I'd wheel out in conversations about smartwatches was that the only people you see wearing them are technology reviewers. Well, it's the manufacturers who are laughing now, having finally realised how important half-decent app support and sophisticated design are in creating a desirable wearable. The results, particularly the Huawei Watch, Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S2, are fully deserving of success.
That said, I am starting to think that it won't be such a bad thing if some of the larger vendors were, for want of a better phrase, taken down a peg or two. Obviously any good firm is going to have confidence in its products, but even some of my favourite kit of 2015 has combined seemingly arbitrary design flaws and omissions with stratospheric pricing that borders on the arrogant. I liked using the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, but £750 for a smartphone without a microSD slot? HP's EliteBook Folio 1020 G1, meanwhile, could have been one of the best laptops of the year if it didn't cost over £1,700 and include a pointless, battery-guzzling touchscreen.
Still, it's better for a product to be compromised than to be outright terrible and, while my colleagues have reported on various acts of tech-based villainy throughout the year, I've been largely spared from the worst that hardware has to offer.
There were exceptions, though. the HP ProBook 455 Ubuntu was an unconvincing argument for Canonical's OS project, and the Samsung Galaxy View - a titanic 18.4in media tablet with an awkward pivoting kickstand that can't be removed - is hands-down the most bizarre piece of mainstream gear I've seen in the past 12 months. And not in a good way.
Intel wants to get inside your car, despite missing out on mobile
'We'll keep fighting to fight to keep the web free and open,' claim EFF
Breached in March by the same attackers, claim 'insiders'
And all for less than £150, according to Keith