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On this week’s GeekWire radio show, we’re counting down our top 10 picks from our most popular stories of the year.

For this show, we analyzed the top posts of 2014 on GeekWire, as determined by overall traffic, and then selected our top 10 picks from that list — representing key trends from the past year, unexpected news events that captured the attention of GeekWire readers, and a few surprises along the way.

As special bonus, in the final segment we’re joined in the studio by the person at the center of the most-read post on GeekWire this year. Listen to the show here, and continue reading for the full list of stories in our countdown.

10. Apple hiring for mysterious new engineering office in Seattle

Photo Illustration by Monica Nickelsburg, GeekWire, original photo by Dan Hershman, via Flickr.
Photo Illustration by Monica Nickelsburg, GeekWire, original by Dan Hershman, via Flickr.

Apple joined the parade of Silicon Valley companies that have established engineering outposts in the Seattle region, through an acquisition in its case. Several of the new employees in the Apple office are from Union Bay Networks, a cloud networking startup that was headquartered in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

In the first segment of this week’s show, we tell the story behind the story, explaining how we dug up this scoop, and talking about what it means for Seattle’s future as the cloud capital of the world.

9. T-Mobile CEO crashes AT&T’s CES party, gets escorted out

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has shaken up the traditional wireless industry with a series of disruptive “Un-carrier” initiatives, but in this case he literally crashed the party, showing up uninvited at AT&T’s Macklemore concert on the eve of CES in Las Vegas, and promptly getting escorted out of the venue.

John Legere and the turnaround of T-Mobile was one of the biggest stories of the year in technology industry, and this incident was a symbolic flash-point for the company’s resurgence.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

8. Bob Marley’s family launches global marijuana brand, with help from a Seattle company

Cedella Marley, Rita Marley and Ronan Marley. Photo courtesy of Marley Natural.
Cedella Marley, Rita Marley and Ronan Marley. Photo courtesy of Marley Natural.

The rollout of legalized marijuana in Washington state was one of the big stories of the year, and one firm capitalizing on the trend is Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, which backs companies including the Leafly marijuana review app, among other ventures.

Privateer announced plans in November to launch an international marijuana-products brand, Marley Natural, with the family of late reggae great Bob Marley. This story by GeekWire’s Taylor Soper went viral, easily putting it among the most-read stories of the site for the year.

7. Swype meets iPhone, finally: Apple’s iOS 8 to bring third-party keyboard support

swypeOver the years, we’ve noticed that large amounts of people come to GeekWire via the search terms, “Swype iPhone” or “When is Swype coming to iPhone,” and other variations on that theme. Yes, there has been a huge demand for the Swype keyboard on the Apple platform, and it finally happened this year as Apple opened up iOS to third-party keyboard support.

6. Everything I know about Twitch I learned from my live-streaming husband

twitch2Amazon’s $970 million cash acquisition of game-streaming service Twitch made a lot of people scratch their heads. Why would the e-commerce company pay so much for a company that lets gamers watch other gamers game? In this post, GeekWire columnist Monica Guzman explained the Twitch phenomenon through the experience of her husband, Jason Preston.

5. Photos: This developer says his new iPhone 6 bent for no reason at all

The iPhone 6 “Bendgate” story was one of the biggest and strangest of the year, with people claiming that the frames of their new iPhone 6 Plus devices were easily bending. But this situation was even stranger: Seattle developer Kav Latiolais said his iPhone 6 (not iPhone 6 Plus) had inexplicably bent after he left it to charge overnight while leaning against a wall.

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4. Boeing’s new Seahawks-themed 747 takes first flight in 12 pattern to salute Seattle fans

2014 was a big year for Seahawks pride, as companies around the region went all-out to show their support for the football team on its march to the Super Bowl championship. But the epitome of geekiness was achieved by Boeing, which painted a 747 in Seahawks colors and then flew it in a “12” pattern across Washington state in a salute to the team’s fans.

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3. ‘Amageddon’: How Amazon’s culture is taking a toll on Seattle’s future

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire File Photo)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire File Photo)

For the future of the Seattle region, perhaps no story is as big as Amazon’s rapid growth, and this post by Jeff Reifman received widespread attention for its detailed look at the impact of the company’s expansion on the city’s culture. As he wrote, “For the foreseeable future, Seattle’s prospects will rise and fall with Amazon.”

This was one in a series of stories on GeekWire over the past year looking at Amazon’s impact on the city in areas including housing, the environment and even the dating scene (another issue raised by Reifman).

2. Meet Microsoft’s cell phone: Nokia 130 will sell for $25

Nokia-130-hero-2-jpgIt was a year of unprecedented change for Microsoft, with the appointment of new CEO Satya Nadella, a major upheaval of the Microsoft board, and a massive acquisition with the company’s $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft maker Mojang.

So how in the heck did this story about a $25 cell phone, the Nokia 130, end up as the second-most-popular story published on GeekWire this year? Chalk it up to the novelty of the situation, as Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition put the longtime software company in the odd position of releasing a standard cell phone, complete with an old-fashioned, dedicated keypad.

And then there was that prominent link on Reddit, which accounted for more than 60 percent of the traffic on this post.

1. My Uber got pulled over by the Denver police — and then things got really weird

One afternoon this past July, my colleague John Cook’s older brother, Dave, called John’s in the GeekWire newsroom to tell us about something very odd that had just happened to him while riding in an Uber to the Denver Airport. The car was pulled over by a Denver Police officer, and the ensuing incident became a major news story after it was recounted by Dave in this first-person post on GeekWire.

GeekWire co-founder John Cook, left, with his brother Dave Cook in the KIRO Radio studios. (Erynn Rose Photo)
GeekWire co-founder John Cook, left, with his brother Dave Cook in the KIRO Radio studios. (Erynn Rose Photo)

Yes, the most-read story on GeekWire in 2014 was written by a Cook — not by the GeekWire co-founder, but by his brother. Never in a million years would we have expected this.The story was part of an eventful and tumultuous year for Uber, which won a battle to operate in Seattle without a cap on drivers, and repeatedly found itself a lightning rod for controversy in Silicon Valley and elsewhere around the world.

In the final segment of the show this week, Dave Cook joins us in the studio to talk about the Denver incident, including the subsequent apology from the Denver Police chief. Dave, who was reluctantly thrust into the spotlight as a result of all of this, says he was impressed with how the Chief Robert White handled the situation. Also on the show, John shares some fun behind-the-scenes details, explaining how the situation turned him into his brother’s de facto press agent.

Thanks for reading and listening, everybody! Next week’s show will feature a look ahead to the key trends to watch in 2015 in the tech industry.

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