Usually, we see a pretty slow news cycle in the last full week of the year, since most people in the business world are taking advantage of vacation days before they expire.

However, 2011’s final week kept us on our toes with a number of good stories. We had a wonderful feature about a Left 4 Dead fan film as well as a report on Ocean Marketing’s ridiculous string of emails. We sat down with Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley to talk about the startup’s future. Also, SOPA’s crumbling support, Go Daddy boycotts, Anonymous’ Stratfor hack, iPad 3 rumors and VentureBeat Executive Editor Dylan Tweney’s embrace of his inner New Jersey Shore (captured on video) made it a week to remember. If you missed any of it, here’s a recap of our best stories:

Editor’s Picks

The most interesting phones of 2011: what mattered most in a year of smartphone overload
It seems like every week a must-have smartphone is either announced or released. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to track which phones are actually worth paying attention to and which will be swiftly thrown into the scrap heap of devices nobody cares about. So, after a year of smartphone overload, we’re looking back tp see which devices actually mattered. Some will be obvious, others less so. But perhaps by paying special attention to the most relevant devices of 2011, we’ll be able steel ourselves for the avalanche of new models coming in 2012. (Don’t forget that the next Consumer Electronics Show is just weeks away.)

Foursquare’s claim to fame, the check-in, could become its downfall
What is Foursquare? The answer is far more complex than it should be. The startup’s purpose in life is so muddled that it now finds itself in the midst of a self-imposed identity crisis that could cause it to fall victim to Facebook.

The making of an amazing Left 4 Dead fan film (exclusive)
Northern Five Entertainment and Airsoft GI recently released their joint Left 4 Dead short film to the world. Sporting Hollywood-level production values but produced on a shoestring, the video quickly surpassed half a million views on YouTube, and the teaser trailer alone garnered over 400,000 views. GamesBeat sat down with Northern Five director and co-founder Adrian Picardi for an exclusive interview to discuss the film’s budget, concept, reception, and why Hollywood is so damn bad at making video game movies.

VBWeekly: A dramatic re-enactment of Ocean Marketing’s PR flop In this week’s video, VentureBeat does a dramatic reading of one of the most entertainingly stupid email chains ever to see the light of day — featuring the superb acting abilities of Dylan Tweney and Christopher Peri.

Most Popular

Ocean Marketing: How to self-destruct your company with just a few measly emails
Strap yourself in, you’re about to witness the most outlandlish PR blunder in video gaming history. And trust me, there have been many. Starting earlier this morning with a post on Penny Arcade, co-founder Mike “Gabe” Krahulik brought to light a series of emails between Dave, a customer politely inquiring about the status of his Avenger PlayStation 3 controller order, and Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing, the PR lead for the product.

Go Daddy loses over 37,000 domains due to SOPA stance
Hosting and domain registrar company Go Daddy has lost more than 37,000 domains in the past two days due to the company’s wishy-washy stance on the Stop Online Piracy Act. The fleeing domains comes as a result of the intense backlash from customers and Internet critics after Go Daddy appeared on an official list of companies supporting SOPA. The internet responded by staging a widespread boycott to encourage people to switch their domains to another registrar, which Go Daddy initially dismissed as having little impact on its business. Now it seems that assessment wasn’t entirely accurate.

Top 10 hilarious and surprising viral videos of 2011
YouTube may have already picked the biggest videos to hit the web this year, but there’s a host of great videos that didn’t make the cut. From vigilante cyclists to deadpan taxidermists to obligatory cute kittens, the web was full of strange, funny, sad and infuriating events and characters. We decided to cap off the year with a list of 10 viral videos we especially liked.

iPad 3 rumor mill: two new iPads planned for January
We’re not even in 2012 yet, but the iPad 3 rumor mill is in full swing. The latest rumor: Apple is preparing two new iPad models for a January debut.

10 things you need to know about Anonymous’ Stratfor hack
On Dec. 24th, hacker collective Anonymous stole credit card info and other sensitive data from U.S. security firm Stratfor, but keeping track of who and what are affected by the scandal can be difficult. We’ve put together a 10-point FAQ for better understanding the major hacking incident.