Best of Giz Explains 2008: Stuff You Absolutely Need to Know

I hope you guys learned as much reading Giz Explains this year as I did writing them. Here are the best, the ones explaining stuff you absolutely must know.

Every Video Format You Need to Know: Do you download video from the internets? Read this! It also has delicious pancakes.

Why HD Video Downloads Aren't Very High Def: You're downloading and watching more video than ever online, so you should know the dirty secrets about the video quality that services like Apple TV call HD.

Best of Giz Explains 2008: Stuff You Absolutely Need to Know

How to Buy an HDTV Like a Pro: Combine this super-servicey edition of Giz Explains with our complete how-to-buy-an-HDTV follow-up, and you'll hear Best Buy employees' knees knock every time you pull into the parking lot.

Best of Giz Explains 2008: Stuff You Absolutely Need to Know

An Illustrated Guide to Every Stupid Cable You Need: Our first illustrated guide to something with an infinitely stupid number of permutations, our picto-guide to cables and ports covers essentially every major kind you'll come across in today's tangly, not-quite-wireless world—except Apple's Mini DisplayPort, but, uh, screw that.

Everything You Wanted to Know About DRM: An extensive catalog of every major type of DRM known to man, and just how each one makes watching movies, listening to music or playing games more of a pain in the ass than it should be, including hits like "Why can't you play music from the iTunes Store on a Zune?" and "Did my rental download just go away?"

Everything You Need to Know About Hard Drives: From every stupid connector to why they die and you're left cursing and pulling your hair out to its rhythmic, mocking clicking, this covers it all.

Best of Giz Explains 2008: Stuff You Absolutely Need to Know

An Illustrated Guide to Smartphone OSes: A basic rundown of every smartphone OS, from the iPhone to Windows Mobile, with pictures, because we love pictures.

An Illustrated Guide to Every Stupid Memory Card You Need: You could try to actually keep up with every stupid spin on plastic cards with memory jammed inside of them, or you could bookmark our sweet guide.

There is, of course, more where all that came from. If there's something we didn't get around to explaining this year that you're dying to know, hit us up with your pressing query at tips@gizmodo.com with "Giz Explains" in the subject line.