Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

16.8.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 159


Paraphrasing the former US Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, we are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. One of the greatest aspects of the launch of the iPhone on 29 June 2007 was that Apple was solving a problem that consumers across the world didn’t know existed. Here we are, only twelve years later, and smartphone market penetration sits at  ..

09.8.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 158


In technology and innovation, it can be as much about when as it is about what. Six years ago, I was involved with a charity event and a standard recipe for such an event was for an auctioneer to take the microphone and spend thirty minutes trying to extract money from wallets in the room. For people paying good money to attend an event, it seemed an unnecessary interruption to the night for the sake of fundraising. I had an idea to use technology instead. So I cobbled together a few basic o ..

02.8.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 157


For over one hundred years, pragmatic advice freely handed out to people or organisations in a seemingly doomed situation has been “if you can’t lick ‘em, jine ‘em.” I suspect that was the logic applied in the latest move just announced by Foxtel. We should go back just a few steps. In 1995, a venture between News Corporation and Telstra created an organisation that would use a coaxial network to transmit a TV signal to consumers who would pay for this s ..

26.7.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 156


“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” It would be hard to imagine what Newton would think, almost 350 years later, of how the world of technology has taken to heart this concept of building upon previous knowledge. Today I am going to talk about one specific product which is a little unusual for my tech columns, but it is the best example I have seen for some time of that concept of a product that builds upon a number of different pieces of te ..

19.7.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 155


Great! There is a new app I want to use that all my friends are talking about. I can hardly wait to download it and start using it. Terms and conditions, I hear you say? Ha! Who has time to read all that legal gobbledygook? I am sure it will be OK and I won’t be able to make much sense of it anyway. I want to just download the app and start using it. Click Allow and Next a few times… Great. I am in. Wow this is a great app. I can see why so many people are using it. Fas ..

12.7.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 154


Toyota has just started testing a new Prius with a solar roof that will be used to charge a plug-in battery. With the increased efficiency of solar panels, it makes sense. To give you some perspective, the amount of power that hits the earth’s surface at midday at the equator is 1kW per square metre. The solar cells on the Prius, being only 0.03mm think, will deliver about 860W of power. This is enough to add 45km of range in an average day of sitting in sunlight. The World Solar Chall ..

05.7.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 153


Woohoo! I just won my grocery supply for the next year! With four hungry kids our grocery bill is a significant expense in our household. I can hardly wait to see those free groceries appearing at my doorstep. I’ve been waiting for a week now but still nothing. I have given the nice people at the major supermarket chain all the detailed information they asked for. I even paid them that small amount of money they requested to have the legal contracts for my prize sent to me by couri ..

28.6.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 152


I remember growing up playing the board game Monopoly. It was as much a psychological experiment with family and friends as it was a game. The analysis started when the tokens were chosen. Battleship – cutthroat. Boot – grudge. Car – outgoing and passionate. Hat – introverted and strategic. The Iron – toilers. Dog – trustworthy. Thimble – practical and sensitive. Wheelbarrow – tough. The next step was the selection of the banker – the con ..

21.6.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 151


I am sure you remember the old trick question that your science teacher gave you at some stage during your high school education. Which has more mass - a kilogram of feathers or a kilogram of lead? Along those same lines, which is of more value – a GB of data in Australia or a GB of data in Bali? Using the same logic as the science question, the answer should be that a GB of data is the same anywhere. Tell that to a family who recently returned from Bali to be met with a $30,00 ..

14.6.2019 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 150


Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…my taxi! We haven’t noticed any people from Krypton flying around our skies but we are certainly closer to the world depicted in The Jetsons, the animated sitcom that originally aired in 1962. This cartoon was remarkably good at predicting the world of the future. We now communicate via video calls; we watch flat screen televisions; electronic sliding doors are commonplace; we have vending machines for f ..