Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

10.7.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 206


“According to most studies, people’s number-one fear is public speaking. Number two is death…Now this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Jerry Seinfeld, in his introduction to Episode 63 of his popular sitcom series, noted there are seemingly endless surveys and studies of everything from, well, your number-one fear to whether a good playlist will help you work out harder (apparen ..

03.7.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 205


It was the night before my twenty-first birthday party and I was in high spirits. For some inexplicable reason, it was decided we should test the idiom of “zìxīang máodùn” or more simply put, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? In this case the unstoppable force was my V8 253 Holden HZ Ute and the immovable object was a 6.5m Ironbark pole with a 300mm radius that was buried 2m into the ground. As any good scientist w ..

26.6.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 204


I was a car thief once. OK, so not actually a car thief, but I remember the day when I certainly looked like a car thief. I didn’t have a dark hoodie and gloves that seem important for car thieves in the movies but I did have the one piece of equipment that was important. Blue packing tape…and I was also caught in the act of breaking in to a locked car. The major difference between myself and a car thief, and what I had to explain to my new friends in blue, was that the car  ..

19.6.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 203


Way back in 2009 I was writing columns for a computer magazine and I was discussing some concepts to reduce our carbon emissions. One of my speculative ideas was to produce all of Australia’s power via solar panels. My rudimentary calculations at the time showed that we would only need about one thousand square kilometres of solar panels to power this nation. That could be in one location (think of our Simpson Desert) or distributed (think of rooftop solar) but that was the total area  ..

11.6.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 202


As I walked through my local supermarket this week, I performed one simple action that reminded me of the incredibly opulent society we live in. I checked the time on my watch and noticed that it was a little chilly outside. I removed my phone from my pocket and opened my car’s app. I turned on the artificial climate inside my car and cranked it up to a comfortable 23 and turned the seat heater on. When I arrived at my car it would then already be at my preferred temperature and hence  ..

05.6.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 201


I have often mused about the lack of intellectual discourse and logical debate around election time. Three-word catchphrases and headlines seem to dominate the landscape which doesn’t leave a lot of room to demonstrate the development of an idea or a plan. Maybe that suits some political parties who would be exposed if more than a three-word catchphrase was required – but I digress. Electricity has been a recent election battleground where philosophically opposing views have  ..

29.5.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 200


16 April 2006. Chittagong. The first day of the last Test in the Australia versus Bangladesh series. Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie shared the new ball with Brett Lee. After Gillespie had finished his first five overs, he had the figures of three for eleven and wasn’t used again in the innings. The Tigers were all out for 197 late in the day and Dizzy had the best bowling figures and best economy rate for the Aussies. When Australia went out to bat, Gillespie thought he was fi ..

22.5.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 199


It may seem like quite an easy feat in our current environment but way back in 2006 I had an interesting request from a friend. His elderly father had passed away and their family was spread far and wide around the globe. Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t possible for one particular sibling to make it home from overseas. The friend asked me to setup a live stream of the service. It wasn’t called a live stream back then but the concept was the same. I somehow felt slightly awkward s ..

15.5.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 198


When I was young, I would sometimes sit with my hip and groovy (much) older teenage sisters and listen to their music – usually on records but sometimes just listening to the radio. I remember one night when I heard Kiki Dee’s unique soul vocals pump out “I’ve Got the Music in Me” and at the end of the song, the radio announcer declared that she must have swallowed a radio! It was a poor joke but we found it amusing and rang the radio station to tell the DJ of o ..

08.5.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 197


As humans we have a basic desire to be loved – and an innate curiosity. If you want to see fast actions from a person, mix these two ingredients and stand back! “This is a tech column,” I hear you thinking. “Why is he talking about psychology?” This last week we saw the twentieth anniversary of one of the most infamous computer viruses the world has ever seen – and it relied on these two aspects of human behaviour to be so devastating. Looking ..