Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

19.1.2018 Fairfax Tech Column 78


My tech article this week is dedicated to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I have been inundated with questions lately related to bitcoin specifically - or cryptocurrencies in general. When media articles are written about people who have turned US$3,000 into US$25 million in just a few years, everyone wants to jump on that same boat for fear of missing out. This is not a financial advice column so I won’t tell you whether you should invest in bitcoin (for the record I have zero investments ..

12.1.2018 Fairfax Tech Column 77


Today is the last day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas. The 2018 version was the 51st anniversary of the largest global gathering of innovation and electronics with almost 200,000 people in attendance over the four days including 8,000 media. To put that in perspective, the recently concluded fifth Ashes Test held in Sydney was hailed a huge success – with 182,349 people attending over the five days. You know that electronics is big when it attracts more  ..

05.1.2018 Fairfax Tech Column 76


When Australian Director, Peter Weir, released The Truman Show in 1998, I am not sure he would have thought how the world would look twenty years after the release of his movie. In the movie, Truman Burbank’s entire life is being broadcast to the world 24/7. That concept might have sounded like a fictional concept when it was released, but electronics monitoring has come a long way in those twenty years. Last year Australians spent just over $3 Billion on the purchase and installation  ..

29.12.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 75


Now here is an engineering challenge to keep your mind occupied over the Christmas break. Firstly, take a geostationary satellite delivering Internet connectivity to a large chunk of the earth. I have spoken about the inherent issue with satellite technology before. For the satellite to stay above the same patch of dirt, it has to be geostationary. Without a constant power source to drive it forward, for an object to stay above the same spot on earth, the satellite has to be approximatel ..

22.12.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 74


Christmas is coming and people are full of good cheer. Well, at least the people I associate with are full of fun and frivolity but unfortunately there is a darker side to human nature. No matter what time of year it is, security is important. Regular readers of this column would have heard me mention various security aspects before but today I want to focus on passwords. Just writing the word conjures up terrible images in the minds of most people. There are too many passwords. There a ..

15.12.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 73


With Christmas just around the corner (where did the year go?) I thought it was time to look at what gifts were available for the geek in your life. As any friend/partner/acquaintance of a true geek knows only too well, buying for the technically focused individual can be a challenge. When buying a ‘practical’ gift, it is critical to fully research all specifications of all the available options and then choose the best item based on the one specification that the gift-recipient  ..

08.12.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 72


“Merry Christmas” And with those timeless words, a new communication tool was born. Twenty-five years ago last Sunday, Richard Jarvis, a director at Vodafone, was attending a party in Berkshire. His mobile phone made a noise like a phone call but it wasn’t a phone call. Neil Papworth was sitting in front of a computer back at the office and had just sent the world’s first text message to a phone. Of course there was significant research and technical wor ..

30.11.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 71


The Internet isn’t broken, so Donald Trump has decided to fix it! And so starts the discussion around Net Neutrality. Let me start by giving a simple explanation of Net Neutrality. I have a water mains that brings water into my house from the Council water mains in my street. Our street is fed by larger water mains that feeds several streets and so on until the water is back at the main water storage facility. When I turn my tap on to have a shower or wash my hands or to flush  ..

24.11.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 70


One of the most common concerns I hear from people contemplating putting anything in “the Cloud” is the fear that their personal information will be viewed by someone else. It is not that most people have huge dark secrets about a secret marriage and another set of kids on the other side of the world (OK – some do) but people feel uncomfortable with their personal information being accessed by a stranger. I totally understand. My typical response to these people is that com ..

17.11.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 69


CVC. CR. AVC. PoI. FTTP. FTTN. FTTB. FW. Mbps. RSP. I think the National Broadband Network (NBN) has lots of people suffering from TMIS (Too Many Initialisms Syndrome – OK, you caught me, I made that one up). My general feeling is that people don’t really care what these Initialisms stand for or mean – they simply want to have reliable and fast Internet that is commensurate with the promise from their Retail Service Provider (RSP). The ONLY reason that the general publi ..