Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

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 finished for the day but, as he tells the story, “Ricky Ponting, the world’s best batsman, tapped me on the shoulder and, after having just routed the opposition with my bowling, asked me to do his job as well. He just felt that the Bangladesh attack posed too many threats to risk him at number three.” He was given the role as ‘nightwatchman’ and when Matty Hayden holed out, Dizzy went out to face the last seven overs and protect his captain.

Not only did he do that but by Day 4 of the Test, on his 31st birthday, Gillespie reminded the Bangladesh players of the original Dizzy Gillespie’s 1988 album when he batted Endlessly to reach a double century. The only nightwatchman to do so ever. The only player in the history of Test cricket with an average below twenty with a single score above 200. He was named Player of the Match and the Series – and was never selected to play for Australia again.

In May 2016, the late editor of an Australian Fairfax publication, Brian O’Flaherty, published my first Tech Talk column. I had been writing IT columns for IT audiences since 2004 but this was my first serious foray into the general populace. Today sees the publication of my 200th column so, just like Dizzy, a double century that I wasn’t necessarily planning upon when Brian asked me to submit my first column. This column now has a home in 140 mastheads.

When I look back over those two hundred columns, the variety of topics explored has been vast and the changes in technology? Immense.

My columns have explored mobile radiation and SAR measurement through to current 5G conspiracy theories. I have discussed methods of international roaming and Internet access everywhere from homes to planes. Cars are a favourite – electric; hydrogen; autonomous; driver assisted and more. My nostalgic bent gives me the opportunity to reminisce about video cassettes and vinyl records and my old BlackBerry through to games such as Wolfenstein and Crash Bandicoot or the tech used by 007. Democracy solutions aren’t missed with my ideas on electronic voting and how social media sites need to address misinformation and even how content moderators are now playing the role of editors.

Rumours on new technology launches are revealed and then, after launches, the latest products are dissected to give you the latest information to help make decisions on your technology. Announcements at international conferences are broken down into what may be relevant to the real world. Technology gift ideas are explored – they may be Christmas gift ideas or what I am buying my wife for her birthday.

Advice is given to help prevent ransomware or phishing or scams or just how to setup home automation.

If it is technology I can see society still talking about and using in five years then it has a place in a Tech Talk column. Hopefully, unlike Dizzy, I will continue on to my triple century and well beyond.

Tell me a topic you would like to see discussed in a future column at ask@techtalk.digital.

Mathew Dickerson