Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

16.10.2020 The latest iPhone - Tech Talk Column 220


A moth navigates by transverse orientation. It keeps the dominant light source at a certain position in relation to their body to guide them. When we turn on a light on our verandah, those same moths keep flying around the light until they finally meet their demise. As much as they try and resist, the decoy of the light is too much. In a similar way I was up at 4am on Wednesday this week. As much as I wanted to sleep and read about the event in the morning, the lure of yet another Apple  ..

09.10.2020 Technology has limitations - Tech Talk Column 219


I don’t sing. I am not against songs or music but I believe it is important you know your limitations. Holding a tune is not a talent I have so I don’t wish to subject people around me to listening to terribly out of tune singing. Similarly with technology. It is important to know limitations. No matter how advanced the technology, there are always limits. They may be high limits or limits we never dream of reaching, but there are limits nonetheless. It was many years ago ..

02.10.2020 The need for Internet speed - Tech Talk Column 218


Futurist. It conjures up the image of a person sitting in a darkened room with two hands placed on a large orb floating over a table with an unsuspecting victim waiting to hear if they should move to Toledo. In this context, possibly a better term might be charlatan. The real futurist spends a significant amount of time researching the past, looking at historical movements, investigating breakthroughs and combining all the available data to build some form of roadmap to where a partic ..

25.9.2020 Is AI going to prove to be painful? Tech Talk Column 217


Before COVID-19 hit the world, there were six aged care facilities in the region that I would regularly visit – sometimes with one of my children - to deliver a presentation on technology or perform poetry for the residents. On some occasions I might be interrupted during my presentation by one of the residents. I dismissed it as a resident being a bit cantankerous. Sometimes my kids would comment that a particular person seemed rude. Other residents would tell me the person in questio ..

18.9.2020 The irony of Newcastle reducing coal dependence - Tech Talk Column 216


In September 1797, Lieutenant John Shortland went in the direction of Port Stephens searching for runaway convicts. He stumbled across what he later described as “a very fine coal river” and, in one of those ultimate moments of praising your boss, he took it upon himself to name the estuary the Hunter River after Captain John Hunter who was Governor of the British colony in New South Wales. With Shortland’s description of the deep-water port and the abundant coal in the ..

11.9.2020 The Holy Grail of solar panels - Tech Talk Column 215


In raising our four children, my wife and I hope we have managed to achieve many things but, at the very least, we hope we have taught them to have a sprinkling of scepticism about the world around them. When something seems just way too good to be true then, well, there is a pretty good chance that it is. You know the type of thing…the five million pound lottery win for a draw you didn’t enter; the windfall from the massive estate from the overseas deceased unknown relative and ..

04.9.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 214


Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's…sorry, it’s not Superman. As much as many people like the idea of a guy flying around with his underpants over his pants protecting us, it is much more likely that if you look up in the sky today, you will see a drone. With a third company recently cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial drone deliveries, we continue to edge closer to the vision of a thirty-minute turnaround from order to delive ..

28.8.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 213


I was looking through some photos recently and stumbled across an old photo of me from 1995. It was a newspaper clipping that had me with my head down on my keyboard sound asleep. No, it wasn’t a photo at the end of a night of hard-core gaming. It was at the opening of my business at midnight for the launch of Windows 95. This week sees the twenty fifth anniversary of the official launch of Microsoft Windows 95. Steve Jobs had not been at Apple for ten years so this was a heady tim ..

20.8.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 212


Pick your extravagance of choice. Chocolate, coffee, fruit, whatever. If I offered you a free single serving of your indulgence immediately OR a full day with free access to your preference if you went without for a week, would you wait for the greater reward? This is the basic premise of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. Young children sat down with one marshmallow in front of them. If they could resist eating the single marshmallow for fifteen minutes, they would receive two. In fol ..

14.8.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 211


I started selling computers in 1989. Desktop computers. It took me three years to sell my first notebook. Despite the fact that desktops only hold a market share position of 22.6 per cent now, thirty years ago it was rare to see someone use a notebook. There were two main reasons – high price and poor performance. The first notebook I did sell had a monochrome screen and was using the brand new 486SX processor along with 2MB of RAM and an 80MB hard drive. And I wanted one – b ..