Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

06.8.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 210


I attended a local Chamber of Commerce function in April 2004 and the guest speaker was Tom Potter. No, not some distant relative of Harry. Tom founded the Eagle Boys Pizza chain in 1987. During his presentation, Tom mentioned that they had expanded the chain through New Zealand and had a monopoly on certain aspects of the pizza business in that country. As a throwaway line, Tom noted that many people think competition is good in business but he was of the opinion that owning a monopoly busi ..

31.7.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 209


Now normally I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but…Toot Toot! This week saw the thirtieth anniversary of the mobile phone network being switched on in my home city. My business had the privilege of enabling the very first connection in that city. I had started my first electronics business the previous year but it was on a trip to the Adelaide Grand Prix in November 1989 that school friend, Daryl Coxon, told me all about this new concept of mobiles. He said there was probably  ..

24.7.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 208


A decade ago I was privileged to have a tour through a new $18 million tiered theatre that was nearing completion. What most impressed me was the acoustic performance of the theatre. Sitting in the audience in any seat a person on stage could be heard clearly with no amplification necessary but then when the half million dollar sound system was fired up, the acoustics were even more impressive. At least I thought so. One of the other people in the tour group was a self-confessed audi ..

17.7.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 207


Way back in those crazed eighties when most kids were watching a Steven Spielberg movie on their Betamax or learning to moonwalk like Michael Jackson, I was doing my best impression of emulating the stars of BMX Bandits - although I never could find a girl that looked like Nicole Kidman collecting trolleys at the local supermarket. We would visit Tom Dawson at his cycle shop and marvel at the latest Mongoose and Quicksilver BMX bikes – in sizes small and large - and Tom would look  ..

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  ..