That was the year that was!

That was the year that was. Let’s start with the tech deals done dirt cheap that didn’t make it in 2013:

  • Simcity 10 years in the relaunch of a much loved game totally botched the games launch.
  • Reddit lost it in its attempt at social media justice by muddying the waters in the search for the Boston marathon bombers.
  • Twitter’s new music discovery service started with a whimper and died with a burp.
  • Dell can’t say die and refuses to accept the general PC’s day is dead and gone.
  • BlackBerry is undergoing a death by a thousand cuts. Apart from President Obama who do you know that has one? No one.
  • Adobe upset everyone with its move to subscription software to absolutely outrage 38 million of their customers with a massive security breach of their credit card details.
  • Facebook Home for smart phones didn’t grab users with its first attempt although the company insists it will persist.
  • Microsoft Surface Tablet didn’t make a ripple on the surface of worldwide tablet sales.

Australians internet habits for the year was to check the weather, download videos big time, check our social media, and play smart phone games. However the difference in 2013 was the increasing use of mobile smart devices. Half of Australia is now on the internet and one third of them now access the internet on mobile or wireless links.

Google trending analysis of our search curiosity put celebrities dead before their time high on the list. Points of trivia concerning trivial reality TV shows confirmed the public’s increasing demand for reality avoidance.

We did however use the Rural Fire Service during our increasingly deadly bush fire season. Nearly all of us worried about someone near to us in the path of a fast moving fire somewhere. Our wonderful BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) received 471 million visits reflecting our fascination for cyclones heatwaves and bushfires.
We all expressed a morbid interest in the 24 hour, slogan driven, negative message electioneering of our modern more than likely reviled politicians. The Electoral Commission’s more than 12 million page views on election night reflected a 45% rise from the previous election.

Much else didn’t change. We are too lazy to bookmark so we banked, emailed, social media’d, checked weather, searched for jobs and real estate, booked accommodation and travel, shopped on Ebay and the such all from shortcutting out of Google.

The Twitter spikes caused by Australia’s 2 million Twitter users was a depressing reflection on our general level of education. It is not surprising that the majority of spikes were around mindless conversation pieces like the moment Dami Im was crowned winner of The X Factor. Whoever the hell he or she is. It’s not surprising after a survey of Australians general science knowledge found that 40% of us had no idea it takes the earth one year to revolve around the sun and that since the re-release of Jurassic Park on Blu-ray that humans lived in the time of dinosaurs. Small wonder that Twitter peaks concentrated around conversation pieces from television shows.

Some serious topics did trend, leadership spills and drugs in sport being the main ones. However the word television needs to be qualified. 2013 saw a large increase in the number of people using internet, subscription TV, video on demand and catch-up TV particularly children’s shows. Does anyone still have a video “Blockbuster” store in their town? If you do you won’t for long.

Season three “Game of Thrones” confirmed Australians as the most prolific illegal downloaders in the world. Downloading from smartphones and tablets rose 97 per cent to about 6545 terabytes a month.
Looking forward to 2014 I’m wondering if I will be able to 3D print a lifelong replacement for a chronic ingrown toenail or invest in an e-ink tattoo parlour providing removable, moving multi-coloured tattoos.

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Print me a Body Part

I’m thinking of getting a tattoo. This sentence can send a chill down any parents backbone. What I suggest is you Google: the oldest ugliest person on the planet with a total body tattoo of their own design, done by an amateur and then exposed to 45 years of sun damage, wrinkling, freckles and liver spots. Print it with a colour laser on photographic paper and leave it next to your offspring’s breakfast. This is your first line of defence. If this fails tell them you have read an article about the development of e-ink. Tell them they should wait until its released and they can go through life with a series of tattoos that can be cleared and redone effortlessly with these new e-ink tattoo pens. Tell them they could make money from these e-ink tattoos from the new Tatoogle AdSense program that will turn them into walking advertisements. If this hasn’t been invented yet it will be. Your third line of defence is to give up and invest in a tattoo removal business and make your retirement fortune when these Y-geners reach their late thirties or early forties. When the blue dolphin starts to look like a maggot with feet.  If everything fails you could do what Barack Obama apparently said to his girls: Whatever tattoos you girls get, me and mum will get exactly the same!

The body modification subculture into “bodyhacking” are experimenting with ever stranger body implants. The latest trend is having magnetic implants inserted. Like magnets inserted in the fingertips.
Magnets could be useful for people working with electronics to sense live wires, as well as to perform neat tricks, like pick up bottle caps and paperclips“. Eric Boyd, president of Hacklab Toronto.
“Bio-coated” magnetic earphones in the earlobes, infra-red ranging devices to measure distances and to provide additional senses are only some of the incredibly painful procedures being performed by these body artists not authorised to use anaesthetic. The paying biohackers are prepared to suffer for this strange artform it seems. My first thought was: ooop’s I’ve just wiped my USB, why won’t my credit card work or there I go being dragged along by a car door.

3D Printing is a fast growing technology expected to be worth $US6.5 billion by 2019. Already surgeons have employed cutting edge three-dimensional printing technology to create a prosthetic face for Mr Moger, 60, in what is thought to be the first procedure of its kind in Britain. Also 3D printing of tissue like material may well herald the future printing of body parts.
The material is made up of thousands of connected water droplets, encapsulated within lipid films, that can carry out some of the functions of human cells.
These “droplet networks” could be the building blocks of a new technology used to pass on drugs and, down the road, could even replace damaged tissue.AFP
“Buttercup” is a duck born with a mutated backward foot that now skips around with a plastic fluorescent red foot replacement printed in 3D. How “Buttercup” fares during the mating season is as yet unknown.

The technology begins by creating a 3D digital design either by CAD (Computer aided drafting) or scanning real objects. These are then cut into two dimensional slices, loaded into a computer and then sent to the 3D printer. The printer deposits fine layers of material, plastic, carbon and more recently liquid metal to build a physical object. The resulting object can be hard or flexible and can include moving parts.
In theory, anything that we have today can be produced through 3D printing. It may just alter manufacturing as we know it,” said Simon Jones, a technology expert at global law firm DLA Piper.

All of us that have broken bones and spent time with a plaster cast and knitting needle to cope with the real and imaginary itching that accompanies the long weeks of healing will welcome the new 3D printed exoskeletal casts currently under design.
Jake Evill, a media design graduate of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, has managed to modernize the ancient concept of a splint using 3D printing technology. Utilizing X-ray technology, paired with 3D printing and scanning, the Cortex exoskeletal cast provides a fully-ventilated structure to heal broken bones.” Randall Marsh

It may well be “bodyhackers” will ask their body artist to break the odd bone because these exoskeleton casts look great in conjunction with hanging earlobes with surround sound magnetic speakers implanted. With a tattoo’ed barcode they could sell themselves on EBay.

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