Archive December 2015
written by Jan Davis and reprinted from The Mercury
ANOTHER year has come and almost gone. By now, most of us should be over the traditional Christmas food-induced coma and may have made it off the lounge, ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
While we’re still focused on food, however, it’s a good time to have a look at what was popular on our dinner tables in 2015.
The surprise of the year would have to be the appearance of Nutella on trendy tables around the country. While many of us have a jar of Nutella in the back of the cupboard, it has often been there so long that the use-by date is long past.
Yet, out of the blue, Australians couldn’t get enough of the stuff in 2015. It turned up in hot cross buns, in doughnuts, in frappes, and even in doughnut milkshakes (shudder).
Good Food magazine said that five of the top six most-shared stories on its social media channels this year were about the hazelnut chocolate spread. One of these stories was even about how our obsession with the spread had caused a shortage. Who’d have guessed?
According to Google, the most common recipe search during the year was for pancakes. Here’s one for your next dinner table trivia contest: the most commonly “how-to” question googled this year was “how to tie a tie”, followed by “how to cook pancakes”.
Pancake recipes were followed in popularity by recipes for slow-cookers, chicken, Thermomixes and lasagne.
How to make banana bread came in at number 10.
Comfort foods were also big on our cooking list this year. The goodfood.com.au website said its most-viewed recipes were, in the main, meaty. Celebrity chef Neil Perry’s chicken cacciatore was the most popular recipe, with nearly 350,000 views; and a classic roast chicken with bread and butter stuffing came in at number two.
Many Australians still don’t know how to poach an egg; and some step-by-step YouTube demonstrations were popular, according to Google. The trick is adding an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar to the boiling water before the eggs.
Quinoa was the top “how to cook” search ingredient in 2015, followed by rice, salmon, asparagus, pork belly, kale, beetroot, brown rice, steak and cous cous. Creative vegetarian dishes were popular, too, with a recipe for whole roasted cauliflower shared widely on Facebook.
And what do the crystal ball gazers see ahead for fashionable foodies for 2016?
Morris Miselowski, Business Futurist predicts that in 2016 Australians will be drinking more naked wines (wines made with minimal intervention) and embracing desserts that are more savoury than sweet (salted caramel, and dark chocolate with chilli).
We’ll be cooking over charcoal, and continuing to crave comfort food such as burgers.
International experts have been consistent in their predictions for broader food industry trends. Tech-driven delivery will be the big disrupter of restaurants and food service.
Aimed at the ultimate consumer convenience, we’ll see new services emerging with food brought quickly to homes, offices – wherever we want to eat. And the usual suspects are all racing for our doors. Already, in the US, uberEats will deliver a limited menu in 10 minutes and Amazon’s PrimeNow app promises entire menus at the door in under an hour.
Another disrupter gaining strength overseas is the meal kit: dinners-in-a-box containing exact portions of every ingredient and paint-by-numbers cooking instructions, often delivered on subscription.
People might start cooking again using trendy ingredients, without the bother of shopping. At about $14 a head, these may be cheaper than takeout. Look for celebrity chefs’ names attached to meal kits, restaurants developing their own dinners-in-a-box, and meal kits tailored for specific diets.
Pasta might soon be on the endangered species list. In the past five years, pasta sales have fallen by 8 per cent in Australia, 13 per cent in Europe and 25 per cent in Italy. Chefs will experiment with vegetable ribbons – zucchini, asparagus, sweet potatoes for example – replacing pasta. Vegetable spiralisers are selling like, well, hot cakes. Maybe spaghetti squash will have its limelight moment?
And last, but by no means least, the experts say vegetables are expected to push animal protein to the side of the plate or even entirely off it.
Rising meat prices, health-and-diet concerns, growth of farmers’ markets – all the stars have nicely aligned for our vegetable growers.
So there you have it – lots to look forward to. In 2016, may your table be laden with a veritable bounty of food to share with family and friends.
This time of year is always a great time to take stock of what we have achieved in 2015 and what we may get up to, have and want in 2016, and tonight in my regular on air Nightlife radio segment Jennifer Fleming of ABC local and I did just that.
2015 had a lot of firsts, ranging from incredible pictures of Pluto, Tesla’s car software upgrades, Jeff Bazos and Elon Musk both successfully landing space crafts back on earth and windows 10 sedate launch are just some of my highlights, others include a machine that turns human waste into drinking water and sneaker technology designed specifically for people.
2016 was where we headed next with a look at the technology horizon and the rise and rise (pun intended) of drones and their various uses; driverless cars; personal robots (or personal assistants) like Jibo, Pepper, and Furo that are set to come to a home near you in 2016, the collaborative or sharing economy including Uber, airbnb and others and Artificial Intelligence becoming more common with apps and devices predicting what you may want to know and providing it to you on your mobiles and other tech ahead of you asking for it, or even thinking about it.
We also turned our attention to food trends including foraging which is the search for ultra local edible weeds, plants and produce, shared tables, glocal and others.
We were joined on-line by numerous listeners including: John who wanted to know if driverless cars could be used by the visually impaired – answer not yet and most probably not until 2030, but definitely in the mid future horizon; Johnathan who was looking for cattle mustering drones (and if you’re interested in them drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some links); Laury who rightly corrected us and asked us to use the term quadcopter instead of drones and Dan who wanted to know what fueled drones and kept them in the sky and on track.
A really good chat, great callers and a terrific subject, well worth a listen (41 minutes 24 seconds) and then I’d love to hear your predictions for 2016.
written by Jackson Stiles Life Editor the New Daily
But there may only be dust and picked-bare bones left to take as victory spoils.
Microsoft is going to conquer Apple in the tablet stakes, an Australian tech expert has predicted.
A report released in early December is bad news for the iPad. For the first time this year, the tech giant didn’t lead online tablet sales in the US for a calendar month (October), according to 1010data Facts for Ecom Insights.
Microsoft trounced its rival 45 per cent to 17 per cent with the release of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.
Tech expert Paul Lin of app development company Buuna interpreted this as the beginning of the end for Apple’s dominance of the tablet market, heralding the Surface Book as the new leader that would “slay” its rival.
“Microsoft are back in a serious way,” Mr Lin told The New Daily.
“After being overwhelmed by the iPhone juggernaut, which has far outsold Microsoft’s products such as Windows and Xbox combined, this niche product is a great attempt by Microsoft to make up some serious ground on the old enemy.”
The Surface Book is a hybrid tablet with computing power similar to a laptop that also comes with a detachable keyboard and a stylus. They range in price from mid-$2000 to nearly $5000, which they can price out even Apple.
These creative new features – detachable screen, keyboard and stylus – were copied this year by Apple, seemingly in an attempt to stay relevant, The New Daily reported in September.
Despite this attempt at replication, it is Microsoft’s tablet, not Apple’s, that is the “next cool thing”, according to Mr Lin. It seems consumers see the creator of stodgy old products like Windows and Internet Explorer as the new innovator.
A key selling point of the Surface Book is its versatility
“There is a buzz about it with people in the know, those early adopters who often heavily influence the masses,” Mr Lin said.
“Apple has been stagnating for quite a while. People waiting for exciting things to come from Apple, continue to wait. As it stands, those ‘wow’ moments are not really coming.
“Microsoft took quite a while to come up with this device, but that time has paid off. It has become the next cool thing.”
Mr Lin rated its best feature as the fact it straddles both the tablet and laptop market, whereas Apple has mostly stuck to its original form, apart from the iPad Pro, which The New Daily reviewed poorly in early December.
“It is a very good laptop, but it is also a very good tablet. So you are not cheapening out on two-in-one, sub-par versions of both. You are getting a premium version of both,” he said.
A tech futurist agreed that this prediction was sound, but warned that Microsoft’s potential victory could be shallow. He predicted the death of tablets, not Apple.
“Overall, the sentiment is correct. The Surface Book is definitely outselling the iPad. It’s the first time Apple has been in decline,” futurist Morris Miselowski told The New Daily.
He agreed that Apple is not innovating its tablets, but predicted it would matter little, as consumers turn increasingly to beefed-up laptops and smartphones and well away from bulky touchscreens.
“The reality is, I think the entire sector of tablets is in absolute decline. Everything I’ve seen over the years and what I’ve seen recently tells me that. The biggest sales were in 2011 and they’ve dropped steadily ever since.
“They’re fighting over a marketplace that is diminishing anyway. These devices struggle to find a large audience and I think they are going to continually struggle to find that large audience.”
So if you’re hoping to stay cool in 2016, perhaps consider a Surface Book, or nothing at all.
‘Tis the morning of presents, family, food, fun, indulging, belching and squabbles and this morning in the spirit of this day I chatted with Austereo’s Anthony Tilley and Phil Whelan of Hong Kong radio 3 as we took a look at my top 10 free Christmas websites, perfect for helping the family enjoy this most festive day.
Skype – is a perfect way to bring those far away to your Christmas table, get you laptop, tablet or phone, get them up on the screen and then sit down to a wonderful festive meal together.
Northpole.com – great for the kids and very G rated, visit Santa’s north pole play some games and look around.
NoradSanta.org – this is one of my annual favourites, track Santa’s flight live as he travels the globe delivering good cheer and presents.
Earthcam.com – watch Christmas trees and festivities live from around the world.
WhyChristmas.com – answers all those Christmas questions – why do we have Chrissy trees? what’s the origin of mince pies and so many more Chrissy dispute solvers.
SantaCamFX.com – prove Santa exists and make your own video of Santa in your home.
XmasFun.com – for all things Christmas – music, carols, recipes and TV shows.
GangstaClaus – a fun old-fashioned video game, a real hoot on Christmas day.
Taste.com.au – Find recipes and ideas for all those inevitable Christmas leftovers.
Kiva.org – keep the good will of Christmas going and pledge some money to a micro entrepreneur in a developing nation and help them make 2016 a better year for themselves, their family and their community.
Listen now and then add your favourite Christmas websites to the list.
Anthony Tilley – Austereo – 25 December 2015 – (4 minutes 35 seconds)
Phil Whelan – Hong Kong Radio 3 – 22 December 2015 – (12 minutes 47 seconds)
I got a call from 4BC’s drive time host Chris Adams this afternoon wanting to chat 1980’s tech nostalgia and also wanting to know what 2016’s tech might be.
1980’s was when I began my career and sounding like an absolute dinosaur, the first tech revolution I was involved in was the changeover from telex to fax machine, quickly followed by the personal computer (I’m still not sure if everybody will ever have or need one of these) through to the dot matrix printer.
They all seem so long ago and so inconsequential, but the rise in new horizon tech was significant and the beginning of a revolution that was set to change what it meant to be human and how we worked, lived and played.
What about the mobile phone – from brick to pocket, commodore 64 computers, floppy disks, answering machines, videocassette recorders, tetris, world-wide web, lotus notes, ms dos and Microsoft windows and so many others were all ground breaking in their day and so old hat now.
Looking ahead to 2016 we chatted about the next big things (and more than likely tomorrow’s old hats) of virtual reality headsets, personal robots like jibo, pepper, amazon’s echo, furo and others and the rise of artificial intelligence.
A great blend of where we’ve come from, what we’ve already achieved and what may be ahead.
Have a listen now (8 minutes 6 seconds) and then add to the list of your favourite 1980’s nostalgia and what you hope 2016 may bring you.
Does Apple tech get viruses like their PC cousins was where Phil Whelan of Hong Kong Radio 3 and I started this weeks chat, with the answer being yes, but in smaller numbers than their relatives, because the tight ecosystem makes it far harder for the perpetrators to get into a Mac piece of tech.
We then turned our attention to some of 2015’s more obscure but nevertheless significant tech occurrences like Tesla’s recent software upgrade to its cars that changed the way the car performs and turned them into a semi autonomous vehicle – up until now the only way to get these changes was significant under the hood time and effort or a new car. The rocket take off and landing by Jim Bezos of Amazon fame was another milestone, making travel into low orbit and return to the earth ever more possible.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was next on the agenda as we explored Elon Musk and his billionaire tech mates founding an institute to ensure that AI is developed for benevolent and humanitarian purposes and not used for evil a noble cause and worth pursuing, but I’m not sure all the “bad people” are really going to care.
We finished up this week exploring the near future of virtual reality concerts and theatre.
A great chat as always, so have a listen now (minutes seconds)
$1.1 billion is a significant line in the sand with which to announce that government sanctioned innovation is coming to Australia and Malcolm Turnbull in his Innovation Statement said the words that I’ve waited so long for – Australia is open for business now and in the future.
Comments including our future prosperity will come from above the ground, not below it and a century of ideas are jingoistic, but perhaps they’re the catch phrases we need to begin to shift from a short-term risk averse society to a medium term risk taking society.
The practicalities of 20% tax offsets for investment in early stage investments, capital gains tax exemptions, $520 million for the Australian Synchrotron, $294 million for the Square Kilometre Array, changes to bankruptcy laws, increase emphasis on STEM education and CSIRO becoming the central link of a $200 million fund are all welcome and of course there could be more, but it’s a great start.
It takes an entire ecosystem to raise a start-up and what’s needed now is for the for ideas to flow, for rhetoric to turn into action and for start-ups to start up.
I’d love to see us go a step further and make this new landscape bipartisan, to enshrine direction, funding and bureaucracy in an untouchable bubble that ensures that future Prime Ministers and political parties can’t adversely alter our course, giving the same certainty to Australian start-ups that their Israeli start-up brethren have through an independent apolitical department ensuring 6 year of consistent funding, direction and regulations.
This is a significant first step, but its true importance is not in the funding, it is in the framing.
It establishes a future direction for Australia, one that given what we know of who we are as a nation and what we are capable of and with what we understand tomorrow may require from us and provide to us, seems like a path worth taking.
So now it’s up to us.
Let’s see how quickly and effectively we can grow our start-up nation. Let’s try to avoid the misuse of funding that inevitably results from these schemes.
Let’s challenge ourselves to take this message to the schools and start the innovation conversation early.
Let’s go the universities and cheer on those already running this race.
Let’s visit the garages and lounge rooms of budding entrepreneurs to discover the next big idea and let’s evolve the average Aussie to think bigger and bolder and champion those that do.
All this and more were part of my chat this week with Phil Whelan of Hong Kong radio 3, so have a listen now (14 mins 02 secs) and then add your voice to the discussion.
One thing I can accurately predict is that around this time of year every year requests come in for a nostalgic look at what we achieved this year and a predictive look at what next year’s trends may bring and this was the theme of my segment this week with Phil Staley of ABC Far North.
2015 was a watershed year in many ways, and for me some of the more obscure but significant technology advances included:
Tesla’s recent software upgrade turning all of it’s on road cars into semi autonomous hands free vehicles, important because it speaks to the ability to significantly change the function and use of an everyday motor vehicle simply through a software upgrade and for the first significant push into driverless cars.
Jeff Bazos’s (Amazon founder) announced recently that he had sent a rocket into orbit and landed it safely and accurately back on earth – a feat that has no rival and speaks volumes to the possibilities of future space exploration, but also to the dogged determination that we have within us as he tells of the 5-year-old he once was dreaming about going into space and the man he has become being able to make that dream come true.
Drones have come into our lives and are here to stay. We have seen them as reporters, as scouts, as fire wardens, as bomb disposal experts, as wedding photographers and the list goes on. Legislation has been talked about. Australia Post, Amazon, Pizza Hut and many others want to employ them as couriers and drones have only begun to look for work.
Windows 10 launched this year and we could argue its good and bad, but my take is its difference, it didn’t come in a box and for many existing users was free. How different this was to the fanfare and circus of old. The many disks, the inferior software with few upgrades and the thoughts of old that not to long from now you would have to go and do it all again. The freshness of this offering, the price points and its delivery and installation all speak volumes about a changed business landscape, pricing models and marketplace.
2016 will bring it with farewells of old tech and old business models as well as new opportunities and horizons.
Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are set to boom in the first half of next year with all major manufacturers promising new VR products and most under $US400. This may take a while to show its true potential, but it is definitely a new frontier that’s here to stay.
Ambient technology and device consolidation will start its journey next year, as technology becomes as ordinary as electricity and gas, and becomes more about what it can do for me rather than the fact it exists. In this same thought devices will begin to become agnostic with users switching often from one to the other, making choices based on situation and purpose, rather than on wow factor.
Personal Assistants, in the form of robots, that listen to you and talk back will begin their journey to purpose next year with releases like Jibo hitting our retail stores for around the $US2,000 mark. These in the early stages will read emails and texts, announce callers and generally interact with us, they are not yet the robots of our science fiction dreams, but they are the first line in an evolution that may one day bring us the robot butler, we supposedly can’t live without.
These were just some of our recent past and near future, but have a listen now to the rest and then add your thoughts to the list of 2015 and 2016.
ABC Far North – Phil Staley- Monday 7th December – (12 minutes 36 seconds)
Austereo WA – Anthony Tilley – Monday 14th December 2015 – (4 minutes 16 seconds)
Can you really get someone to walk your dog for free? was the question that kicked off this chat with Micheal Clarke of ABC Townsville. It all started with a media release from DogShare that got Michael to ask “what is crowdsourcing and is it here to stay?”.
Crowdsourcing in Australia is a $10 billion industry sector growing to $335 billion by 2020, so I guess it’s here to stay and is often also known as the sharing economy, peer to peer and the collaborative economy.
In its purest form it is a digital marketplace that allows those that have to share, rent or offer to those that want. Some of its largest brands are Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Alibaba all multi billion dollar global giants who do not own any physical assets in their chosen category, but instead make their money and reputation by connecting those that do own it, with those that want it.
This speaks to a new era where experience is more important than ownership, where business no longer has to have and own everything and where collaborations, joint ventures, partnerships and sharing are part of doing business and living life.
Have a listen now (8 mins 38 secs) and then add your favourite crowd sharing site or example to the growing list
Talking to yourself and hearing voices were always considered signs of madness, so what does talking to your device and hearing it talk back to you say about you?
Well it appears it says that you’re bang on trend and maybe you’ve got a thing for Apple’s Siri.
Glynn Greensmith of ABC’s It’s Just Not Cricket wanted to explore all things input, to see what we could get our technology to do for us, without using a keyboard or a mouse and in our chat we set out to see what is possible.
Biometrics were our first port of call, facing recognition, ear recognition, breath, eyes, iris, voice, fingerprints, gait (the way you walk), hand geometry, body odour, signature, typing recognition, vein recognition are just some of the suspects being used and being explored.
The uses of this technology are infinite and range from the opening of applications and programs, to caring for the elderly and infirmed, to driving our covers safely, to health care, to military.
It leads on to the next few tech horizons of big data, internet of things and robots all requiring input devices, all asking us to confirm our identity and all adding to the human-digital chats of tomorrow and beyond.
Have a listen now and without using your keyboard or mouse add your thoughts to the debate.