Science fiction coming to life

Flying cars was where Phoebe and I started this radio Sydney ABC Local radio conversation, but we quickly got talking about how many science fiction dreams have turned into reality with a look at the movies and books that inspired the iPad, iPhone, water-bed, robots, video chats, ear buds and more.

So listen in to see where some of our everyday tech gadgets started their lives.


One person has made a difference

The online virtual world most of us take for granted is only 20 years old.

In the very short space of two decades we have eagerly and voraciously moved our lives and businesses into it and become dependent on it.

Look around you and see people everywhere staring longingly at their mobile screens, checking status, checking in and checking up.

Each seems intent on their interaction, to the point where it appears to the innocent passer-by as if they are greedily sucking air from their virtual breathing apparatus.

This new online and PC world required a pioneer, a visionary.

Someone to stare far into tomorrow and beyond and see what can be done. Someone to bravely say “what if” and then see about getting it done.

In our generation that forward looker was Steve Jobs, pioneering products, brands and people.

He started Apple Computers at a time when the PC was unknown and unwanted. He built software platforms far in advance of their marketplace needs. He innovated digital films when he purchased and breathed new life in to Pixar films. He returned to Apple after his forced departure, to take an ailing almost irrelevant company to corporate world dominance, with a suite of new horizon products that include iTunes, iPhone and iPads.

Steve Job’s gift seems to be his unwavering consumer focused vision of technology and what they could become as he uncannily built category definers that would be purposeful, useful and intuitive.

He thought nothing of relentlessly driving his handpicked tribe to seemingly reach far into the future and drag back to today unseen of and unheard of technology.

His ability to make the world see the future is also clear as he regularly ignited the passion of the everyday consumer, geek and non tech ahead alike, to stand for hours outside one of his global retail stores to be the first to buy and use one of his latest who would have known I needed gadgets.

From a corporate viewpoint he rebuilt Apple over the last decade and a half to tack into the wind. To seek and desire difference in order to find market opportunity. To work for Apple requires checking in the obvious at the door and joining the Don Quixote search for virtual and technological windmills.

This and where to from here for Apple was the on air discussion between myself and Jason Jordan of Perth radio’s 6PR in this weeks FutureTech segment as we paid tribute to the life and times of a gone to soon true innovator.

Listen now:

and listen live each Sunday at 4.40 p.m. (WST)

6PR Big Weekend – FutureTech Segment – 26 September 2010

Ted Bull

Rise and rise of YouTube, iPad, Apps, Amazon sells 1.8 eBooks to every hardcover and why FaceBook is not at all evil were just some of the topics that Ted Bull and I chatted about as we reviewed the past six months of what’s happened since the weekend show went on its winter break.

But it’s summer now and FutureTech is back for its fourth (4th) year as a weekly segment on Perth’s 6PR Big Weekend program – ah, it’s good to back.

Listen to this weeks segment now, and join me on Twitter for in between news and views from the future.

Radio ABC – FutureTech Segment – 7 May 2010

Should you SMS during sex, was where we started this weeks on air discussion between Phil, guest co-hosts Sally and Danny Gorog and me before asking the other important questions – should you friend your kids online and are teens becoming techno hermits?

Lot’s of talk about the new iPad (much to Phil’s and the ABC’s consternation of constant brand naming), the iPhone, great file sharing programs, advice on mobile phone selections, word of the week, the UK election result updates all abound as we join Phil Whelan on RTHK3 Hong Kong radio and work our way through another week looking at the Future and talking about Tech.

Listen to this segment now, or listen each Friday at 11.20 a.m. (Aust EST) and join me on Twitter for in between news and views from the future.

The Weekender–6PR Radio–21 March 2010

My 4th year on Perth radio’s 6PR’s Weekender program comes to end this week as it goes into hiatus until after the footy season in October; so in this weeks segment Harvey Deegan and I look ahead to what the future of tech and business may be over the next 7 months, including:

• iPad and iPhone
• Google android phone
• eReaders
• USB 3.0
• 3D – computers, laptops, televisions, billboards
• Augmented and virtual reality
• Location based services – rise of foursquare, gowalla and others
• Visual and semantic search
• Continuing rise of cloud computing

It’s always sad when the show breaks for winter and the footy season, but it’s been a great series and I’m counting down the days until St Kilda wins the AFL grand final and we’re back on air in October.

Listen here for this weeks segment, click here for my other interviews between now and October and of course let’s keep in touch on Twitter.

The Weekender– 6PR Radio –14 March 2010

Teff, spelt and kamut started Harvey Deegan, of Perth radio’s 6PR, and I off this week as we meandered our way through the top 10 foods of the future, which includes the return of ancient grains, gluten-free beer, vegan meals, organic alcohol, African and Middle Eastern cuisines, new cuts of meats, gluten-free meals and Quinoa. Harvey even goes so far as to look up teff and we set the listeners a challenge to find a recipe using it.

News of the week also included 120,000 iPad’s being pre-ordered on the first day they were on offer; OnLive announcing its set to take on the traditional games industry by bypassing the need to buy consoles by providing live streaming of games that can be played on either your PC or television. We then rounded off our weekly chat with a look at some interesting mobile device apps.

Listen now to this weeks interview. Listen live each Sunday at 3.35 p.m. (Aust EST) 12.35 (WST) and to keep up with the future join me on Twitter for regular updates.

The Weekender – 6PR Radio – iPad & Australia’s top industries for 2010

The good, the bad, the possible and the impossible of the iPad starts our segment off this week, before Brendon (of Perths’ 6PR radio) and I move on to mull over the new global growth industry, the App industry.

We can expect to see lots of apps on our phones, smart devices, computers and even our televisions from here on in and for an industry that was worth USD$6.2 billion in 2009, expect it to rise over the next 3 years to an industry turning over USD$29.5 billion (although I think that figures on the low side given it was calculated prior to the iPad announcement).

Coming on the back of the recently released IBIS world report we also took a look at Australia’s top 10 growth industries for 2010, which included sugar manufacturing, health insurance, organic farming, alternative health therapies and the 5 industries that are most likely to decline in 2010 which include image processing, video hire outlets and travel agents.

A great segment, lots of laughs and conversation, take a listen for yourself. Recorded live 31st January 2010.

Radio ABC Australia – Today Show – Future Tech Segment – 31 January 2010

This week’s on air discussion has to be about the Apple iPad as we take a close beyond the hype look at what has been announced, what the iPad will and won’t do and who’s likely to buy it and why and importantly what does this mean for the future of computers and the way we engage with technology.

Phil Whelan of Hong Kong radio let’s us know that the hype didn’t hit Hong Kong in nearly as big a way as it did the States and Australia and that his radio station carried very little news of it. We also chatted to Phil about Twitter’s intent to get around Chinese censorship and about the counties most likely to sin according to yet another recently released survey.

The segment also features the word of the week competition, a full tech report, great conversation and lot’s of laughs – some of course about the name iPad. Segment date: 29 January 2010.

A new electronic alter has been erected – all hail the Apple iPad

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_zI21XEo0Q]
One of geekdomes worst kept secrets, with more leaks than a sieve has finally been confirmed this morning, it garnered so much interest that the live feed and blogging of the event melted several websites that couldn’t cope with the peak demand

The Apple iPad is part app store, part book store (books priced between US$12.99 – $US14.99), part movie store, part gaming device, part communication tool and part coffee maker.

Apple has taken the emerging need of a single convergent easy to use device to playback, engage and interact on and have interestingly downplayed (in their initial launch video) the strict work related applications (although iWork – for iPad including pages, numbers, keynote was announced later).

This device with a 9.7 inch or 24.638 cm screen, is 13.4mm thick and weighs 0.68kg. and has optional keyboard dock, camera connections and mostly affordable price points – the 16GB, Wi-Fi-only version costs US$500, while the 32GB is US$600 and 64GB is US$700. Pricing increases by US$130 to add 3G. The Wi-Fi-only models ship in 60 days, while 3G models will ship in 90 – Australian prices and shipping are still to be announced but the 3G version, which is the optimal experience, will require yet another spend with the telco’s and could make 3 internet connections you have to fund – the phone, the laptop and the iPad (we could combine or cut back on our devices, but I don’t think this will happen in the short term).

It uses a 1GHz “A4” chip that can decode HD video for up to 10 hours on a single charge (technology they inherited when they bought P.A. Semiconductor) has a stunning resolution (1024 x 768), with incredible speed.

The downside is just like the IPhone, there is no multitasking, you can’t do two things at once (yes, for most men this has always been the case ha, ha). There is no built in camera or video (although the devices size may be a bit awkward for taking photos with anyway) and the keyboard is OK, but not great and of course there is no voice calling – teleconferencing on one of these would have been interesting and I’m sure will come at some later stage. Also SD cards to expand on board memory will be available, but in the form of an adaptor – an apple specific adaptor and still no Flash content allowed.

I have long spoken about convergent technology and Apple has been the best mainstream example of this over the past few years. This will be the new must have and it will be interesting to see whether Apple will loosen the reins on the OS and stop controlling so tightly the end products.

This will open up a new paradigm of social engagement and interaction. What will emerge from this is each person in the family, social group or workplace will have their own IPad, or an eventual competitors’ take on this, with each person receiving their own copy of the same streamed information, TV show or entertainment.

This IPad will certainly shake up the industry and more importantly catapult the consumers expectations of what technology should offer them and how they wish to interact with it.

There will certainly be some wringing of hands and consternation over it from doomsdayers and we have yet to see the marketplace acceptance of this, although it is safe to assume that it will be huge, but as always a new electronic device does not herald the end of the world as we know it, it merely gives us a new electronic alter at which to worship.