Columns Archives - Stuff


Web’s inventor warns about concentration of power that “control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”

Online power being consolidated by a few large players has enabled them “to weaponise the web at scale” according to the man who invented it, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Sir Tim, who is founder of the Web Foundation, was marking his creation’s 29th anniversary. “This year marks a milestone in the web’s history: for the first time, we will cross the tipping point when more than half of the world’s populat...[Read More]

Amazon Go has no cashiers, no queues and no fuss – and a bold new vision of commerce

Last month I walked into a lunch food store, helped myself to a meal and a beer, and then walked out without paying. The store was no ordinary shop: it’s potentially the future of shopping. Called Amazon Go, it is run by the American e-commerce giant and is situated opposite its iconic domes at its downtown Seattle headquarters. To get into the store you download the Amazon Go app which displays a...[Read More]

Impressive cameras are defining the latest crop of top-end smartphones, which have bigger screens in smaller cases

If you hadn’t heard the word “bokeh” last year, you’ll certainly learn it this year. It’s the Japanese word for that artistic blur in photographs where the subject is in focus and the background isn’t. Until recently, to achieve it you needed to have a fast lens with a large aperture so that you could achieve a shallow depth of field, which created the backgroun...[Read More]

Digital is the new mining. Tech, telecoms industry hope the Cyril Spring isn’t a false dawn

Last Wednesday night, about an hour before the midnight deadline for former president Jacob Zuma to resign or face impeachment, his resignation flung our country back into wild celebration and hopefully back towards economic viability. Two days later, after an imperious new President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his maiden state of the nation, looking and behaving in a statesman-like manner we have t...[Read More]

What kinds of skills will our children need to get ahead in our new world of autonomous driving?

Will my eight-month-old son ever learn to drive a car? Or touch type? Watching him learn to crawl, having mastered sitting, is just the beginning of his discovering how to get around in the world. But in about 15 years’ time, when he needs to start driving himself, will that kind of skill even be necessary? The world is changing at a phenomenal rate, with exponential shifts in new technology...[Read More]

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a powerful Windows 10 device that shows what the future could look like

Last week I walked on Mars. Well, I walked on a pretty good, visually realistic version of Mars, using a fancy new technology called HoloLens, Microsoft’s big play into what it is calling mixed reality. This emerging technology is considered more than just augmented reality (AR), which overlays images or diagrams over our current view of the world, but not quite the immersive virtual reality (VR)....[Read More]

Email has become our default means of business communication but these etiquette rules will makes it better for everyone

How many times have you been searching for an email and found yourself frustrated by how hard it is to find that particular mail you’re looking for? Part of the problem is that most people are blithely unaware of how useful the subject field is – because when you search for an email, the result is always the subject line. I can’t tell you how many people send me emails titled “St...[Read More]

Zuckerberg vows to refocus Facebook which senior executive admits allowed fake news to “corrode democracy”

Having been manipulated by Russian internet trolls and the pervasive spread of fake news, Facebook has effectively admitted it can’t cope with news as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to fix the world’s largest social network. Facebook will deprioritise news and bump up personal updates from family and friends, and start “focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you ...[Read More]

We’ve fallen out of love with Silicon Valley’s creations, as smartphones and social media have us chasing “another dopamine hit”

Last year was Apple’s triumphant 10th anniversary of the iPhone’s launch. The device that ushered in our smartphone era and truly made the internet mobile was glorified for what it has done for us. It seems, with almost indecent haste, that by January of the following year Apple and its iPhone are no longer the media darlings they have always been but the new villains in our over-conne...[Read More]

Be more vigilant with digital information: vulnerabilities undermine the core of our computers’ processor security

Cybersecurity is going to be arguably the biggest trend – and threat – in 2018. I wrote that sentence before the shock announcement last week from Intel that all (yes, all) of its processors have two serious security defects that were discovered last year. In fact, all processors contain the vulnerabilities that could potentially make all computers insecure, as they affect chips made by Intel̵...[Read More]

The recent spate of hacked websites is a reminder that you need to protect your online security more than ever

All 3bn of Yahoo’s accounts were hacked in 2013, the search giant revealed last week, triple the previously stated 1bn, making it the biggest data breach so far. This followed the staggering hack of US credit agency Equifax last month, exposing the personal details of 145.5m Americans, including their credit cards details and social security numbers. It’s a stupendously big deal and confirms...[Read More]

The death of our privacy will be the thing we regret the most when we look back at 2017

2017 was the year our social media innocence died. Sadly, the biggest tech trend this year is the one that has dominated headlines for months: how social media has been usurped from its original personal sharing intentions into becoming a cesspool of hatred, trolling, threats of violence against women and revenge porn. It has also been easily manipulated by Russian propagandists and right-white fa...[Read More]

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