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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 21st year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2016 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Goodbye 2016

22 December 2016

This will be my last column for the year. I'll be taking a break until January, as I usually do around this time.

So what were the memorable elements of 2016?

Well it wasn't the year of the LAN or the year in which the "paperless office" finally arrived.

Nor was it the year we discovered the internet (that happened long-ago).

Linux didn't become the preeminent desktop operating system and the IOT hasn't become "the next big thing".

Perhaps the most memorable thing about 2016 is that it wasn't actually that memorable at all, at least from a technology perspective.

We did (of course) have the Samsung Splodey-phone fiasco; and Apple also had a bit of a cock-up on the catering front with a few of its products, especially in the area of battery life.

And GoPro was left battered and embarrassed after launching a drone that became more famous for falling out of the air than for the quality of the video it could take.

But on a more positive note (ignoring the fact that the last two sentences I wrong were started with a conjunction), this was very much "the year of fiber" here in NZ.

100Mb/S broadband speeds are becoming commonplace now and this has opened the doors to a raft of new services that are now becoming practical.

As I predicted several years ago, the primary use for this massively increased bandwidth is "entertainment video", streamed directly to your house by companies such as Netflix, Apple or Amazon.

If anything is an indicator of just how rapidly technology moves it's the fact that just a couple of decades ago, "streaming video" required the "RealPlayer" program and produced a postage-stamp-sized image which ran at about 12 frames a second, delivering 128x128 pixel resolution. Now we have 4K video at 50FPS and ultra-high dynamic range being squirted into our 60-inch LCD or OLED screens for just a few cents a day.

And yes, 2016 has also been "the year of Netflix", even down here in NZ. Every day I speak to more people who are pulling the antenna wire out of their TV sets and only watching the content *they* want at a time which suits them. The era of the couch-potato is coming to an end which, if you ask me, is a great thing.

I'm so looking forward to the day when most folk actually do something positive and productive with their evenings -- instead of just veging out on the sofa and watching whatever mindless drivel broadcasters and advertisers throw at them. My antenna lead was severed almost a decade ago now and I shudder when I think back at all the hours I spent watching stuff "just because it was on". Now my days are effectively 4-5 hours longer than they were and I'm getting a lot more out of them.

But that's it from me for another year and boy, each one seems to come and go so much more rapidly than the previous. I guess that's a sign of getting old -- one's perception of time changes markedly. It seems like only a month or so ago that I created the directory aardvark/2016 and now it's almost time to create aardvark/2017.

Stay safe, have fun, look after yourselves and your families. I'll (hopefully) see you all back here next year. (Oh, and by popular demand, I'll also be rolling out an adaptive "mobile-friendly" design for the site for those who prefer to get their daily dose whilst on the run.

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