Burning issues and great expectations

Burning issues and great expectations

Another year almost gone, another year of IT improvements, advancements and lower prices. It was a year of missing graphics cards, where Bitcoin data miners snapped up the market for a while.

I'm almost finished setting up the new PC, which now has 18TB of hard drive storage installed; the "fun" part is getting stuff off old drives onto the new ones. Using an external hard drive dock, I've noticed that after a while the drives get really hot, enough to burn, and the data transfer speed slows down. I've ordered a small fan to see if that helps but if this is happening to you, turn the drives off to let them cool down when they get too hot. Otherwise, it can lead to data loss and can even warp the cheaper docks by melting the plastic.

I'm trying to figure out why anyone would use the Microsoft Edge browser. On one site, I keep getting the message "you are switching apps" popping up on every click. I couldn't find a way to turn it off; even the Regedit "fix" didn't work for me. It was enough to have me installing Chrome, especially after I couldn't find a decent YouTube downloader for Edge. That aside, the new box is fast and quiet and should last me a good long while.

Since this is the last article of the year, it is time to take a look back at last year's predictions.

First an easy one. Yes, Microsoft released yet another new version of its SQL Server. There has, however, been no serious cloud hack this year (yet) and Microsoft doesn't have enough of the market to bump up its hosting fees, so I also missed on that one. Sales in the tablet arena did indeed flatline and decrease this year as the mobile phone market grew. The PC market dropped a little but was more stable than I predicted. Another easy one, malware continued to be a problem though not as much for mobile users as I'd thought it would be. As expected, monitor technology didn't change much at all this year apart from lower prices, a few more curvy designs and a few additional features and better resolutions. More phones came with a limited optical zoom and, as expected, printers didn't change at all.

Wireless technology improved and more people are using it for connectivity. Also improved are downloads using Wi-Fi, compared to fixed lines. Samsung is still at number one in the smartphone market and Apple has been drifting down as the Chinese brands continue to grow. There were, as expected, more edge-to-edge screen models and even larger ones this year topping out at the 6.5-inch mark. The underscreen button and fingerprint scanner finally arrived but not the auto-repairing screens as hoped. Prices did continue to rise. Thumb drives hit 2TB, 12TB hard drives are affordable but 10TBs are the better price point. MicroSDs exceeded expectations at 2TB instead of my predicted 1TB. The 8K TV resolution was announced but will only be available to a very select market at this stage. As expected, 4K content is still restricted to some streaming and cable services.

As predicted, the bias of Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo towards some sections of the community has been highlighted and exposed, but later in the year than expected. Alternatives did spring up but some were forced to close. I stated: "This will include filtering, blocking of content they don't like and generally pushing their own agendas while saying they are for a free and open internet." This proved to be particularly accurate.

My wishlist remains just that. Still no battery improvements, and the rest of the list remains the same as it was at the end of last year. The battery issue is particularly important. We are due for some kind of technology jump in energy storage, with most of the current options unreliable, unstable and/or expensive. Scalability is also a problem and the current offerings still explode or catch fire from time to time, though the Samsung incident is now well behind us.

One thing that happened which I didn't predict was the rapid growth of multi-lens smartphone options and some very nice aftermarket telephoto clip-on lenses for reasonable prices. The market for more professional phone holders for steady photos and video, a big step up from the standard selfie stick, also exploded this year. Another innovation I hadn't thought about was the development of smarter luggage. This includes backpacks with provision for a USB charger and luggage with built in Bluetooth to track their position, if within range. Also more prominent this year were improved wireless headphones, of which I'm still enjoying my Sony noise reduction model. I also have a couple of new ones on order that will arrive sometime early next year.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at jclhein@gmail.com.

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

Email : jclhein@gmail.com

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