Free speech and pedestrian blues

Free speech and pedestrian blues

Let's take a look at my predictions for 2022, a mixed year for technology. How did I do? Virtual reality didn't advance as much as I'd hoped. Artificial intelligence made some incremental games including as I pointed out in an earlier article, for music producers. The Neuralink interface did improve this year, if indeed that is something you're interested in, but still not available for broad human use. I also was wrong on cryptocurrency. With the FTX exposure the private firms took a hit, but governments have started to get interested in the technology. The world is poised for a crypto explosion, but not this year.

I was correct in that more people are now working from home with the most popular approach somewhere around the half-in and half-out, or hybrid implementation. I don't see this changing except that it may start to move towards more time at home as companies realise savings from day-to-day running costs. There are exceptions, notably with Elon Musk with Twitter and other employees. When I predicted some social media companies breaking up, I in no way anticipated the Elon Musk purchasing Twitter. There were no major cloud hacks but plenty of the normal kind as the usual huge swathe of private information was made public by various hackers. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is still a mess. One example here is a smart light strip I purchased that took 15 minutes on the phone and multiple attempts to get working.

The usual new phones, watches, screens, tablets and printers appeared but no surprises and no Tesla phone yet. I was very disappointed by Samsung this year and will probably not be buying a new phone from them, but I will be covering their new TV technology below. Since I last reported, I've been hearing more and more stories of phones with issues and poor Samsung support from different places so it does indeed appear that their quality standards slipped in 2022. Overall, I didn't do as well as usual with my 2022 predictions and I hope to do better in 2023.

In other general news you can get a 20TB hard drive for around US$280 (9,767 baht). Your basic SSD versions are well over that and you can spend around $350 for the 8TB capacity, but there are much larger commercial versions if you have the funds. The largest microSD is 1TB and 2TB in the standard sized SD, SDUX range. There is a new SDUC standard that tops out at 128TB but I'm not sure when you'll be able to get anything like that capacity from a store.

Samsung has developed a new hybrid screen technology that combines their quantum dot and OLED tech, labelled simply as QD-OLED. Samsung and Sony have adopted the technology, the latter using Samsung's panel, with similar model numbers of S95B and A95K respectively. This is first generation so you may want to wait until gen two or three when prices come down. That said, this kind of technology rarely fails and will be amazing for playing computer games with a refresh rate of 120Hz up to 4K. The brightness, colours and blacks are amazing but the largest panel is 65 inches, so I've penciled in one for myself in a couple of years. You can get 98-inch OLED screens at better prices as well.

So now we get to Elon Musk. Along with a few other investors he put together the money to buy Twitter. He is a hard man to work out but he appears to be on the side of free speech, even though he recently suspended several journalists from the platform. Some people don't understand this concept and think it means that they have the right to say things that others can't disagree with. No, as I've written in the past it is the right for others to say things no matter how much you disagree with them. The concept of hate speech then usually pops up, but this is a very difficult term to define as it always depends on perspective and context. The best approach to this is more freedom of speech because a spotlight on any subject soon reveals its flaws. Instead, many Western nations have taken the position that suppression is a better approach and this has bled over to platforms like YouTube, Google and Wikipedia. Unlike the books of old, the latter has become an unreliable source for unbiased information. It is no longer trusted by universities and high schools, so everyone else should approach it in the same way.

However you look at it, Twitter had a big shakeup, a lot of hidden information was revealed, and at the time of writing continues to come out. A lot of banned people are now back on Twitter and the platform is flourishing. The bots have been tamed and a few noses were put out of joint. Twitter itself seems to be busier than ever so Elon must be doing something right.

Another thing that happened this year was that a lot of small and medium businesses closed their doors. Some of this was Covid, some was supply chain issues, others had problems including chips and other electronic components. Some people, including myself, had to wait a long time to get a new car delivered. I ordered one in June and I'm told it will be here before Christmas. On the subject of cars, we still seem to be a long way off from a true driverless car. Different companies are trying but they all had their problems this year. Most seem to have an issue picking up something coming from the side of the road, especially small things like children.

I hope all my readers have a relaxing time over the holiday period and prepare themselves for 2023.

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

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