Category Archives: Technology

Host your own blog for under $43bn

It’s totally understandable that people want to host their own content and blog. Obviously I do it myself on this site.

It’s possible to do it for under $43bn. I recently moved hosting provider to Siteground and it cost around £80 for the first year. #justsaying

Financial Times front page 24 April 2022
Elon Musk has (almost) bought Twitter for $43bn

Why it’s important to behave the same in real and virtual worlds

One of my highlights over the last year was interviewing Guy Kawasaki on our Tech Reimagined podcast. (You can listen here).

This week, on his own podcast show, Guy interviewed Jane McGonigal who had some inspired thoughts about parenting in the dawn of real and gaming worlds (use the word metaverse if you promise not to roll your eyes). Full podcast is here.

I think the most important thing from a young age, especially as we move forward with whether it’s going to be the Metaverse, or whatever relationship we’ll have with virtual worlds, we don’t want kids to think of them as separate from their real lives or their real identities.

If we think of virtual worlds as escapist or not real, our behavior is worse in those worlds, right? We bully each other. We do behaviors that we would not consider ethical in real life, and when we develop strengths and skills in those games and virtual worlds, if we think the games aren’t real life, then we’re less likely to bring them to our real lives.

Maybe this is the reason why some people become so negative on Twitter & other social networks – maybe it’s because they see those environment so different to the real world?

On that interesting insight, Guy then questioned the natural next step if you behave the same in virtual and real worlds – and that’s in person shooting games (think “Call of Duty”). Jane had a great answer to this too:

It’s never content. It’s never the content of the game. It’s always the verbs of the game. What are the verbs. What is your child doing? From my previous book, SuperBetter, I have some questions. 

It’s like, “How do you talk to your kids about games to help them understand the connection to their real strengths and real abilities so that you can understand?” So, you just ask your son, “What does it take to be good at Call of Duty? Or, what have you gotten better at? Or, what’s the hardest thing you’ve accomplished in this gaming group and how did you achieve it? What did that take? 

“Start that conversation. It could be “I can stay calm under pressure. I am really good at being flexible in the moment if I have to change my strategy. I’m really adaptive. I’m a good communicator. I’m talking to my team. I’m always asking the right questions, so nobody feels like they’re out of the strategy.”

“Whatever it is, it’s all of those verbs and it’s not the pictures on the screen is not what is transferrable.” 

 

Microsoft 2022 prediction update

Microsoft buys Activision for $69BN
Microsoft buys Activision for $69BN

Two weeks ago I suggested the metaverse will happen this year, probably in a 3D environment rather than a VR/AR one.

I also said that 2022 would see Microsoft really consolidate themselves to become the Netflix of computer gaming using a cloud-based platform rather than a traditional games console.

The official Microsoft press release said “This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

This acquisition could be a super exciting development for the whole technology industry.

2022 Technology & Business Predictions

Every year I try to predict what lies  for the year ahead, and then I mark them a year later! It’s a particularly difficult  timeframe because a year is reasonably short term in technology, but we’re lucky to work in such a fast paced industry.

You can see how I faired last year, 2021, and keep working back, all the way back to 2010.

1. 3D, rather than the metaverse

Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45501032@N00/3726589535/in/photostream/
Try finding a supermarket website that can present a 2D version of this. Credit on Flickr

There are times when the current user experience for the web is adequate. For example, filling in a form. There’s little wrong with the fields appearing in our web browser and us typing in the answers.

There are other situations where it would be preferable to have a 3D environment. For example, when buying physical products online. Imagine if we were in a 3D experience where we could see adjacent items, or interact with them, or compare different types of the item together. The current page-based, 2D experience for shopping is a little too flat compared to our real world.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, believes that the future of these 3D environments will be using a headset to see an AR (Augmented Reality) or VR (Virtual Reality) world, a bit like SecondLife. Personally, I think that’s several years ahead of us for most people. There are good enough 3D environments that can be ported from video games into day-to-day internet activities though. Continue reading 2022 Technology & Business Predictions

How were my 2021 predictions?

Every year I try to predict some of the technology trends and predictions for the year ahead. And then at the end of the year, I mark the original predictions. (You can see how well I performed last year and work backwards).

In the next few days, I’ll work on the predictions for 2022. This will be quite a challenge considering none of us even know what everyday life will look like in the next few weeks!!

1. Microsoft Teams becomes the next operating system

Microsoft Teams is a fully-fledged platform, supporting apps from Microsoft (of course) and a myriad of third parties. I had predicted we’d be using Teams for email and banking apps by the end of the year but that proved a little too ambitious.

Maybe the term ‘operating system’ is also ambitious because this year Microsoft announced the latest version of its operating system, Windows 11. If it’s any consolation, several of the screenshots on the latest Windows 11 page on Microsoft.com show Teams in various guises. Continue reading How were my 2021 predictions?

2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Here are my technology & business predictions for 2021. I try to predict trends that are outside the mainstream, and with high expectations. It seems to get harder every year, and compiling this list for 2021 was by far the hardest yet.

Every year I score my own previous year’s predictions– see how my technology predictions fared in 2020 and work backwards.

Please share your feedback and thoughts on these predictions, either here, on LinkedIn or Twitter. I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2021.

1. Microsoft Teams becomes the next operating system

The XBox was designed as a media device as well as a games console – even if it kept watching you all the time

Like them or loathe them, Microsoft manages to keep providing products for mass appeal during the the various stages of our digital lives. Microsoft keeps transforming these individual products into full platforms.

Examples include Xbox which wasn’t designed just a games console, it’s was also a set top box with full media capabilities; Internet Explorer (now Edge) isn’t just for browsing – it became so powerful for anything you browsed; Dynamics has turned from a straightforward CRM tool into an ERP platform; and now Teams has moved from a new version of Skype into our one-stop business productivity & communication platform.

Over the next year we’ll see Microsoft Teams appear as a consumer platform as well as a business tool. We’ll see more applications join the Teams platform, which will mean we’ll be able to do our banking, email, or pretty much anything inside of Teams. Continue reading 2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Review of my 2020 Technology Trends and Predictions

Many websites and blogs publish their predictions for the year ahead. Not many of them review their predictions at the end of the year though. Even fewer score their previous set of predictions.

It would have been difficult to forecast what happened this year. But let’s see how those 2020 predictions fared in the oddest of years.

1. Alerts from voice assistants

I said that “At the end of 2019, the Google Home device in our kitchen started answers requests with more suggestions of other skills.

Continue reading Review of my 2020 Technology Trends and Predictions

Would you click on phishing emails like these?

Google Unsafe websites detected per week April 2020
The number of unsafe websites detected per week has increased sharply. Source: Google

There has been an increase in scam/ phishing emails recently. And the biggest challenge is that they are looking increasingly genuine.

Someone in my immediately family clicked on one of the text messages, and we ended up having to change our debit cards.

Here are some that I’ve received in the last couple of weeks.

Stay alert for the following signs.

Creating an emotional reaction

This is the hardest to avoid. When I received the Thrifty phishing email below my immediate response was “I can’t believe I have to pay an overage for a car I rented last Summer“. I was almost tempted. The O2 text message below managed to convince my close family member because we were on holiday at the time and they thought “I don’t want my mobile to be disconnected while I’m away“. These emotional reactions cause us to stop thinking and start clicking.

Here’s how phishing emails create that emotional reaction.

Urgency

Very few companies need an immediate payment. The phrases “Don’t miss out!” and “valid until...” create urgency, which creates the emotional reaction in the point above.

Too good to be true

As always, if it’s too good to be true, it isn’t. This too, creates an emotional reaction for you to stop thinking and start clicking on those phishing emails.

Links in phishing emails

Banks and government agencies usually make a point of not including any links in their email and directing people to their official website. They recommend opening a web browser and making you typing in their web address, not clicking on a link. In the scams below:

  • The Thrifty email links go to a website that is clearly not Thrifty’s
  • The O2 text message is a NOT an O2 website, it is a subdomain made to look like the real O2 site.
  • The Argos link is a shortened bit.ly address.

Always be super, super careful about checking links because there are ways for companies to make a link look genuine to the naked eye.

Please be careful out there!

Recent examples of phishing emails

Phishing email example from Thrifty car rental
A fake Thrifty car rental email. Beware!!

 

Phishing email example from O2 billing
Fake O2 billing text message. Beware!

 

 

Phishing email example from Argos
A fake Argos text message – don’t click on it. Beware!

Facebook collected data about me from 612 companies including my bank

Off-Facebook data collection
This is where you can see all the data Facebook has collected about you from other companies

Facebook has launched a tool to let users see what data is collected by other organisations, and then shared with Facebook. I used it earlier this week, and it was jaw dropping.

To set the scene, I don’t have a problem with the Internet giants using my data. They provide amazing services in return for me sharing data with them. For example, I can search almost the whole of the Internet on Google, and chat, share images and status updates with anyone on Facebook apps (including Instagram and WhatsApp). Google and Facebook, among several other companies, don’t charge any more than me sharing data with them. I can accept that. It felt like a great deal for both of us.

The Facebook tool lists all the providers of information (aka business and organisations) that collect data about an individual, and then share it with Facebook. Facebook then categorises the data, which ranges from difficult to understand to super-clear. Continue reading Facebook collected data about me from 612 companies including my bank

The future of air travel

I really enjoyed listening to the podcast below from McKinsey on the future of air travel.

There’s a balance in the airline industry between sustainability, profit and convenience.

There’s always a tension between safety and future technology. We have so much data about current materials and designs to help keep safety records extremely low. Should aircraft manufacturers design an entirely new, super efficient aircraft design but the safety data is less mature?

Will the future of air travel be electric (unlikely) or pilot-less (more likely)?

The two McKinsey partners on the podcast provide insight from their previous careers as airline pilots, and now advising airlines.

There are some good “Tips from pilots” at the end (at about 28 minutes), where they describe jet lag, packing less, whether to get a window or aisle seat, and eating on board (or not).

Packing lightly reduces your carbon footprint. Every kilogram removed from personal luggage reduces the aircraft’s carbon footprint.