Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking forward to Tech for 2012!

Looking forward to Tech for 2012!
by André Thomas

There has been A LOT of tech news in just the first month or so of 2012.
  • Apple has been raked through the coals over employment conditions in China. 
  • MegaUpload has been shut down and most of those who ran the site have been arrested. 
  • SOPA & PIPA have been stopped for now. 
  • We saw some awesome new tech at CES 2012.
  • What do we have to "look forward" to?
There are even more things to look forward to, we just don’t know what they all are yet.

  • Apple - Foxconn, Apple’s primary contract assembly company, has seen a lot of bad press of late. There have been a wide range of complaints: workers as young as 12 years old (possibly younger), 12-15 hour work shifts, pay of less than $1 per day, and extremely unsafe/dangerous work environments. Why is Apple taking the heat for this? They provide roughly 40% of Foxconn’s revenue. You can read more about this in the New York Times exposé on the Apple – Foxconn debacle.
  • MegaUpload - One of the most widely known online file hosts has been shut down for alleged Copyright Infringement, Racketeering, Money Laundering, and more. What does this mean for you? If you hosted files, that answer is still up in the air. There have been a lot of complaints from Indie artists and even those who used the sites for online backup; years of personal photos/videos, and terabytes of independent media projects are in danger of losing it all. Several groups are trying to get access temporarily restored to legitimate/legal files. More information on the “MegaUpload file retrieval” process can be found here.
  • SOPA/PIPA - In what can only be seen as a victory for internet freedom, these two controversial bills have been stopped for now. This isn’t the last we’ll hear on this issue so keep your ears and eyes open.
  • CES 2012 - Have you ever wondered what a techie might consider heaven to look like? For some, the Consumer Electronics Show could be it, wall-to-wall tech. There were some amazing new prototypes and gadgets this year:  LG’s new 55” 4 color Organic-LEDTV that is so thin it has to have a separate control box, Android 4 Ice CreamSandwich devices galore, a true gaming tablet concept from Razer featuring Windows 8 and an i7 CPU, and so much more. Check out CNET’s best of awards here.

What do we have to “look forward” to?
The Windows 8 Beta/Consumer Preview is set to be released late this month. We’ve been playing with the developer preview on a Dell Inspiron Mini and it boots in 28 seconds and has the new version of Internet Explorer, IE10. There’s also buzz about the release of Office 15 to coincide.

Speculation (but little info) abounds about new releases from Apple including the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3.

Unfortunately, not everything we’re seeing is good news. There has been a rash of new (and extremely aggressive) viruses lately and they’ve been targeting Windows, Mac OS, Linux and mobile devices alike. As always, be vigilant! Make sure your computer/device is up to date (most updates are security updates), make sure you have an up-to-date and high quality anti-virus program installed, and be careful where you click.

As a word of warning, don’t be too surprised by tech issues this year as solar activity is increasing greatly. The Sun is coming out of the dormant phase of its 11 year cycle. Solar flares can cause interference and interruptions with everything from spacecraft to the electric grid, so don’t be surprised if you have issues with dropped calls, intermittent gps signal, and much more.

It’s going to be quite the year!