Why is Facebook pushing Snapchat-style stories?

Perhaps the most popular social media format in 2019 is “stories.” These are ephemeral video and photo posts that disappear from your profile after a day. The stories post format is incredibly popular with the younger demographic, thanks to Snapchat and Instagram. But now Instagram’s uncool dad, Facebook, is trying to prompt the rest of ... Read more

Giant TVs and rollable screens at CES

At the start of every year in Las Vegas, the world’s biggest and gaudiest technology trade show takes place. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is where tech and electronics companies like Google, Nvidia, Microsoft and Samsung show off their latest phones, drones, headphones, robots and whatever else their R&D departments have dreamed up. But if ... Read more

2019 tech predictions

A new year is just around the corner, so in my final column of 2018 I will look at what we can expect from the technology sector in 2019. The first question that springs to mind is: can it get any worse? 2018 was an especially grim year in tech, as I outlined in my ... Read more

Australia’s new encryption law threatens NZ cloud data

Earlier this month, the Australian government rushed through a controversial anti-encryption bill that could have ramifications for tech companies all over the world. The legislation, dubbed the Assistance and Access bill, makes it mandatory for any organisation whose website or data is hosted in Australia to give authorities access to their IT system if requested.  ... Read more

Top 5 Technology Trends of 2018


Every December going back to 2004, I've done an end-of-year review of the top Internet technology trends. As a source for this year's review, I'm using the nearly fifty weekly columns I've written over the course of 2018. They're a good indicator of what I've focused on during the year, and what has defined this year in terms ... Read more

Amazon's offshore cloud vs NZ options

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a dominant player in the global cloud computing market. It runs 33 percent of the world's public cloud services, according to Synergy Research Group. Second is Microsoft Azure (13 percent) and Google Cloud Platform (6 percent). For all its global dominance, AWS in New Zealand is something of a black ... Read more

Digital humans walk among us

One of the biggest digital trends of 2018 has been the rise of virtual assistants. But forget Siri, Alexa and chatbots. Those are old-school technologies now. The new wave of virtual assistants are AI-powered 3D avatars, otherwise known as "digital humans." If you're old enough to remember the 80s, you can think of digital humans ... Read more

Legislation as code: the government's AI projects

Artificial intelligence is now an integral part of many organisations across the globe. And if a recent government showcase of digital projects is anything to go by, our government is all-in on AI too. The day-long showcase, of digital projects running across various government agencies, was held on 12 November at the head office of ... Read more

Shopping for Augmented Reality apps

One of my predictions for 2018 was that augmented reality (AR) apps would finally go mainstream, based on software and hardware advancements I expected this year in both iPhone and Android. So is AR a reality now, or is it still mostly vapourware? Let's take a look. First things first, developments in smart phones over ... Read more

How government algorithms are judging you

Stats NZ has released a report about how algorithms are used in government services and what (if anything) needs to be improved. The report's key finding was that human oversight is critical, despite the ever-increasing reliance on algorithms in decision making. Although the report found that our government services do have an appropriate level of ... Read more

The funding gap in our tech sector

The 2018 TIN Report was released recently by the Technology Investment Network, and it confirmed the continued growth of New Zealand's technology sector. Total revenue for the top 200 technology companies (the TIN200) was $11.1 billion, an increase of 11% over the past year. Most of that revenue - nearly $8 billion - was in ... Read more

Tūranga & the digital era of libraries

Earlier this month Christchurch's flash new central library, Tūranga, was opened. As well as being housed in a beautiful, newly constructed 5-story building, Tūranga has been outfitted with the latest in technology. Christchurch citizens will have access to a production studio (featuring 3D printers and a laser cutter), an audio and video studio (including a ... Read more

SwipedOn acquired for $11 million - sold too soon?

Last week Tauranga startup SwipedOn announced it had been acquired by UK public company SmartSpace Software for $11 million. The news was surprising, since SwipedOn had only recently completed its first funding round ($1 million in January) and appeared to be at just the beginning of an upward trajectory in sales. So why sell a ... Read more

Is NZ ready for online voting?

In last week's column, I predicted that the government's digital identity service RealMe will eventually be used for online voting. I was surprised to discover this is a divisive issue, since some people think online voting will never (or at least should never) happen. Others - including parts of the New Zealand government - think ... Read more

RealMe vs the decentralized web

It's an interesting time to be growing a centralized online identity service, like the government's RealMe. That's because the current trend in web development is to decentralize. After seeing the damage done to our society in recent years by government-sponsored hackers let loose on large, centralized apps like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, developers the world ... Read more