April musings, writings and creations

April was a busy month for me across all kinds of media. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Somebody’s watching me…

No, I’m not turning into Rockwell just yet, but I did produce a trio of videos for my YouTube channel in April.

First up, a really quickfire, literally-in-the-middle-of-the-night reaction to April’s “Spring Loaded” event:

Then I got creative with a rugged feature phone and a birdbath. It all makes sense in context. Or at least, I hope it does.

And for those that want Apple watching them, a quick unboxing and setup video for Apple’s new AirTags:

As always, you can subscribe (and you should) to my video work directly over on YouTube.

Vertical Hold

The good ship Vertical Hold, where I chat weekly with Adam Turner and the cream of the crop of Australia’s tech media continued to make its way through the stormy seas of podcasting.

Ahem. Enough with the nautical references, Kidman. On with the shows.

First up, we chatted the PS3 store closure and problem with digital delivery of games with Matt Sainsbury and NBN’s report card with Chris Duckett:

I was very quiet in the following episode, so Adam roped in fellow Ninefax mafia members Tim Biggs and Peter Wells to talk Facebook privacy issues and proposed Government social media laws:

Back in full voice, we were joined by Leigh Stark to talk all things known — or rumoured — ahead of Apple’s Spring Loaded event, as well as the truly odd prospect of subscription ink services:

Apple then had its spring well and truly… sprung, I guess, and so Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson joined us to dissect Apple’s news (and fail to get that excited by a purple iPhone 12):

Finally for the month, Apple’s Apple Watch finally got ECG functionality in Australia, but was it a heart stopper? No, because that’s not what it’s for. Equally not-yet-heart-stopping is mmWave 5G in Australia, but with the first round auctions concluded, we’ve got a much better picture of whose 5G networks are likely to be best, as well as the phrase “Golden Gigahertz”. Alice Clarke and Chris Duckett jumped into the guest chairs:

Talkin’ tech


You can catch me talking tech news and trends pretty much every Tuesday on ABC Radio Central Victoria (and across a lot of regions — the ABC does a lot of this kind of thing) with Jo Printz at around 10:40am. This month, topics ranged from LG’s exit from the smartphone business, Monkeys playing Pong WITH THEIR BRAINS, why we might want to pay to be tracked, the internet of beer and how AI cameras can detect you being naughty behind the wheel. No, not that way… though maybe they could… but naughty in the sense of using your phone while driving.

Don’t live in Central Victoria? Not a problem! You can stream the show over that newfangled steam powered Internet every Tuesday at around 10:40 via the ABC Central Victoria Listen Live page.

I’m also an intermittent guest across other radio stations across the nation, and this month this included talking the history of YouTube on ABC Radio Canberra. Sadly, Baby Shark got mentioned.

doo doo doo doo doo doo…

Will you read my book, it took me years to write…

My main bread and butter remains writing for a variety of tech publications, and that’s certainly what’s taken up most of my April time.

At Finder, I got slender, with a review of Lenovo’s sharply white — and rather nice — Yoga Slim 7i Carbon, Nanoleaf’s Essential Bulb and the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless Headphones.

Possibly the weirdest review I’ve written for a long time happened this month (and I swear it’s a coincidence it went live on April 1), as I took hold of a $749 electric toothbrush. Yes, you read that number right. Ladies, Gentlemen and everyone in-between, I give you the Oral-B iO9 Electric Toothbrush. Actually, I don’t give you it — I couldn’t possibly afford to at $749 each.

Amazon doesn’t quite have the market share in smart displays that Google does in Australia, but it’s certainly got some interesting tech. Howe about a Smart Display that follows you around the room?? Is that genius? Is it creepy? Maybe it’s both. You’ll have to read my full review of the Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd Gen to find out.

Mind you, if we’re talking maybe-creepy, there’s the Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen, with its key feature revolving around watching you while you sleep. Read the full review (and maybe never sleep again) here.

Getting back to more tech basics, Lenovo’s revolving ThinkVision T24i-20 monitor got the review treatment, while HMD Global’s Nokia 1.4 got a features rundown.

The last of my retro games pieces for Finder went up, comparing and contrasting generations of retro games consoles.

Ahead of Apple’s Spring Loaded event, I ran through the rumour fields, collecting wild theories and detailed leaks alike. Some of them even turned out to be true!

Oppo likes to do things differently, and putting a microscope into a phone is certainly different. But is it any good? Peer in close detail at my full Oppo Find X3 Pro review.

The Aspera R40 is a pretty blatant Nokia 800 Tough clone — but that’s a good thing, as I discovered.

Because sleep is for… other people, I guess… I was up way too early for Apple’s Spring Loaded event, writing up the details on AirTags, iPad Pro and M1 iMacs.

Yeah, it’s beginning to feel like that every time I have a 2am start.

HMD continued with the low-cost Nokia phones, this time the Nokia G10. You couldn’t accuse the Belkin Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe of being low-cost — but then that’s not its target market, which consists of folks who own iPhone 12, Apple Watch and more. Read the full review here.

Motorola dropped the asking price relative to the Moto e7 and added battery capacity to make the Moto e7 Power… but it’s not quite as good a handset as a result, as I discovered.

Amazon has for some years kind of ignored the Australian streaming market in terms of hardware, with only the “Lite” and “Basic” versions of its Fire TV sticks sold down under. That changed in April with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2021 and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K going on sale, so both of them got the review treatment.

At Geeks2U, I put the 2nd Gen Nest Hub through its paces, advised on smartphone brands to buy now that LG is exiting the market, tried to work out the logic of HP’s Instant Ink and opined about the lack of real surprises at Apple’s Spring Loaded event.

Over at Digitally Downloaded, I tried to TAKE OVER THE WORLD (***INSERT LIGHTNING***), by way of reviewing Evil Genius 2.

Finally, I wrote content for this very site! You know, the one that you’re reading right now!

With my retro games hat on, I took the task of repairing the terrible image of movie tie-in games seriously, listing out 10 Movie Tie-In Games Worth Playing. Yes, it does include that one you almost instantly thought of, but there are 9 others…

With Apple finally bringing ECG to the Apple Watch in Australia, I wrote up a quick guide on how to get it working and how to take an ECG measurement with Apple Watch.

0 PlayStation 3 systems activated

And finally.. my PlayStation 3 died. No, I’m not replacing it with a PS5, mostly because like so many others, finding one to buy is basically impossible right now, but I did replace it during the month, at which time I had to download all my digital games to it.

I then hit a bug that it seems is rather well known, but rarely fixed. So if you’ve ever been told by a PS3 that you have 0 PS3s activated, and that this is too many, I worked out — mostly through gritted teeth — how to actually fix it. Here’s How to fix the “0 PlayStation 3 systems activated” problem, with added Hitchhiker’s references thrown in for good measure.

You know, if I have time to write about obsolete consoles, I have time to take on your project. Got writing, presenting or other media creation work that needs expert attention? Drop me a line.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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