The Inevitable March of Time

So, that’s just about a wrap for March 2021. Here’s what I’ve been up to across podcasts, radio, video and freelance writing work.

Vertical Hold

It’s a really exciting time in Australian podcasts, with all sorts of excellent tech journalists launching new podcasts, and many of them are kind enough to join me and co-host Adam Turner weekly to dive deeper into the tech stories of the week.

March kicked off with a very entertaining show, where we were joined by the one and only Stilgherrian to discuss the online safety bill and whether NFTs were a good investment, an artistic statement or an EARTH DESTROYING APOCALYPSE BEAST.

Next up, the truly excellent Alice Clarke graced us with her presence to talk about Peleton coming down under and Epic Games taking on Google in the Australian courts!

We then chatted to News Corp tech editor (and Hard Quiz champ) Jen Dudley-Nicholson. Her specialist subjects? Netflix cracking down on account cheats, and which smart speaker is best (and why letting your smart display watch you while you sleep might just be a teensy bit creepy).

The world of social media came under the Vertical Hold spotlight, as we were joined by Peter Wells from the SMH/Age (and the Helpdesk and Metapod podcasts) to talk through Twitter trialling an undo button, and whether Instagram really ought to release an under-13s variant or not.

You can keep up with everything Vertical Hold over at the Vertical Hold web page, and you totally should subscribe at well on your podcasting platform of choice. Take your pick — Vertical Hold is available pretty much everywhere for the low, low price of FREE!

Here, have some subscription links to make it even easier!

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/vertical-hold-audio/id971993513?mt=2

Pocketcasts Click here to launch Pocketcasts and subscribe today!

Spotify: You can stream every episode on Spotify right here.

iHeartRadio: Subscribe here!

Talkin’ Tech

I also enjoy appearing on radio, typically talking technology, although if anyone wants me to discuss politics, retro video games or the career of Orange Cassidy, I’m also open to offers.

In March, my regular spot talking technology with Jo Printz on ABC Radio Central Victoria (and, I believe, quite a bit of the rest of the state too) went all kinds of places, from explaining what an NFT is to smart contact lenses, AIs playing video games for us, why the ACCC cares about our browser choices, Netflix account sharing crackdowns, cassettes making a comeback, liquid lens smartphones and why Shakespeare and VR are a surprisingly compelling mix.

Like I said, I like to talk tech, and you can catch me most Tuesdays on ABC Central Victoria at around 10:40 on the ABC Central Victoria Listen Live page (or by tuning in, if you happen to be in the broadcast area).

Video killed the radio star

OK, it didn’t actually, but I did get back on the video production bandwagon in March, first up with a hands-on look at Samsung’s interesting new Galaxy A series phones:

and then with a quick video review of the Nokia 5.4:

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

War of Words

I am not in fact in a war with words, although I did fire off a lot of them in March.

Was the Deebot U2 going to find what it was looking for, or was it a lemon? You’ll have to excuse the painful U2 puns and read my full review at Finder to discover which it is!.

While you’re reading reviews at Finder, I also wrote about the deeply average Nokia 5.4, the Realme Buds Air Pro, the Realme 7 5G, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and the Motorola Moto e7.

But that’s not all! I also delved into the world of VR with a review of the Oculus Quest 2. Facebook has done a lot to make consumer VR more compelling, but at the same time… it’s Facebook.

On the news front, I wrote up a hands-on review and guide to Samsung’s new Galaxy A series phones, as well as the details around the 2nd Generation Google Nest Hub, the best SIM-only mobile plans, best prepaid mobile plans and best NBN plans.

But I’m still not done, because if there was a core focus for my Finder writing work for the month, it was retro gaming.

I know, you’re shocked.

Want to know what the best PlayStation 3 games of all time are? I’ve got you covered.

Maybe your tastes are more 8-bit? Here’s the best NES/Famicom games every retro collector should own and play.

Want to get your retro gaming on in a portable way? Here’s my picks for the best GameBoy Advance games for retro fanatics.

Need more bits in your gaming? How about 64 OF THEM? Here’s the best Nintendo 64 games of all time (with no shock as to my pick for the best for anyone who knows me, but hey, I’m right.)

It was like picking my favourite child, but I also wrote up the best Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games. That platform has SO many great games, so this was especially hard to judge.

Want to know what the whole retro gaming fuss is all about? Here’s the best retro games by platform!

Then there’s one of the most indepth guides I think I’ve ever written for Finder, detailing exactly how to build a full arcade system from the basis of a Raspberry Pi. Not just the software, but the consideration around casings, joysticks — even the legal implications of what you can and can’t do in this sense in Australia. It’s easily my personal favourite bit of writing for the month.

How to build a DIY Raspberry Pi arcade machine for retro gaming.

This took a lot of time to research, build and write, and I’m pretty darned happy with the results.

But of course, I wasn’t done for the month there.

For Geeks2U, I wrote up a guide to understanding USB Power Delivery, a guide to eSIMs (and why they matter), Netflix closing the brother-in-law loophole, a review of Samsung’s affordable 980 NVMe SSD and details on how Microsoft’s changing up Windows 10 icons, and why.

But hey, why stop when I’m just getting warmed up? It’s been a while since I flexed my game reviewing muscles, but I picked up a new outlet this month, penning my first review for Digitally Downloaded.

Specifically, I took the hefty dive into the excellent but tough-as-nails Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection for Nintendo Switch. Do not approach this game if you have a low threshold for being killed over and over and over again.

Also, just for members of my own family, a quick blast from the past:

And as my final salvo against words for the month, there’s the articles written for this here web site. First up, an obsession with classic ads for the Nintendo Famicom. Yes, this was part of my research for that best Famicom/NES article at Finder.

I have this weird obsession with The Amazing Race (mostly because of the Amazing Phil), but the Australian version that Channel 10 has been showing left me rather unimpressed. So I wrote about what I reckon they did wrong around mid-way through the season.

Spoiler: The show’s season has now finished, and it didn’t get better, sadly.

Finally, where there is a new Godzilla game, you know I’m going to be checking it out. Even when it’s a weird horse racing game in the guise of a Godzilla game.

April beckons me to produce even more. Keen to get some of my skills to work for you? 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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