What’s been keeping me busy in September 2021?

Writing, testing, radio, podcasting, video, more writing… oh yeah, and writing. September was a busy one for sure.

Hear ye, hear ye

Let’s start the month off with Vertical Hold: Behind the Tech News, the podcast I produce weekly with the one and only Adam Turner.

First up, we welcomed Chris Duckett into the virtual Vertical Hold studios, to talk unlimited — actually unlimited! — data plans from Vodafone, and the current state of the NBN upgrade rollout:

Facebook often peers into our private lives, but who was lining up to wear a set of Facebook sunnies? We chatted to Alice Clarke about that, as well as the future of social media, while Steve Molk dropped by to talk all things Foxtel iQ5:

September was also iPhone launch month, and Seamus Byrne from Byteside joined us to talk iPhone 13, new iPads and Apple Watch. And then SpaceX tourism, because we’re nothing if not diverse at Vertical Hold.

Apple wasn’t the only tech giant with shiny new gear to ooh and ahh over, with Microsoft announcing a host of new tablets. Meanwhile, Afterpay wants even more of your money, and so does Amazon — but not if you’re paying via VISA. We invited Angus Kidman along to explain that one.

In the latest ep, we were joined by Gizmodo Australia editor Asha Barbaschow to talk Amazon’s new shiny toys (most of which aren’t coming to Australia), as well as Google vs ACCC and the EU vs Apple. Technically it falls into October, but we recorded it in September, so it totally counts.

You can check out any episode of Vertical Hold or subscribe over at the Vertical Hold web page. Or indeed, in any podcasting platform of your choice.

Hear ye, hear ye (again)

I was kept somewhat busy by ABC Radio again this month, popping in for a chat with Indira Naidoo around Facebook’s sunglasses on 13 September. She wasn’t a fan, but sadly ABC Radio’s online archives seem to vanish after a week or two, so that chat is already MIA.

If you’re very quick, you might still be able to catch the replay of my chat with James Valentine around the EU/Apple charger decision at this link.

(Alex’s admission of age: It is still a slightly startling thing to be chatting on radio to a man who I used to watch present the Afternoon Show on ABC TV when I was a kid. Just me?)

It’s been a while since I was on ABC Radio Victoria for my regular Tuesday tech chat, but the good news there is that it’ll be resuming from next Tuesday the 5th of October.

Well, looky here

A lot more work for YouTube (one of these days, Google will start handing over a pittance for this thing) this month, starting with those controversial Facebook sunglasses:

Getting up early for Apple’s “California Streaming” event meant that I could throw together some quick impressions:

And then a quick unboxing of some phones that I spent a lot of the month writing about:

What about the words?

Writing is still my primary task, and oh boy did a lot of words get used this month. Premium quality words, naturally.

Over at Finder, I kicked off the month with a guide to Windows 11 before plugging some Google into my door. Quite literally, with a review of the Google Nest Doorbell.

While it kept busy looking out for couriers and ne’er do-wells, the Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro trundled around my floors, keeping them mostly clean.

Vacuum cleaners (even robot ones) are noisy creatures, so thankfully I had the JBL Live Pro+ TWS headphones to pop into my ears to lessen the noise.

Motorola’s known mostly in this country for affordable phones, and I had a whole lot of Motorola to get through in September.

First up, the affordable Motorola Moto G50 5G.

Then the slightly more expensive Motorola Edge 20 Fusion.

Then the slightly-more-expensive-again Motorola Edge 20.

And finally, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro.

That’s a lot of phones, Motorola, although you weren’t alone on that score.

Ahead of the California Streaming Apple Event, rumours were rife as to what was going to be in the iPhone 13 family. So I collated them and considered them with no prior knowledge from Tim Cook. He won’t return my calls for some reason.

As you’ve probably gathered, Facebook had some sunglasses to sell, and I got my hands on a pair before they were announced, so on launch day, I gave my early impressions. Later in the month, with proper testing time I gave my full review of the Facebook Ray-Ban Stories sunglasses.

Then one of the biggest tech devices I’ve ever reviewed in my home; the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill, which lets me run pretty much anywhere on the planet I want to. Virtually, that is.

 

With the California Streaming event imminent, a quick watching guide was followed by… a lot of coffee.

That was because it was time to get up a stupid o’clock and cover the entire launch event, with everything announced including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and more.

The stars of that particular show were the new iPhones, so I wrote up guides to the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max as well.

Apple doesn’t like to talk specifications, and that’s (from its perspective) because it likes to talk about experiences instead.

Which is all well and good, except when the specifications don’t work in Apple’s favour. I’m pretty sure I broke the story internationally about how Apple was (sigh, once again) playing favourites when it comes to 5G, leaving Australians with a worse iPhone 13 choice than Americans get.

My Vertical Hold co-host Adam Turner often comments that I like smartwatches a little too much. He might be right. What did I think of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4? You’ll have to read my review to find out. If you’re a fan of all things Samsung, you can also read my comprehensive and considered Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.

With gaming in mind, I tapped away for much of the month on the Razer Huntsman V2 Tenkeyless, leading to a full review.

I did not have to get up early for the Microsoft Surface reveal, but I did write up the details relevant for Australian audiences. Likewise for Amazon’s launch of the Echo Show 15 and more, though there I would have been far more angry given how much of Amazon’s lineup isn’t coming down under.

What do house fires, dodgy electricians and an inability to finish cooking a tasty chicken udon meal have to do with Apple Pay? You might be thinking “absolutely nothing, has Alex been at the cooking sherry again”, but you’d be wrong, as a power emergency led me to discover something simultaneously cool and creepy about Apple Pay.

And while they’ve gone live in early October, all the testing and writing and such was done in September, so there was just enough time to squeeze in two more reviews.

Two more big reviews. The Apple iPhone 13 and Apple iPhone 13 Pro. I have very definite opinions about which is the better value — read the reviews to find out which is which.

Over at Geeks2U, I explained the way Microsoft’s opting for a rolling Windows 11 update schedule for users, as well as the new Surface devices coming to Australia. Apple’s iPhone launch got a look in, by way of the new iPad Mini, and I also pondered the implications of the current US ruling on the Apple/Epic Games lawsuit.

At Digitally Downloaded, just the one review this month, but it was a good one, with EA’s Lost in Random rolling its dice my way.

This is a computer you build for a price, not so much a purpose.

And that just leaves.. hey, this place, where I wrote up what happens when you get a $119 computer in 2021. Can a rather busy tech journalist really work on such a device?

There was only one way to find out.

Need words written, content presented or articles edited? Drop me a line!

Sure, I’m busy. But I could always be busier.

If you’ve got a freelance creative need, 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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