What I’ve been up to in July 2021

The second half of the year beckons, and July is over. Here’s everything I’ve written, commented on, filmed and podcasted for July 2021.

Words Get In The Way

Look, they might do if you’re Gloria Estefan, but for me, they’re a substantial part of how I make my living. One oddity for July is that while I wrote a lot of words, not all of them were under my own name. Ah, the joys of non-attributed writing. Still, it pays the bills.

However, where you will find my name attached in July 2021 is to a lot of articles over at Finder.

Vivo’s X60 Pro 5G sells itself on a gyroscopically balanced rear camera, but that wasn’t the only impressive detail about this particular handset. Read my full Vivo X60 Pro 5G review here.

The Oppo Find X3 Lite is technically a cousin to the Vivo X60 Pro — by way of parent company BBK Electronics, one of those slightly-shadowy-Chinese-mobile-makers-with-about-a-million-brands… but it’s a very different proposition, especially to the superior Oppo Find X3 Neo or Oppo Find X3 Pro. You can check out my comprehensive Oppo Find X3 Lite review here.

Video games. They don’t make ’em like this any more!

July was also a month that saw me review a lot of gaming tech.

Turtle Beach Recon 500 headphones review? Sure, why not.

MSI Optix MAG251RX Gaming Monitor? Point it at my eyes.

Razer Blade 14 2021 laptop review? Game on.

Asus ROG Zephyrus GA15 GA503 review? Naturally.

Asus ROG Flow X13 GV301? Plug me right in.

Laptops were definitely a theme this month too, with the trio above joined by my Acer Swift 3X 2021 review. Somehow, I avoided any Taylor Swift jokes in that review, although only just.

3D printers are something I’ve been interested in for some years, but it’s been a while since I’ve formed anything in a 3D printer. That changed this month as I put the Elegoo Mars 2 Mono 3D on the test bench to see what it could do. And in its case, just how bad its instructions were in terms of consumer safety. Read my full Elegoo Mars 2 Mono 3D review here.

I’ve been writing in the mobile phone space for so long, I can actually remember when new mobiles were genuine surprises that nobody saw coming. Then again, I was also local editor at Gizmodo Australia back when Gizmodo US very much got on the wrong side of Apple around the time of the iPhone 4. Oh, those were some… interesting times.

Anyway, the iPhone 13 is expected to be formally revealed pretty darned soon now, and we already know — or think we know — a lot about it, thanks to a torrent of leaks and rumours and renders surrounding it. Prior to its launch, here’s everything we think we know about the iPhone 13.

Mind you, the rumours around the iPhone 13 are nothing next to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. At this point, is there anything about those two phones we don’t already know?

If you’re still in the dark, I’ve written up what’s already known about the Galaxy Z Flip 3 here, and what’s been leaked (deliberately or otherwise) about the Galaxy Z Fold 3 here.

KEEP IT COMING

After all that, I think I need a cup of coffee. Good job I reviewed the Lavazza Jolie Plus coffee machine then, isn’t it?

At Geeks2U, I gathered up my impressions of Windows 11 — still due later this year, Windows fans — into a rundown of its new features and where I think some rusted-on Windows users might find it a tad challenging.

You probably think that you’re pretty careful about what you post on social media, and that your private information is private, right? It ain’t necessarily so — and I ran down how you can be identified and tracked even when you think you’re being careful with your online presence.

There’s a general impression that the only folks who fall for tech scams are the elderly and very tech-naive, but the reality is that the tech scam has lasted the distance because it can fool all sorts of people — including, surprisingly, a lot of Millenials and Gen Y. I wrote about those figures, and what to do with tech scams.


I also wrote a car review — and for the folks who have been tuning in, yep, this was the big one. And by “the big one” I mean “I finally wrote up my impressions of the 2016 Japanese Leaf that now lives in my carport”.

Read on to find out why it’s called Catweazle, why I’m trying not to become one of those EV owners… and the things that I flat out don’t like in my Nissan Leaf 2016 Australian import review.

Awards time? No… not yet


So, strictly speaking, July should also have been when the Australian IT Media awards would have been held.

Except, well, in one of those nasty timing coincidences, for the second year running, just about a week before they were due to be held, Sydney found itself in a lockdown, and they’ve had to be postponed.

(Yes, total first world problem, not the worst thing, etc.)

What did get announced were the finalists across all categories, as well as the shortlisted publications, and I’ve got a few nods there. I’m a finalist this year in the Best Telecommunications Journalist and Best Technical Journalist categories, with some damned stiff competition.

While I could claim a part of an IT Journo Award (informally, a “Lizzie”) from any number of publications I wrote for in 2020 were they to win publication awards, it is rather nice to be on the longlist for Best Independent Coverage for Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News. That one I can claim a neat 50% of… although I’m not sure how Adam Turner and I will actually split the trophy if we were to win.

It’s genuinely still a thrill to be a finalist, but I don’t imagine I’ve got long odds of walking off with an award, whenever they do end up happening.

Watch this space.

Guerrilla Radio


My regular Tuesday ABC Radio Victoria spot is on a breather right now, as regular host Jo Printz enjoys a well-earned holiday, but it’ll be back soon.

However, you could catch me very early in the morning one Tuesday in July on Perth’s Radio 6PR, talking the copy of Mario 64 that sold for a cool $US1.56 million.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. What’s that? You weren’t up that early in Perth, or you don’t live in Western Australia? Luckily for you, you can listen in below!

Tell us more!

What, you want to hear more from me?

If only there was some kind of, oh, I don’t know, podcast featuring multi-time award-winning tech journos chatting in-depth about the week’s technology issues.

You could call that podcast… hmm… Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News sounds catchy! Let’s do that!

This month, we dove deep into the benefits (and drawbacks) of Nintendo’s new OLED Switch, and why it’s not a Pro model, as well as the labyrinthine mess of sports rights and streaming in Australia ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, with special guests Seamus Byrne from Byteside and Steve Molk from TV BlackBox!

One week later, we welcomed Fergus Halliday back to the virtual Vertical Hold studios to talk all things Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Apple iPhone 13!

We then talked to the SMH/Age’s Tim Biggs about Netflix’s plans to include gaming in its streaming subscription offerings, and then Stilgherrian about Pegasus spyware, RATs and more!

When you buy something, who should control the repair process? There’s a big old fight going on around the right to repair, and we chatted to Choice’s Erin Turner about what’s being done down under to protect consumers, as well as admitting to our own poor security habits — and what can happen when you’re lazy with online security — with Media-Wize’s Anthony Caruana!

Show us your face!

So, I did shoot some video for my YouTube channel (like, subscribe, comment, as they say).

Well, I say, “some” video. I shot one video, fairly off the cuff.

Also, my face isn’t in it, but any way you count it, Prince has to be an upgrade over me.

It’s just not been a good month for me to dedicate the time, sadly, although hopefully August may be a tad more kind. Still, it’s got a nice and generally positive response, even though it’s way outside my usual tech sphere.

Great album, too. It kinda blows my mind that, according to YouTube analytics, that video’s now been watched (at time of writing) for just over 36.1 hours by collected humanity.

Clearly, you should go subscribe now.

Contact me!

Need some words written, verbs enunciated, copy polished or edited or anything in-between?


Drop me a line — I’m always open to approaches for fresh work.

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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