LATEST UPDATES[Site updates are described here, but practically all "blog-like" activity is made through Twitter.]
January 10, 2018
Oh man. I'm into the 22nd year of updates, and yea, I know this page isn't anything more than my personal, rarely updated diary. But I also realized, I don't actually make any summaries of the year that was in any other place. So maybe this place is as good as any. It also forces me to think back a bit and remember all the stuff that happened in the year that was.
I talk about the year that was with a particular focus on technology as that's one of the things I'm interested in and usually have an opinion about. 2017 was a mixed bag, but as always, lots to talk about when you start thinking about it.
At the very end of the last year I got a new Asus GeForce 1070 graphics card for my computer that had some issues and I wrote here I'd rather wait for AMD Vega. Well that didn't happen, early on, at the very beginning of 2017 I got a different brand instead (MSI). And that one worked just fine.
2017 was another year I didn't get a 4k screen. In fact I formulated a statement that no matter what monitor you look a it will have at least ONE fault (and yes high price is seen as a fault here). The perfect -for my needs- monitor still does not exist in 2017. Interestingly, my main screen at home turns 10 years this year. Come on 2018, 2017 let me down, but I still have hope.
About the smart phone situation. I told you how my LG G5 was 'just fine'. That might have been true for the first half a year or so, but then it started to develop some serious issues and for the first time, I had to send the less then a year old phone to a service shop. The USB C connector was worn out so charging was almost impossible, and the home button was more or less broken. When I got the fixed phone back, it has some weird back light bleed it didn't have before. My next phone is NOT going to be an LG, let me clear about that. Maybe I'll simply play it safe and go for a Samsung Galaxy again (that would be 9 then). However, I'm in no rush. I can easily wait til after the summer.
Moving on to gaming consoles. In 2017 we saw Nintendo do really well with their new Nintendo Switch console. They actually managed to keep it fairly secret until the end. A lot of people were skeptical when they finally saw it, but as always, Nintendo still has a large loyal user base and it usually only takes a new Mario or Zelda game to get sells going. It managed to sell more than 10 million consoles during 2017 and 2018 is probably be another good year.
In response to Sony's Playstation 4 Pro that came out at the end of 2016, Microsoft released the Xbox One X, previously knows as 'Project Scorpio'. It's a well designed machine, borrowing a lot from the Xbox One S that came before it while packing a lot more power. It is currently the worlds most powerful gaming console and it probably still will be when this year ends. 4k gaming is now actually possible, although, tbh, TRUE 4k gaming at High fps won't happen on a large scale until the next generation of consoles. PS5, and whatever Microsoft will call it's successor to the Xbox One X. Most attempts to speculate in the naming of their next console usually fail, because they are not being consistent. (Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X.. what next then, well your guess is as good as mine.)
So what happened to the VR hype? In 2017 we probably thought we'd get a lot of killer apps for the previously released consumer versions of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (co-developed by Valve Software know for games like Half Life and these days their Steam platform. Well, as you may remember, the headsets sure sold out quickly at the beginning, but then, once all the early adopters and rich nerds got theirs, the curve steadily pointed downwards. It would be a lie to say that these expensive headsets reached into the mainstream. Instead, simpler VR like Samsung's Galaxy Gear or even Google Cardboard were seen as the true mainstream VR with maybe one exception. Sony of course also has their VR headset, the Playstation VR which was released at the end of 2016, so potentially it could have an impact on mainstream VR accompanied by the more powerful Playstation 4 Pro. So how did it go? Well the numbers favor Sony. Indications are they sold over 2 million PS VR sets since launch (during about 1 year). Some numbers suggest Sony is selling about half of the high end VR head sets, Oculus about 20% and HTC Vive about 15%. These are rough estimates, and numbers change but, that is the ballpark figure anyway.
So it seems the attraction of PS4 did work better than PC gaming which by the way required very costly rigs to give a good experience. So what does this mean for 2018? Why is there no VR headset for the powerful Xbox One X? Well, that's a fair question, but it's possible that Microsoft still see this as an insignificant niche thing and would rather wait for technology to catch up, so that when headsets eventually do show up, they will be good and very affordable.
HTC Vive will launch an updated version of the Vive in 2018 while Oculus has been a bit more silent about their plans. Lower prices can be expected however, and who knows, maybe that killer app is just around the corner.
Now, lets also talk a little bit about AR, or Augmented Reality. 2017 saw both some stagnation and a new hope. The idea that smart phones will be equipped with depth sensors seems to have have been ditched in favor of using regular cameras but with smarter algorithms. Google recently announced it will cancel it's project Tango and instead use computing power and AI to do better feature tracking with regular cameras. This was an approach also favored by Apple and now seen in their AR kit, which is a development kit for AR on the iOS platform. Google's platform is know as AR Core, but it is at the time of writing still in beta and will likely be officially released later in 2018.
The emergence of seriously good (and scary) AI is a topic on its own. It seems we are in the middle of an AI arms race. Companies like Google, Amazon, nVidia, Apple, Samsung and a bunch of other smaller ones are going to go all in on AI and the consequences could be game changing. Self driving cars are no longer sci-fi. We have them driving around on the streets of Gothenburg. And the home-assistant market is being pushed really hard by Amazon (Alexa), Google (Home), Samsung (Bixby), Apple.. A lot of this tech also finds its way into our smart phones, so they are getting real clever too. Time will tell if this is all a good thing, or the beginning of the end.
My love for retro is still alive and well, yet my site exretro.com didn't get that much attention in 2017. Sometimes, 365 days simply aint that much when so many different things are competing for your attention.
I also used to shoot a lot with my DSLR camera, but nowadays I get the the question, 'Hey you still do photography?' and well, yea, I still do, i still have my gear, but the photo excursions are few and far between. But when they happen, I always post on Instagram. I really should update my official Photo Site too. (f-pixel.com) Maybe that will be a 2018 project.
That will do for the tech-stuff in 2017. Now a couple of words about my personal life. During 2017 I saw my kids grow some more, and now I'm a dad of 4 year old and a 2 year old. It's really a fascinating journey to see your kids grow, develop new skills, do new stuff. It's never boring, I'll tell you that..
Maybe it's not apparent to everyone I know that I'm quite interested in a lot of stuff that one would call metaphysical, but one dear topic is that of UFOs. At the end of 2017, we got to see a really strange announcement. Basically, Pentagon representatives release a short video of a fighter jet chasing a UFO and mainstream media actually ran the story. UFO researches all over the world were scratching their heads. It used to be about denial and disinformation, but now suddenly a move towards some sort of disclosure.. Why? Why now? What's next? Well, I'm going to bet that we will see more stuff in 2018. It will be interesting to follow this, for sure.
In summary, for some 2017 was yet another year of war, terror, natural disasters and what not. So for those of us who could live a normal life that we take for granted, maybe we should be more thankful that our problems revolve around what phone to upgrade to or rather meaningless stuff like that. So, a lot more could have been said about 2017, (like hey there was a new Star Wars movie and it... sucked.. ;-) but in the end we all have our own memories that define the year that was. I will now focus on the future and let's see what we can accomplish in 2018. Have a good one.. Over and out...
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