For the past twelve months, our writers have been hard at work producing some brilliant work – from producing really in-depth reviews on gadgets, insightful opinions on technology, and reporting on serious issues underreported by the tech press.
Of course, with the amount of content being published from everyone online, our articles often get pushed down the list. So, here’s some of the best articles produced by our writers this year – all in one easy location.
Crossing the Line: YouTube community in crisis as sexual assault allegations are made public
2014 has been a massive year for many in the YouTube community – though it has not been all positive. Earlier this year, the community was rocked by a wave of sexual assault allegations made by fans and some creators. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did not hear about it. The story hasn’t received that much attention from the mainstream press (except for the few occasions when allegations have been made against a major YouTube star).
For many fans, this accessibility allows them to generate some sort of connection. It may be platonic, it may be romantic. But this sad saga only confirms that fans are connected to a constructed image of the online creator – all based on what they are allowed to see. They don’t know the real person behind the lens.
And maybe that’s the ultimate question that the YouTube community needs to ask themselves – should they be this accessible to fans, to the point where fans feel like they have some sort of connection (platonic or romantic) to them?
At the time when the article was published, we only profiled the allegations made against then-popular YouTube singers Alex Day and Tom Milsom – both of which resulted in all their merchandise being removed from DFTBA Records and their subscriber numbers drop. Flash-forward to today, and more people have come out and alleged they were victims of sexual assault – most notably, UK “celebrity” Sam Pepper.
Halo The Master Chief Collection Review
There’s enough Halo goodness in The Master Chief Collection to please every fan of the franchise ‐ from the Campaign to Forge. But let’s be honest, the main reason why fans would purchase this would be the Anniversary edition of Halo 2.
It was Halo 2’s tenth anniversary, and Microsoft decided to celebrate by releasing the Master Chief Collection. The collection not only contained the Anniversary remaster of Halo 2, but also Halo Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 – all playable on Xbox One. And because we wanted to celebrate (given most of our gaming team are Halo fanboys), we decided to go all out and produce one very beautifully-designed review.
There’s still a bit of debate whether or not we should have given the game a 9/10, but you can always add your two cents in the comments in the review.
Cadbury’s Joy Generator: We came for joy and all we got was this lousy block of chocolate
It’s a cold, sunny Friday Morning in the Sydney CBD and what better way to spend our morning than to visit the Cadbury Joy Generator – a Facebook-powered chocolate vending machine. The machine uses your Facebook likes and interests to calculate your best match, whether it be Original, Fruit & Nut, Roasted Almond or Snack – the Joy Generator has 12 of the best flavours available.
Stewart and Chris decide to travel all the way from Wollongong to Sydney’s Circular Quay – all to see the Cadbury’s Joy Generator. Designed to promote the other flavours of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, the machine would scan your Facebook friends list and determine what flavour you would get. However, let’s just say, there were a couple of hiccups.
An Interview with Dr Michio Kaku
TG: So once you became involved in science research, what made you step into the field of science communication?
Dr Kaku: Well, I got very much interested in science because of the death of Einstein. Also, Sputnik went up. Everyone was talking about the fact that the Russians were ahead in science, and we need more physicists, we need more mathematicians. It was almost a patriotic duty to become a scientist.
Amelia Wales got the wonderful opportunity to interview Dr Michio Kaku, who came to Australia in June to present a series of talks and to promote his new book The Future of the Mind. He talks about what motivated him to become a scientist, how science needs to be more accessible, and the possibilities of “Brain 2.0”.
Senator Scott Ludlam visits PAX Aus, asks for help to kill govt data retention plans
Making a last-minute appearance at PAX Australia, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam issued a call to arms and asked gamers in the audience to help them fight the government’s controversial plan for data retention.
Ludlam says that their main goal is to pressure the 25 Labor senators to side away from the Attorney-General George Brandis. With only 12 members publicly stating their opposition – the Greens, the Liberal Democratic Party, and Senator Nick Xenophon – they need the 25 Labor members and one other member to stop the Data Retention bill from passing the Senate.
“They’re going to vote for it unless something really interesting happens,” he told the audience. “I haven’t quite worked out yet how to shift them from standing next to George Brandis in that final vote to standing next to us.”
Why mobile photography is completely broken
Norman Ma, our resident photography expert, writes about how the mobile photography workflow is completely broken – all because everything is fragmented and apps are focused on one part of the process.
Take a look at how a large majority of people might deal with photographs on a smartphone. We capture pictures using the in-built camera app, automatically adding it to an infinite camera roll where every single photo we’ve ever taken on our phone resides. We’ll open each one up (one at a time) in our favourite filter app, play around to our heart’s content, then save them, each save adding a new, slightly different version of the photo to the infinite camera roll. We’ll then open up a collage app (because everyone loves collages these days) and make a three-panel collage of that time with friends at that place that everyone’s been keen to check out. We’ll then post that collage on Instagram, on Facebook, re-posting it on Twitter, sending it to friends via WhatsApp or Snapchat, or perhaps hanging onto it to send later. And we do this every day, for months on end. And there’ll come a time when, half a year later, we’ll want to show that one photo to another friend, and have to scroll through the mountain of blurry failed pictures, processed and unprocessed versions of photos, and perhaps a camera roll that’s been cluttered by the detritus of other apps in the meantime.
What’s frightening is that this is the scenario for the casual smartphone user.
This is the real TK Tech News – A Fraud
When it comes to being anonymous online, especially when you’re supposedly leaking information, being anonymous is understandable. However, the constant betrayal of those that follow you is not commendable. Especially when you’re stating time and time again that you’re a once famous hockey player and using that influence to produce leaks.
Sadly the TK Tech News saga of lies and deception doesn’t end here, this is only the surface. So, who is TK Tech News really? He’s Thomas Connors or Thomas Kelley Connors — see where the TK from TK Tech News comes from? Let’s take a look at the many businesses of “TK”.
A bit of context: in October, Evan Blass – known as Evleaks – accused the man behind TK Tech News of fraud, after finding out that credit card donations to a fundraiser organised by TK Tech News himself were going to another person’s bank account. Soon after, the identity of TK Tech News was revealed. He claimed to be Myles O’Conner, a Canadian hockey player, and had ties with Fox Sports Radio. Both were not true. It turns out he was a fraudster.
This article was not written by anyone at TechGeek, but by Phandroid’s Derek Ross. He published this article on Medium, but was soon removed by the site after a DMCA complaint was filed by Connors. We republished the article because we saw it an abuse of the DMCA process, and Connors responded by asking Media Temple – our web host – to take it down. We quickly filed a counterclaim. The story is still up – for now.
Dispatches: Oppo’s Australian launch
Chris Southcott goes to the Oppo’s launch announcement to get a hands on of the company’s flagship device, the Find 7, and the “selfie-phone” N1 Mini.
Before this week I’d barely heard of Oppo, to be perfectly honest.
Sure, I’d seen a few YouTube videos regarding their flagship phone (MKBHD’s video on the Find 7 springs to mind), and I’d read brief snippets of info from other tech blogs, but I’d never actually endeavoured to find out more about the Chinese electronics manufacturer.
Apparently I wasn’t alone though, and to my surprise on Tuesday I attended an early morning event, or soft-launch as Oppo described it, which would mark the manufacturers first real steps into the Western market.
I should point out that we would have loved to do a review on the Oppo Find 7 to see if it a decent smartphone to use (apparently it is, according to every other technology publication in Australia). However, despite requesting a unit months ago, they still haven’t provided us a unit.
Nokia Lumia 930 Reviews
TechGeek produced not one, but two reviews on the same phone – the Lumia 930. Stewart Wilson published his review first, calling it the best Windows Phone yet:
I loved the Lumia 930 and if I hadn’t just purchased a Lumia 1520, it certainly would’ve been my next phone. This phone is the best piece of hardware we’ve seen from Nokia so far and you’d be mad if you didn’t grab this if you were looking to purchase a Windows Phone this year.
Norman Ma then reviewed the Lumia 930 from a photographer perspective, given that the Lumia 930 has the PureView lens and he wanted to see if Nokia’s reputation in mobile photography remains true:
The Lumia 930 is a great phone for the mobile photographer, one that I’d still recommend over any Android cameraphone today, despite the shortcomings mentioned. Though the upcoming version of Android is purported to bring photography improvements to that platform, the design, flexibility and control advantages that photography apps such as Nokia Camera, ProShot and BLACK deliver on the Lumia 930 are real and deliver value right now.
AR.Drone 2.0 Review: In Flight
Chris Southcott’s review of Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 simply brings our reviews to a whole new level – with brilliant photography from Stewart Wilson and a wonderful video of him flying the drone in regional New South Wales.
To be perfectly honest at first I wasn’t particularly crazy about the AR.Drone. With every crash I somewhat lost a bit of faith in the product that is targeted at everyday people to fly. But then I started getting better at flying. And while I could never match the flight-patterns of my friend’s much more expensive drone, the DJI Phantom 2, for the price Parrot are asking, and considering the footage I captured, the AR.Drone 2.0 is ultimately a stunning unit.
SingStar PS4 Review: Screw the Neighbours
I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit of a karaoke tragic. Except I’m more of a shy one.
Whether it’s in the car, home alone, or in my dreams, singing is my jam. Now, that’s not to say that I’m any good at it, but it’s somehow relaxing, in a weird way. And while I’m fine with neighbours hearing me in the distance, or pedestrians seeing me jamming out in my car, it’s still something I do in a relatively private setting, something I do to pass time when I’m alone. It definitely isn’t the destination.
Chris Southcott reviews the new SingStar game on the PlayStation 4, and while he is disappointed that there is no Kanye West, he really enjoys the changes they have made. Thankfully, we’re all spared from hearing him sing.
Goat Simulator Review: A Beautiful (and Buggy) Mess
One of my friends, Josh Layton, reviews one of the weirdest games ever to be released this year – Goat Simulator. Long story short, I asked him if you would do a review if we gave him the game to play it. He said yes, and by the looks of the review – I think he got an insight into what it is like being a goat.
If you don’t follow the weekly goat news online (like I do), then you are probably unaware of Goat Simulator – the brand new title from the creators of Sanctum, Coffee Stain Studios. And yes, this game is for real.
As the name suggests, Goat Simulator lets the player have the unmatchable and never-before-seen privilege of becoming a simple goat in an average town. However, it is not as straightforward as it seems. The town is littered with crazy things for the goat to play with… and use to create havoc.
Microsoft is not the only company using the ‘OneDrive’ name
If you haven’t heard by now, Microsoft has renamed SkyDrive to OneDrive – after it lost a court battle with British satellite broadcaster BSkyB over the name. And while we assume Microsoft’s lawyers have vetted this name to make sure it doesn’t happen again, it should be noted that Microsoft is not the only company to be using the OneDrive name.
Someone at Microsoft didn’t do their research, as Terence Huynh finds out.
The Pirate Bay almost had a server in North Korean soil
It seems only fitting that, given recent events, that we bring you this recent story. Tobias Andersson, one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay, told the audience at a Q&A session in Melbourne that they were actually considering putting servers in the North Korean Embassy in Stockholm.
“We got to know one guy, who knew another guy, and who knew another guy that actually worked at the embassy. And we’re like ‘Hey, we should place the service in North Korea. That would be so cool’. So we got in contact with him,” Andersson said.
Facebook acquires Nintendo in US$25 billion move
Despite a [partnership] this morning with the Google Maps team, Ninendo is now officially a Facebook company. With disappointing sales of the Wii U, it’s no surprise that Facebook decided to pounce on the company, known for their incredibly unique and priceless IPs. The deal will include the Mario franchise, as well as many other high-profile Nintendo properties, with the concluded sale to cost US$25 billion in a mixture of cash and stock.
It wouldn’t be a TechGeek best-of-the-year list without mentioning some of the April Fools stories we published. In fact, the fake story about Facebook acquiring Nintendo for 25 Instagrams was the most popular post for the year. The reactions varied between “Even though it’s April Fools, I can see this happening” to “a fraudulent and immature article.”
Yes, we know planting fake articles is now getting old. Doesn’t mean we won’t stop doing them.