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Welcome to 2018

8 January 2018

A new year brings new challenges and new opportunities.

What's going to be hot this year?

Well judging by the weather around here over the festive season, it won't be the air temperature.

What crap weather we've been having. Wind, rain, cold -- it's been more like late autumn than mid summer, at least in Tokoroa.

Is this proof of climate change?

Nah... weather is always weather. It has always been variable and this isn't the first festive break where I've resorted to breaking out the heater of an evening.

However, given that summers are short enough here in NZ, it's certainly disappointing that we're now into the second month of the season and I'm still waiting for the joy of endless balmy days of blue skies, light breezes and roasting temps.

The problem with a late summer is that you miss out on the best bits of daylight savings.

Right now, the days are so long that (around here) you can still be engaged in outdoor activities as late as 9pm. This can't be said of late February and March, when the sun is already setting closer to 8pm.

Being outside enjoying the cooler evening breezes and having fun is a whole lot different to being stuck inside once it gets dark and you are left to sweat in an Indian summer.

But enough griping, about weather any way.

What am I expecting in the coming year?

Well pretty much more of the same I suspect.

I'm not expecting to see sustained nuclear fusion in the lab this year, nor am I placing a deposit on a flying car.

However, speaking of cars, I have a feeling that Tesla's current "golden boy" status in the EV market may see a little tarnish forming. Other vehicle manufacturers are now pretty much aware that EVs are the way forward and I expect to see some rather interesting announcements from existing players; announcements that could place Tesla under even more pressure to get their production rolling in a timely fashion.

Computer hacking may be bigger than ever this year, with black-hats spurred on by the flaws that have been disclosed in most processors over the past week or two. Much of this will be state-sponsored by players such as N.Korea and perhaps Russia; almost certainly the USA will be doing it.

This will also be the year that streaming video services really start to take control of the entertainment marketplace. The future for FTA broadcast TV is looking pretty dire right now and SkyTV... well you know my thoughts on that.

Since YouTube is a place I am very active, I've been looking very carefully at what's going in in the YT ecosystem and I expect we're going to see a number of channels become ghost-channels.

What's a ghost-channel?

It's one that was once very active and popular but which is all but forgotten by its creator.

Google has so stuffed around with YT that already a number of my favourite channels have announced that they're effectively quitting the game -- no longer able to justify the amount of time they've been spending, now that their revenues are so pitiful and uncertain.

I discovered for myself just how ridiculous YT's automated censorship systems have become when my Santa rides a drone video was demonetized because Google's AI determined that it was not "suitable for all advertisers". With this kind of uncertainty and stupidity, people can no longer afford to risk the farm by living off of YouTube revenues.

Of course it got even more outrageous when someone found that a video consisting of nothing more than many minutes of white noise was flagged by YouTube as subject to no less than five copyright claims when uploaded. Seriously? Google's automated content-matching system is so broken that deemed white noise to be a copyright breach?

Broken, broken, broken!

I plan to stick with YouTube but do not be surprised if, by year's end, you find that my videos are ad-free, by choice. My goal is to create other revenue streams associated with my videos so that I can eventually turn off monetisation. Instead of contributing to Google's revenues, I'll become a burden on them -- as they stream my videos, without ads and thus without revenues.

Quite a few other popular channels are aiming for the same result. The moral of the story here is that if you (Google) dick people around for too long, it costs you their loyalty and the revenues you used to get from them.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about the risks of relying on technology (as someone in NZ discovered to their cost last week) and also how Bitcoin may be of significant value to a group who have probably never even thought about it.

Stay tuned... 2018 will be very interesting.

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