Recap on the year Part 2

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Last week we looked back at the applications that I featured in Click over the past year and I thought it would be worthwhile to follow that up with some of the biggest technology developments of 2006 as to get an idea as to how things have changed over the past twelve months.

I feel that the most fundamental change this year has been a fairly substantial mainstream shift to the use of modern day technology.A large amount of the population now use iPods, DVD Recorders, SatNav systems, camera phones and the such daily but additionally, as well as the Internet being the tool to purchase most this stuff it also dominates pub conversations across the country.Long gone are the days that such gadgets and such interests were the realms for geeks only, you could now almost say that technology was becoming ‘cool’.

The main growth area this year would unfortunately have to be spam which although now being legislated against is thriving due to an inability to enforce this legislation.I spend around ten minutes a day deleting spam messages so I would really hope that this is one area that will be properly addressed in 2007.Online banking fraud also rose 55 percent in the first half of the year primarily due to the large growth in phishing (passing off a fraudulent site as an official one in order to gain personal and security details) so the phishing filters built in to most new browsers are certainly a welcome addition.

This year saw the introduction of the UKs first Biometric passports but whether this does anything to kerb passport fraud will be seen.The Serious and Organised Crime (SOCA) was also launched in 2006 with the aim of tackling high tech crime.

Quite an interesting development for me and my business has been the move to close down the loophole in online shopping that resulted in many UK based companies setting up a base in one of the Channel Islands in order to be able to take advantage of a tax loophole.This loophole meant online companies such as Amazon posted goods from Jersey to the UK rather than keeping everything on the mainland to avoid paying VAT.Whilst this practise is still going on at present, Jersey and Guernsey are now clamping down on these companies.I personally welcome this move as it was insulting to have to fill in a VAT return every three months to pay thousands to the government whilst trying to compete with companies that were getting away with paying absolutely nothing due to geographic location.Thousands of genuine UK businesses have been hit hard by trying to be competitive with these offshore companies and the sooner it comes to an end the better.

The news that Vodafone, O2 and Orange were all promising to introduce lower prices for customers calling to or from Europe was welcomed but the European Union insists that regulation is needed to force the phone companies to offer roaming customers true value for money.

Broadband was also a big factor of 2006 with speeds rapidly increasing and prices coming down to truly affordable levels.As well as helping potentially copyright infringing services such as BitTorrent and YouTube this increase in speed has helped increase the popularity of more official websites such as www.bbc.co.uk which allows you to catch up with your favourite programs online.

Bill Gates, the worlds richest man also handed in his notice in June of this year and will step down as chairman of Microsoft in June 2008 to concentrate on this charitable work.This year also saw Google purchase YouTube for a cool $1.65 billion which is a large amount of money for any company to pay for an unprofitable start-up and the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to my mind….

There have been plenty of other worthwhile developments which we simply haven’t had time for but now it’s time to stop looking back and start looking forward to what 2007 will bring us.I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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