Looking back on 2010, here’s an assortment of topics off the top of my head that stood out as being worthy highlights or forgettable lowlights for the year.
The Best of the Year
I picked up an iPad at launch when it came out in May this year and am still absolutely in love with it. It’s simple interface, generous battery life and perfect form factor instantly made the device a useful part of my daily routine. It has replaced the home PC as my preferred avenue for checking email, social networking and browsing the Internet. The only times I really use my PC anymore is to blog on TFW or when Jen is hogging the iPad and playing sudoku on it.
I’m sure the new year will bring an avalanche of competitors offering a slew of extra features and Apple themselves are rumoured to be not too far away from a new iteration on the iPad. That said, I’m really happy with what the iPad does already and don’t miss the absense of Flash or a built-in camera at all. I really only use the iPad for a handful of simple functions but the critical thing is how the iPad lets you do things (quickly, efficiently) rather than what it does.
I’m pretty sure we’ll look back on the launch of the iPad in 2010 as the beginning of the end for laptops being the preferred portable computing format of choice. Tablets are the future and the iPad is king.
I was one of the last people on TFW to sign up for Facebook when it first really started to take off three years ago and it was the same again with Twitter. It took a lot of goading from Mike and the others to get me onto Twitter in the middle of last year but now that I’ve gotten used it, it has become my favourite social networking medium. The biggest obstacle for me to overcome was to understand the usefulness of Twitter. I just saw it as a form of Facebook stripped down to just a series of status updates.
I’ve blogged before about my Facebook fatigue. I feel like now that I’ve added and caught up with just about every single long lost friend, aquaintance and work colleague I can think of, the functionality of the site doesn’t really offer much to keep me coming back (I don’t play Farmville or Mafia Wars). There’s just a lot of baby photos and random song lyrics as status updates.
Comparatively, Twitter offers an excellent blend of communication with friends plus newsfeeds that are very specifically tailored to topics I’m interested in. It gives you an outlet to interact with and follow the musings of musicians, athletes, journalists, actors, politicans and whoever else might take your fancy. Once you start following over a hundred accounts, your Twitter feed becomes a perpetual ever-updating stream of information that is almost always interesting and relevant to you. Thats what makes Twitter so awesome.
It was nice to rediscover the fun of playing board games this year. Although they are by no means new games, this year Jen and I discovered Carcasonne, Settlers of Catan, Perudo and Ticket to Ride, all top notch games that have a healthy balance of luck and skill, that can be completed in a single afternoon. It’s a fun way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon, particularly with a group of friends over, a bowl of pistachios and some beer.
I’ve personally had a great year for reading interesting, enjoyable and informative books in 2010. Looking back on the year, I went through a pretty diverse range of material and plenty of my favourite books were peer recommendations. I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome, Richard Dawkin’s The Greatest Show On Earth, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore and David Mitchell’s Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet after I discovered them for myself but I would never have come across Tim Park’s A Season With Verona, Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet or Malcolm Gladwell’s What The Dog Saw were they not for recommendations from friends. I can’t think of a single book I’ve read this year that I haven’t ultimately enjoyed. Hopefully, I can keep up a similar record in 2011.
Here are some great sporting memories I have from 2010: Peter Siddle’s hattrick on Game One, Day One of the Ashes, the Kiwis scoring a last minute try in the Four Nations rugby league final to beat the Kangaroos, the Brisbane Roar crushing Adelaide United 4-0 and the Queensland Reds piling on 40 points against the Canterbury Crusaders. Something that made all those moments even more special was watching them happen live at the venue.
I would have comfortably gone to more sporting events in 2010 than I ever have before and I’ve got the giant gut from all the pies and midstrength beer to prove it. There’s nothing sweeter than watching the spectacle of live football. Or cricket. Or rugby. They’ll all produced some great entertainment for me over the years on TV and I’m glad that this year I had a chance to watch so much of it in person. Whoever you are and whereever you are in the world reading this, make a point in 2011 to go and watch some live sport. Whatever you’re passionate about. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The Worst of the Year
Sometimes, you can’t appreciate what you’ve got until its gone. In 2009, Australian federal politics were headlined by Kevin Rudd as the country’s Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Opposition. Naturally, both men had widely differing views on a range of political topics but they were also men who had clear ideological views of where Australia should be headed. Both were willing to go against their own parties official stance if they felt strongly enough about an issue. Unfortunately, it cost them both their jobs.
Now in 2010 we have Julia Gillard as our country’s first female prime minister and ‘the Mad Monk’ Tony Abbott as the leader of the Opposition. Both Gillard and Abbott are depressingly poll driven in their policies, reactionary in their decision making and dishearteningly artifical in their delivery. Gillard stuck so slavishly to soundbytes that she had to campaign during the election as The Real Julia, such was her deserved reputation as someone who spoke constantly in meaningless platitudes. Abbott was no better, going on record on the 7.30 Report as saying he was not to be trusted or held accountable to what he said, only to what he commited to writing. Starved of quality leaders, some pundits applauded his ‘refreshing honesty’.
Unfortunately, it seems we are stuck with these pinheads for some time to come.
What a goddamn terrible year it was for football fans.
Firstly, we get that World Cup in South Africa which featured some of the most grossly incompetent officiating I’ve seen since Earl Hebner’s evil twin brother Dave officiated Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant on Saturday Night’s Main Event. I don’t know what was more infuriating: watching all those erroneous calls during the games or that smug arsehole Sepp Blatter batting away calls for video and goal line technology to be introduced into the game by claiming that it could ruin the purity of the sport. I don’t know what you can say about a World Cup when a fucking octopus came away as the biggest star of the tournament.
If that wasn’t enough, we then get the announcement that Qatar has been chosen to host the World Cup 2022. I don’t even mind so much that Australia didn’t win the bid but seriously…Qatar? When you’re having to literally ‘import’ stadiums into the country, hold the tournament at a different time of year because of the hostile climate and make off-colour jokes about the country’s discriminatory attitude towards gays, its probably a sign that you’ve completely ballsed it up when choosing a country to host The World Game.
Easily the most infuriating aspect of all this year’s problems is that nothing has changed. None of this new technology got introduced, we still have the same policies in place and the same idiots running the show.
In 2010, Jen and I got rained on in five different countries. When we went on holiday for three weeks in July/August, it literally rained every single day of the trip. This included our time in Scotland, England, Brunei and Malaysia. It’s been raining nonstop for the past three months in Brisbane. There are times when it will rain all weekend only for the weather to clear up to sunny blue skies on the Monday. This has happened the last six weekends or so. Never have I seen such horrible weather. Here’s to 2011 being an improvement. I can’t see how it could be any worse.