It's been a great week for New Zealand's technoratti. The Government reconfirmed its promise to grow the technology sector in the budget, Wellington startups were shown off and fought over at Lightning Lab's Demo Day and companies such as Xero and Vend were recognised for their ability to kick arse and take names at the NZ Hi-Tech Awards.
While no one wants the technology sector to turn into its advertising counterpart with its orgy of awards, it's still important to recognise and celebrate success. Events such as the Hi-Tech Awards put technology and its impact on the New Zealand economy (worth some $20 billion a year) front and centre.
The winners being noticed beyond the technology filter bubble takes us a step away from the misconception that this is an industry for basement-dwellers (although there's nothing wrong with people choosing a subterranean life).
Tablet penetration in New Zealand has skyrocketed to the point where almost 1 in 5 of us own one. Two new flagship tablets are poised to hit New Zealand shelves very shortly to help bump up that figure, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z (June 6) and Microsoft's Surface Pro (30 May).
The Xperia Tablet Z is much like its little brother the Xperia Z smartphone (check out our review here) – the Android tablet sleek, light, waterproof and sexy as heck. Starting at $729 for the 16 GB model, it's also very competitively priced.
The Surface Pro's 64 GB model starts at $1349 (the Touch Cover and Type Covers costing around $200 on top of that). It'll be interesting to see if retailers market the Pro as a tablet or a lightweight laptop, because the price will leave many shopping for a tablet scratching their heads (and not their wallets). Marketing it as a tablet does the device a disservice as it can fully run Windows software, unlike the lower end Surface RT.
We'll be reviewing both devices shortly, so keep an eye out.
Flickr's new look
The new look Flickr released this week is gorgeous, with its large beautiful images and masonry style display. Check out my photostream for an example of what it looks like.
For the most of last year I used competing service 500px.com because the photography on the site is displayed in a much more pleasing way, but I've missed Flick'rs much more active photography community and its groups. With this redesign I get the best of both worlds, as well as the thousands of third-party apps and plugins which connect to the photography network.
I sometimes feel my connection to Flickr (and essentially Yahoo which owns it) resembles an abusive relationship, where you're treated so badly for so long any sign of affection has you crawling back. Hopefully that's not the case this time.
And now a 1920's style cover of PSY's 'Gentleman'...