Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report is always interesting. She is a partner at KPCB, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, and this year marked her 20th report. Consisting of 197 slides, it’s good to read the various summaries around….here’s a summary of their summaries J


* 2.8 billion internet users globally (up 8% in 2014) with 39% of the world connected. Philanthropic organisations such as Facebook’s and Google’s Project Loon will help connect the remaining 5 billion on planet Earth.

* 2.1 billion smartphone users (up 23%) with India, Brazil and China leading growth.

* Internet and smartphone use is still growing, but more slowly than in the past. India now leads internet/smartphone growth.

* The top internet companies are platforms where third party developers and merchants bolster value: 1. Apple 2. Google 3. Alibaba (China) 4. Facebook 5. Amazon

* Top global apps in usage and sessions are messaging apps. Most used apps: Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Line (Japan), Viber. New internet users will most likely use a messaging app when they use the internet for the first time.

* Asia’s messaging apps eg. WeChat (China) and Line (Japan) pioneered many features eg. video calls, payments, media. Messaging has become a platform not just for communications, but for commerce and computing.

* Vertical portrait video viewing is growing fast. Question: Are most selfies vertical?

* User generated content creation is exploding…even more! Pinterest creations are up 75%; video game broadcasts are up 83%; stories written on Wattpad are up 140%; Airbnb reviews are up 140%

* US youth aged 12-24 used less Facebook and Twitter and more Snapchat and Instagram – a shift from text to visual social media.

* 87% of teens say their smartphone never leaves their side.

* Consumer drones are increasingly popular globally – not just for hobbyists and videographers, but for commercial ventures, disaster response and infrastructure inspection.

ICT news

Pyne pushes for maths or science to be compulsory for Year 11 & 12

Education Minister Pyne will call for changes at an Education Council meeting on Friday. The government estimates that up to 75% of the areas with fastest-growing jobs will require STEM skills. There is a shortage of STEM teachers, particularly in rural areas. Meanwhile Labor plans to offer free access to certain degrees and the introduction of computer coding in primary and secondary schools. The Review of the Australian Curriculum in Aug 2014 recommended that coding not be compulsory in primary years, despite other countries introducing it, such as Britain, Vietnam, Israel, South Korea and Finland. The Aust. Curriculum: Digital Technologies awaits final endorsement.


One million Micro Bit mini-computers for UK schools

In March the BBC announced it would give away 1 million Micro Bit mini-computers to all Year 7 students, as part of the Make it Digital initiative, aimed at improving the UK’s digital skills. The tiny programmable computer (like a Raspberry Pi) is used in computer coding, which is taught from the age of 5 in UK schools. Thirty years ago, PM Thatcher put BBC Micro Computers into schools and many students learned to code using them. The Micro Bit is a small wearable device with an LED display. It can connect and communicate with other Micro Bits and other devices including Arduino and Raspberry Pi. BBC Learning lessons and other online content from partners will support teachers and students.


4D printing

The 4th dimension is time. 3D printed objects are designed to reshape themselves or self-assemble over time eg. medical devices or a printed pipe can sense the need to expand or contract; furniture and jewellery can change shape over time. Recently scientists developed a 3D implant to help 3 babies with their breathing. It changed shape over time as they grew and eventually dissolved when their airways grew.


3D body scanners at Westfield

The mPort Body Scanner tracks more than 200 000 points across the body in 7 seconds. The measurements create a 3D avatar of the user’s body which can be synched with online retailers to help find the correct size clothes.


Would you rather have an implant?

A survey by Visa found 25% of Australians were “slightly interested” in having a commerce-oriented chip implanted in their skin, so they no longer had to use cash, credit cards, smartphones or smartwatches. They would just wave their hand over the payment terminal. 32% would be interested in paying with a smartwatch; 29% with a smart ring; 26% with smart glasses. Some people already have chips implanted and have had them for more than 10 years.


Google developing new Operating System for Internet of Things (IoT)

26 billion devices are predicted to be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020 (900 million in 2009). IoT devices connect to the internet and allow users to receive data related to them on their smartphones or computers. Devices can also communicate to each other. Google hopes that device manufacturers will use their operating system – to be called Brillo, a version of Android designed for low power devices. A single operating system could be very useful – whilst you away on holidays, your rain gauge, running Brillo, could communicate with your watering system, also running Brillo. There are already other IoT operating systems around, so Google will be another competitor. And they will be very happy if they can find another way into your home to market to you. J

More good films and TV

Upcoming good films and TV….fantasy, crime, sci-fi, war stories, fiction to film….



The film of Tim Winton’s powerful novel is to be directed by Simon Baker (The mentalist), who will also produce and star in it. Set in a small Western Australian town in the 1970s, two teenage surfers become friends with an older surfer (Baker) and his wife. Their addiction to extreme surfing parallels their relationship with the older couple, leading to devastating consequences that impact on their lives forever. The novel is controversial and some schools would not choose to use it, but we use it with our senior classes. I think it is one of Winton’s best. His novels The riders and Shallows are also being developed as films.



Commissioned by the ABC’s Indigenous unit – an innovative 6 part futuristic action drama set in the near future. A group of non-humans battle for survival in a world where humans feel increasingly inferior to them, wanting to exploit them as well as silence them. Two estranged indigenous brothers are forced together to fight for their own survival in this landscape, with Dreamtime creatures living in this world as refugees. Many of the stories in Cleverman are drawn from Aboriginal story-telling, for which series creator Ryan Griffen obtained permission from Aboriginal elders.  “The arc of the stories is fiction but the heart and genesis of the stories come from Aboriginal  story-telling. There is a definite truth to the stories.” (Rosemary Blight, producer).

Stars Iain Glen, Deborah Mailman, Rob Collins, Frances O’Connor. Directed by top indigenous directors Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and Leah Purcell. Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings) and Jacob Nash (Bangarra Dance Company) will provide the creature designs. Sounds excellent – screens in 2016.


The Kettering Incident

8 part mystery series set in Tasmania. Influenced by scandi-noir dramas, with otherworldly overtones. Stars Elizabeth Debicki and Matt Le Nevez. A doctor returns to her hometown and finds herself inexplicably linked to the cases of 2 girls who disappeared in the wild 15 years apart. To clear her name, she must delve into her troubled past and the power of the mysterious land. Screens late 2015 on Foxtel.


Tomorrow when the war began

6 part series based on John Marsden’s best-selling young adult war series…at last! The 2010 film was popular, but only covered the first book, so this series will be more satisfying for fans of the series. Filming starts soon.



4 part series based on the novel by Christos Tsiolkas. A young man deals with his obsession and the pressures of elite swimming as he aims for the Olympics. Filming starts soon.

Book review:


Nowhere boys: the rise of the bear

Telemovie of the popular young adult series created by Tony Ayres about 4 teenagers who get lost on a school excursion and return home – only to find they never existed. In the telemovie, an evil power invades and they discover that in order to save the multiverse, they must be ready to sacrifice their lives. Filming starts soon.

Good films

The secret river

How good do the previews look for this 2 part historical drama coming soon to the ABC? Adapted from the excellent book by Kate Grenville (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize); directed by Daina Reid (Paper giants; Never tear us apart); stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Sarah Snook (who was amazing in the awesome sci-fi film Predestination) and Tim Minchin (always excellent). Convict  William Thornhill and his free wife Sal are transported to NSW in 1805, where conflict arises between the new settlers and local indigenous people and Thornhill is drawn into an horrific event that will change him forever. “The Secret River  is an epic tragedy in which a good man is compelled by desperation, fear, ambition and love for his family to participate in a crime of inhuman savagery. It allows an audience, two hundred years later, to have a personal insight into the dark heart of our nation’s foundation story” (Richard Finlayson, ABC).


Ex machina

Sci-fi thriller in cinemas now. Directed by author and screenwriter Alex Garland (The beach); stars Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander. A young programmer wins a competition to spend a week at a private retreat owned by the mysterious CEO of his company. He must then participate in an experiment interacting with and evaluating the human qualities of a beautiful female robot, to prove that AI (artificial intelligence) has been born. “Stylish, elegant, tense, cerebral, satirical and creepy” (Dan Jolin, Empire). Rated MA15+.



Me and Earl and the dying girl

Comedy-drama based on the 2012 debut novel by Jesse Andrews. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon; stars Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Awkward high school student Greg befriends Rachel, a classmate with leukemia. He and his friend Earl make films in their spare time and decide to make a film for her. “Anyone who buys a ticket goes in fully expecting to cry….the surprise then is the laughter: the near-constant stream of wise, insightful jokes that make it so easy to cozy up to characters dealing with a tough emotional situation” (Peter Debruge, Variety). Opens June in the US.



Sci-fi mystery adventure. Directed by Brad Bird; stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Tim McGraw. An intelligent curious girl and a jaded inventor embark on a mission to unearth Tomorrowland, a place that exists in their collective memory. What they must do there changes them and the world forever. Plot details are sketchy, just the way Disney planned it, and no reviews are yet available. Intriguing…Rated PG. Opens 28 May.


Absolutely anything

Sci-fi comedy. Directed and co-written by Terry Jones; stars Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale and the voices of all living Monty Python members – Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle and also Robin Williams as the voice of Dennis the dog (sadly his last role). A disillusioned schoolteacher suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wants – an ability given to him by a group of power-crazed aliens (the Pythons) who watch him from space. Opens 22 October.


Looking forward to seeing Matilda in Sydney, the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, based on the book by Roald Dahl with songs by the awesome Tim Minchin. “Gleefully nasty, an evening of unadulterated bliss” (The Guardian). “Easily the standout musical of the decade” (Sunday Times). “Hilarious, moving, glorious” (Daily Telegraph). And Les Miserables was superb.


And then there’s Mad Max: Fury Road and The Avengers: Age of Ultron….too hard!