The holidays are a time for giving, we all know, and 2014 continues the trend of the past few years - one of the most popular gifts this year will be a new tablet, smartphone or laptop...
That's how Vive was described to me by a friend last week and immediately it caught my interest; because I like the concept of Chatroulette, to video chat with a random selection of people, but I'm not particularly keen on hairy men's willies.
It is an uncomfortable but perhaps unavoidable fact that modern slaves do not have much of a voice... modern slavery no longer always involves whips, chains, sweat and black skin. But we lack an accurate image through which we can portray the lives of around 21 million modern slaves.
Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw recently stated on Radio 4 that "More than two-thirds of our poorest children - and in some of our poorest communities that goes up to eight children out of 10 - go to school unprepared,".
When Apple released its first iPad in 2010 it had a pretty obvious advantage over its competition - there simply wasn't any. Sure, Microsoft and friends brought out the first Tablet PC way back in 2002, but nobody wanted one. It was clunky, ran Windows and had a stylus.
It is the last taboo. Talking about it is not something a nice girl does in mixed company, it is indelicate, unfeminine. Many women have been raised to believe that men are "naturally good" at money matters and women are "naturally bad" at money matters. It's not said directly, little girls pick up this idea by osmosis. Outside the home, for a man to say he wants more money or ask for a raise is acceptable; it goes with the hairy chest and the company car. But women can't say that, they won't even admit it to themselves and they don't want to think about why.
"You can't cancel!" shrills the voice on the phone. "It's in the diary. That's final!" Though I'm hardly a model of reliability, it is my friend who flakes on our arrangements most, and I'm offended by the implication of her words. What does she mean 'I can't cancel'? Why does she care suddenly?
Great teachers can make such a difference to a youngster's education. They know their pupils intimately; they inspire and encourage them to learn and to enjoy learning. But even the best teachers hit limitations; there just aren't enough hours in the day to know everything about every pupil they teach. But technology is starting to change that. In the coming years, a lot of the legwork, and the burdensome aspects of teaching will be assisted by technology.
I lead a very 20th century life in the morning, well before work begins and the rest of the family ruin my peaceful breakfast. I read my papery newspapers, write notes with a pen and occasionally sketch - badly - the comings and goings in the back garden.
Of course I could just go and seek out a pirate version of the book. I'm sure that someone has already ripped the Kindle version of the book and made it freely available on a pirate website, but I'm a writer myself. I know that people who put months of effort into books deserve to get something for their efforts.
Even the best teachers hit limitations; there just aren't enough hours in the day to know everything about every pupil they teach. But technology is starting to change that. In the coming years, a lot of the legwork, and the burdensome aspects of teaching will be assisted by technology.
There's been a lot of talk lately about two things that are going on in primary schools at the moment. Synthetic Phonics, which is the government prescribed method of teaching kids to read and write, and iPads, which are starting to play an important role in schools and learning.
With the news buzzing about WhatsApp's sale to Facebook, my thoughts turned to tech accessories. As a devoted Apple fan, I make no apologies for the extreme bias towards items that fit their products in my selection below although most pouches can also be used for other tablets, as well as in place of a regular clutch bag to pop your phone and other bits into.
Picture the scene - you are completing an application form for life insurance and a page comes up giving you the option to upload data from your always-on fitness monitor, outlining your exercise, work and sleep patterns for the past 6 months, with the incentive that reduced premiums may be available for those who do.
So where is this sense when it comes to directions? It turns out that this sense, or lack thereof, seems to be latent in grid cells in my brain. Last summer, neuroscientist Joshua Jacobs, of Drexel University, along with his colleagues, tested fourteen people who had electrodes implanted in their brain for epilepsy therapy, and learned that humans have similar 'direction cells' as animals.
We put a lot of effort into our festive celebrations. Food, drink, family, friends and presents all come together (hopefully) to make the big day a special occasion. But one thing I often leave until the last minute is planning how to get there.