Issue 506

Tuesday, 24th October 2017

In This Issue


Snapchat's cooked

Snapchat's latest earnings report show that things are not going smoothly post-IPO. Stock was down around 16% as user growth has flat-lined, which for a business like Snap, is basically the same as losing users. Snap's CEO said that they're going to totally overhaul the app as they think the reason for such slow growth is that Snapchat is too hard to use. The biggest disappointment of all would be the $40m they wasted on video-recording sunnies, that Snap has now realised nobody wants. All this bad news has is good for Tencent though, who have taken advantage of the share price fall and now owns 12% of Snap.

Maker's CEO inflicts some blatant slutshaming upon Naomi Wu

Naomi Wu (aka SexyCyborg) likes to do cool stuff with electronics and is a popular person in the maker scene. Her videos are informative, fun to watch and the projects she works on inspire heaps of people to take up electronics as a hobby. Oh, and she has a fake tits and likes to wear skimpy clothes. That last fact made her the target of weird comments from the CEO of Maker (super influential publication/expo) who doesn't think she is real and is actually a stage managed persona who has other people do the work for her. Essentially branding her as a glorified promo model, not the engineer she is. Bunnie Hoang has some insightful words on the issue that are worth a read.

Logitech shutting down a perfectly good piece of hardware due to an old SSL cert

Logitech's upset previously content customers with plans to shut down its Harmony Link remote control system. Harmony Link is an IR blaster with wi-fi in it, so you can control your TV and amp and stuff via your smartphone. It's been working fine since 2011, but a certificate used in the software is set to expire soon. Instead of renewing it and issuing an update, Logitech is just shutting the whole thing down and giving customers a discount on a Harmony Hub - basically the same thing as the Harmony Link, just "new" and still supported. Pretty lame from Logitech I reckon.

FBI can't get into the Texas church shooter's iPhone, but didn't really try

Once again we have a situation where something bad has happened, the FBI wants to see what's on the perps smartphone for some insight as to why, but can't because it's encrypted and the perp is dead. The FBI sound annoyed about it, but apparently all the FBI would need to do is get the dead guy's finger, place it on the Touch ID sensor and boom, they're in. According to Reuters, it seems like the FBI missed the 48-hour window where that's possible (after 48hrs you need to enter the passcode) and still hasn't asked Apple for any iCloud info - kinda making any claims that all this encryption is making the FBI's job hard a bit hollow.

Another Bitcoin fork has been cancelled

SegWit2x, a third proposed fork of Bitcoin this year, has been postponed indefinitely due to "insufficient consensus for a clean block size upgrade at this time". The whole point of SegWit2x is to create a version of Bitcoin with a larger block size as a larger block size would solve the issue of slow transactions (it can take days for a Bitcoin transaction to go through) making it more useful for person to person and person to shop payments. Despite the backing of some of the big players in the scene like Bitmain, the SegWit2x group didn't think they had enough concensus around the change, so decided to wait until more people back their idea. Meanwhile, the price of one Bitcoin was more than A$10,000 at around 5AM today (it's hovering around $9500 right now).

Not News, But Still Cool

Foxtel launches its IPTV box

Foxtel has finally released that internet only set top box they've been talking about and it kinda sucks. The Foxtel Now Box is an Android TV based device, but you can't install your own apps. There's the Foxtel Now app of course, as well as a single HD free-to-air tuner and catch up apps from the ABC, Seven and Ten - but not SBS, or Nine. There's Stan and Google Play, but no Netflix. It's like Foxtel went and put a full 100% into making an 80% complete device. If you're a masochist, it goes on sale tomorrow for $99.

HBO & Steven Soderbergh have an iOS app

HBO has an Apple TV and iOS app that's best described as a choose your own adventure TV show. Mosaic, a murder-mystery co-created by Steven Soderbergh and Ed Solomon allows viewers to "choose from various viewing orders, character decisions, and branching information options over the course of a 7.5-hour mini series". The platform that makes Mosaic exist isn't unique for this story and Soderbergh hopes others use the same tech as in Mosaic to create their own stories. Disappointingly, HBO, in its infinite wisdom, hasn't made Mosaic available on the Australian App Store.

EV charger that can be set to work only when the sun's out for free charging

Fully Charged has a video demonstrating an electric car charger that can be set to operate only when the sun is shining. Or more accurately, only charge when your solar panels would otherwise be exporting to the grid. The Zappi charger can also just charge your EV immediately, using grid power, or can be set to charge only during off-peak times (when power is cheap). Incredibly versatile! My stupid petrol car is currently sitting in the garage, unable to use the 24 solar panels on the roof of my house that are currently generating a healthy ~4kw of energy at 4:20pm.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!