Issue 541

Wednesday, 13th December 2017

In This Issue


iMac Pro goes on sale December 15th

Apple has announced that the iMac Pro will go on sale this Friday in Australia, Thursday in the USA. There's still no price on the Australian Apple website, but I'm going to guess that the base model won't sell for under $7,500. Apple gave demo units to a bunch of video and photo editors and software developers to give their 2c before the official launch. The summary of all their opinions: the iMac Pro is basically the same 27" iMac around now, but black and with faster insides. The T2 chip inside the Mac Pro that Cabel Sasser mentions sounds interesting. I look forward to the iFixit teardown.

French schools to ban smartphones on campus

French schools will ban mobile phones in all schools starting September 2018. The French education minister thinks this will send a "public health message to families" about the dangers of children spending too much time in front of a screen. The teachers union wonders how the hell they're going to enforce it. A kid the Guardian interviewed smartly said, "who will take the phones, where will they put them... how will we get them back?" Weirdly, this was a campaign promise by Emmanuel Macron. It must be a big deal over there compared to here, where I'm sure parents would appreciate it, but I can't imagine Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten saying out loud that they'll remove mobile phones from Aussie schools.

Another ICO shut down by the SEC

The US SEC has shutdown another ICO - Munchee. This ICO was designed to fund the MUN coin, a way to pay people to review resturants it described itself as "Yelp Meets Instagram". Munchee managed to suck $15m out of 40 investors until the SEC stepped in and said that the ICO "constituted the offer and sale of unregistered securities" and that the tokens are "investment contracts" a big no-no. Due to Munchee's co-operation, the only punishment was that the money has to be returned to the investors. Meanwhile, Bitcoin hit another record high. As of 3:11pm, the sell price for a single Bitcoin on Coinjar is $23,964.22 AUD.

Trump signs orders to ban Kaspersky software & registration of all drones

When Donald Trump isn't busy eating two Big Macs and two Fillet-O-Fish a day (Fillet-O-Fish, really? Of all the things at Maccas, he goes the Fillet-O-Fish?), he finds time to sign a few laws staffers put in front of him. Today he signed two laws of interest to tech people - banning the use of Kaspersky software within the US government (because the US government assumes, maybe correctly, dunno, that Kaspersky is a tool of the Kremlin) and re-introducing the mandatory registration of all drones weighing between 250g and 25kg. Yeah, even little drones like a DJI Spark will need to be registered with the FAA now.

Twitter formalises tweetstorms & Instagram lets you follow hashtags

Twitter and Instagram have added new features to their platforms overnight. Instagram now lets you follow hashtags. Kinda. Once you enter a hashtag you wanna follow, Insta will add "top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar". Twitter has formalised tweetstorms and made them easier to construct by allowing you to add a new tweet to an existing tweet. I'm not a fan of twitter threads (get a blog!), but if that's where your friends/audience are, it's natural just to dump ideas there rather than fragment everything.

Not News, But Still Cool

Lightroom's new automagic "make my photo nice" feature uses AI

In the December update to Lightroom, Adobe is adding some artificial intelligence features to make your photos look amazing with a single click. Adobe Sensei "creates a better photo by analyzing your photo and comparing to tens of thousands of professionally edited photos to create a beautiful, pleasing image". Click "Auto Settings" in Lightroom and boom, your bland looking RAW picture is magically made pretty. No more stuffing around with sliders and curves that I have no idea about! Sensei is available for all Lightroom versions and platforms right now.

Extended validation (EV) SSL certificates are crap

Are you familiar with extended validation (EV) SSL certificates? EV certs are the ones where you see the entire company's name in green next to the padlock icon in your browser. They're promoted as a step above your typical SSL cert as not only do they denote an encrypted connection, but also that you're on the legitimate website of a business. Ian Carroll has shown how relatively useless these EV certs are by successfully pretending to be Stripe, a huge credit card payment processor. This is possible due to how web browsers (Safari in particular) display the company name and obscure the real URL, together with the relatively weak validation of the buyer of the cert by the seller of the EV certificate.

Cheap Vodafone plans, Mijia action cam, 65" 4K TVs and free classic games on GOG

Vodafone have a 20GB SIM only plan for $35/m. Cheapest plan around that supports Visual Voicemail, wi-fi calling & Apple Watch eSIM. Get two SIMs on the one plan (i.e: you and your partner) and the 2nd plan is $31/month, plus the data is shared between them. GOG has the remastered version of Grim Fandango for free (Mac, Win & Linux) right now. The global version of the Mijia 4K action cam (review here - one of the best bang for buck action cams) is $108 at Light In The Box. Big W will be selling a 65" 4K TV with Android 6.0 built-in for $799 tomorrow.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!