Issue 550

Tuesday, 9th January 2018

In This Issue


CES 2018 - Day 2

More stuff you probably don't need announced at CES:

China cracking down on Bitcoin mining

Chinese authorities want to stop large scale Bitcoin mining on Chinese soil. From what I can tell, they're getting sick of all the electricity crypto mining hogs, but it also ties in to the Chinese government's general disdain for cryptocurrency. They already shut down a bunch of exchanges and have banned ICOs. One Bitcoin mining enterprise mentioned in that article is moving from China to Canada, which also has cheap electricity (mainly Quebec hydro) and the bonus of a stable democracy.

Investors want Apple to improve parental controls so kids are shielded from addictive devices

It's not just bleeding heart psychologists and teachers saying using a smartphone is wrecking kid's brains, but large institutional investors in Apple think so too. In an open letter to Apple, JANA Partners and the California State Teachers Retirement System (think of it like an industry superannuation fund) have said they they want more and advanced parental controls on iOS devices to reduce Apple's devices causing classroom distraction (so they don't learn as well), sleep deprivation (gotta stay up all night Snapchatting with my mates) and social media induced mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Apple responded saying they hear the issues and will do more - but no specifics.

GoPro sacked 250 staff, CEO takes a massive paycut, stops making drones and is up for sale

Looks like GoPro is up shit creek without a paddle, announcing that they're ceasing production of their Karma drones and cutting 250 jobs whilst CEO Nick Woodman is reducing his own cash compensation to $1 for 2018. It's no surprise then, that there's extremely strong rumours floating around that GoPro wants someone to buy it. I wonder who would even want the sorta tech GoPro is peddling these days? All it has going for it is a brand and ecosystem. Hardware wise, there's superior competitors in every field. Maybe someone will buy them and turn the company around? Good luck.

James Damore launches class action against Google for sacking him & other "conservatives"

James Damore has crawled out from under his rock and found a lawyer willing to tolerate his presence for more than 5 minutes, so as to indulge him in a class action lawsuit against Google. Who is the "class" in this class action? Other white, "conservative" men, who feel as though they've been "ostracised, belittled, and punished" by Google due to "a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink". Google said that they "look forward to defending against Mr Damore's lawsuit in court". Ugh, it's gonna be a shitshow.

Not News, But Still Cool

Ed Snowden made an app so you can spy on other people with an old Android phone

Old mate Ed Snowden, via the Freedom of the Press Foundation (he's the president), has made Haven, an app that turns old/cheap Android smartphones into private security cameras. Install it on an Android phone and it'll use the phone's microphones and cameras to record footage to the local storage and send you a message via Signal to get notifications of intrusion events. There's apps that kinda do this already, but Haven is more privacy focussed and open-source.

Do you think modern computers are slow? You aren't alone

Dan Luu had a feeling that computers now are slow. Sure they've got faster CPUs and more memory, but they just feel slow compared to the machines of our youth. He went and tested the time between a keypress and the display of a character in a terminal and found that the Apple IIe (circa 1983) had only 30ms latency, but a modern 2014 MacBook Pro takes 100ms to register that keypress. It gets worse on pretty "fast" Lenovo Carbon X1 running Windows, which takes 150ms to do something when you press a key. There's not much you can do about it, but it's interesting nonetheless

Cheap iTunes, Civ6, Logitech X50 BT speaker, 75" 4K TV, Qi charging stand & Google Home Mini

A few minor bargains for ya today: 15% off iTunes at Coles starting tomorrow (and a $29 Telstra 4GX mi-fi if ya need one). Civ 6 for only USD$12 if you get the Humble Monthly bundle. Even incldues the Australia & Vikings expansion packs. If you want a little Bluetooth speaker to listen to podcasts on whilst your out and about, Good Guys has the Logitech X50 for $19. After a cheap Qi charging stand (as opposed to a lay-flat charger), here's one for $12 from Light In The Box that supports 10W charging. Aldi will be selling a 75" 4K TV for only $1699 on Saturday. I really want one. Officeworks are selling 2x Google Home Minis for $74. Apple has begun the $39 battery replacements for the iPhone now.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!