Issue 551

Wednesday, 10th January 2018

In This Issue


CES 2018 - Day 3, part 1

More CES:

  • Robot strippers gyrating on poles to 50 Cent songs with human strippers in the background. Alright then.
  • A selfie drone (yes, selfie drones are a thing, Google it, I think it's cool) that is small enough to live in a (chunky) smartphone case.
  • Matias makes keyboards that look like Apple's wireless ones, but wired, backlit, with black keys (grubby computer users like me, rejoice!) and with numpads - because Apple won't.
  • Google has a new VR180 video/photo spec for showing off your special moments in virtual reality and Lenovo and Yi have cameras coming soon to make VR180 pics.
  • Acer's Swift 7 is a 8.98mm laptop - thinnest one on the market apparently.
  • Whirlpool's newest fridges, ovens, washing machines and dishwashers will have Apple Watch apps. I kinda want them.
  • Alpine's newest CarPlay/Android Auto headunit has a 9" screen that'll fit in any car, even if there isn't space for a 9" screen, as the display "floats" out from the enclosure. Shame about the 640x480 resolution on that screen.
  • Volocopter (who Intel has heavily invested in) plans to fly people around cities in electric helicopter taxis they showed off last night. Dunno when, where, or for how much, but they're working on it.

CES 2018 - Day 3, part 2

There's so much CES stuff, I'm going to put it into a 2nd section:

  • Dell updated the XPS 15 with those new Intel CPUs with AMD graphics and made it a 2-in-1 style thing with a flippy screen. Dunno if this replaces the traditional design or will be sold alongside it.
  • Vivo has a smartphone with a fingerprint reader under the display and it works well. A little slow compared to the latest generation fingerprint sensors, but reliable. Check out the video.
  • Lenovo and Google have made a standalone Daydream VR headset (i.e: no smartphone needed, just strap this thing on your noggin' for VR good times), it will be out mid-year for ~US$400.
  • Huawei announced that Gal Gadot (aka Wonderwoman) is now their Chief Experience Offcer. You wouldn't know it though, as her Twitter account makes no mention of this fantastic new job of hers. (cheers James)
  • Sony has a $30,000 4K short throw projector with a marble top that looks gorgeous and totally something I'd buy if I found a bag containing $10m of unmarked currency on the side of the road.
  • Ford is hooking up with Qualcomm to make the "Transportation Mobility Cloud" a reality and install "vehicle-to-everything" tech in its cars to talk to other things outside the car and turn Ford into an "operating system for the future of mobility". Good luck.
  • A smoke detector with Alexa in it. Yell at your smoke detectors to turn off the lights. Cool.

Kodak gets in to the cryptocurrency game, because why not

Kodak is getting in on the blockchain action, creating the KodakOne platform and KodakCoin cryptocurrency. KodakOne is an "encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform". The KodakCoin allows photographers to "receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale". I want to laugh, but, it sounds useful. Now lets see if Kodak will actually release a product people can use via this, instead of just going ahead with the ICO on Jan 31 and then running away with investor money. Kodak's stock jumped 37% on the news.

Leaked Snapchat usage info - everything that isn't messaging isn't very popular

Snapchat doesn't release much data about how its app is used and likes to keep all metrics on its use private. Weird for a publicly traded company worth billions, but anyways, some internal info on app usage has leaked and it's revealed some interesting stuff on how this incredibly popular platform is used. Basically everything in the app besides messages and stories are very underutilised. Only 21% of users view the Discover part of the app once a day and a megre 11% use the Maps feature. But users do send an average of 34 messages on Snapchat a day, so it's still popular - just nobody really wants the new stuff (or even know it exists, hence why Snapchat is urgently re-designing its app instead of pissing around with camera sunnies)

Vic govt unhappy with fed govt mobile blackspot program, will fund its own program

You may have heard that the federal government has a mobile phone coverage blackspot program. It hands out cash to telcos to fill in gaps in mobile phone networks around Australia, that otherwise, the telcos wouldn't bother with as spending their own money is unprofitable. The Victorian government is sick of the federal government's petty "well Victoria doesn't vote for us, so we won't give them any money" bullshit and is gonna give $11m of its own cash to Optus and Telstra (no Vodafone?) to build new phone towers around the state. I wish they'd do this with the NBN.

Not News, But Still Cool

Apple hit with big tax bill in UK and possible criminal charges in France

Apple is in hot water again over in the UK and France. In the UK, they handed over £136 million in additional taxes after the UK tax department did an audit and found Apple's payments a significantly light. Things look a little more serious in France, where there's a criminal investigation into Apple's decision to make iPhones with crap batteries slower, which depending on how you interpret it, comes under France's anti-planned obsolescence laws. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

WPA3 coming soon, with support for encrypted open networks

Wi-Fi Alliance will publish a draft spec of WPA3 soon, replacing the compromised (remember KRACK) WPA2 protocol. Part of the spec will include "protection against brute-force guessing of passwords through blocking logins after too many failed attempts". My favourite though, is encryption for open networks - so all those free wi-fi hotspots will not be a total security dumpster fire to use. Devices using WPA3 will appear before the end of 2018. Devices supporting WPA3 should start appearing by the end of 2018.

Cheap HomeKit cameras, dashcam, Pi case, microSD cards & battery charger

HomeKit fans might like to know that Officeworks is selling the D-Link DSH-C310 Omna security camera (still the only HomeKit camera I think?) for $174.30. The rest of today's bargains come from Light In The Box. To get the prices I mention, use the codes contained in the Ozbargain links! Xiaomi 70 Mai dashcam for $36.18, best dashcam under $100. An aluminium case for the Raspberry Pi 3 for $9.40. 64GB and 32GB Samsung Evo Plus for $24.21 and $13.45 respectively. High quality Nitecore D4 AA/AAA (and a bunch of LiPo cylinder cells) battery charger for $22.85.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!