Issue 553

Friday, 12th January 2018

In This Issue


Zuck wants to make Facebook a conduit for "meaningful social interactions"

Mark Zuckerberg has published what I reckon is a mea culpa when it comes to realising how Facebook is damaging society and mental health. Zuck wrote that Facebook needs to change and their goal is no longer to help "find relevant content", but to help "have more meaningful social interactions". The first practical application of this is more posts from your friends in the News Feed, instead of public posts and news stories. Surprisingly, Zuck is doing this despite an admission that "the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down". Whether it's the result of deep reflection and genuine guilt, or just fear that the EU/US governments will regulate Facebook sooner or later, I'm glad it's finally dawned on Zuck that his creation is not so benign.

Dropbox starts its long awaited IPO

Dropbox has begun the processing listing on a US stock exchange (dunno if it's the NYSE or NASDAQ). It's taking advantage of new laws allowing them to do it in secret, so they don't need to make all their financial and product info public, presumably so competitors don't get an advantage. Right now Dropbox is valued at around US$10b, so this would be one of the biggest IPOs in a while. I used to think Dropbox was nothing more than a feature everyone else will copy (which they did - OneDrive, iCloud Files, Google Drive), but despite that happening, they still keep trucking on and apparently, making money out of it.

Ecuador still trying to get Assange out of their London embassy

After all these years hiding out in their London embassy, Ecuador want Julian Assange out. Their plan was to give Julian citizenship, make him a diplomat (that would grant him immunity from prosecution) and then he can fly to Ecudaor to rebuild his severely depleted levels of vitamin D. Unfortunately, the UK isn't buying that scam and still wants him to face the music for skipping bail. Because of this, Julian is still afraid to step outside as he's paranoid that as soon as he does, the constabulary will handcuff him, ship him off to the USA and ultimately face the electric chair. So for now, he's still the world's #2 shitposter (Trump is #1, with a huge lead).

Telstra announces that nationwide network LTE Cat M1 for IoT devices is now live

Telstra announced at CES (there was nothing else interesting out of CES today), that they've added LTE Cat M1 capability to their mobile network. This type of network access is designed for low bandwidth IoT devices. With this capability now across most of Australia (every capital city and large regional centres), Telstra is hoping that businesses will spend big to install sensors all over the place and instead of building wi-fi networks to support them, will hooking the hundreds and thousands of sensors to Telstra's network instead, for what I assume is a low price per device. Hopefully more devices with support for LTE Cat M1 start to come out now that there's a network supporting it.

Nintendo has some new stuff for ya in its latest Direct Mini update

Nintendo fans got a nice surprise, with a "Nintendo Direct Mini" event that showed off a few things Nintendo has planned for the near future. The popular Dark Souls RPG will come to the Switch (and PC, Xbox, PS4). A "remix" of the Nintendo DS game, The World Ends With You, will come to the Switch too. Loads of Wii U games will be ported across to the Switch, so all those people who never got a Wii U, but did get a Switch can enjoy some of the nicer Wii U titles. Super Mario Odyssey will get some DLC later this year. The star of the 15 minute show was Mario Tennis - which is, you guessed it, Mario characters playing tennis.

Not News, But Still Cool

Troy Hunt shows how abysmal the security is on India's massive national biometric ID system

India has given all 1.19b residents a 12-digit unique ID called Aadhaar, making it the world's largest biometric ID system. Aadhaar contains the juiciest info you could ever want on a person (photograph, iris-scan, fingerprints & demographics) and it is used for all sorts of stuff like monitoring attendance to work, connecting to utilities, getting a SIM card, voting and loads more. The reason I bring this up beyond its dystopian rationalisation of an individual down to a 12-digit number, is the fact it's a hunk of shit that's woefully insecure and leaky as hell. Troy Hunt has ripped Aadhaar a new one, highlighting some of the abysmal security practices on the Aadhaar portal that even a noob like me wouldn't do.

50 years since the Mother Of All Demos took place

I was reminded today about the "Mother of all Demos" (thanks Mr. Kottke). On the 9th of December, 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a presentation in San Francisco that was the first time someone coherently demonstrated a graphical user interface, a mouse, a word processor, hypertext links and teleconferencing. Think about how revolutionary that would have been 50 years ago, when computers were predominately just giant calculators. The Douglas Engelbart Institute has loads more info on this amazing event in history.

Cheap iTunes, Google Play credit, 64GB microSD and 14.5% off Macs at Myer

Myer has 20% off iTunes gift cards. It's been a while since iTunes credit has been that cheap. Get Officeworks to match the price to get a huge 24% off. Google Play credit is 20% off at PC Game Supply - but the site looks dodgy, so buyer beware (Ozbargain people seem to have no issues beyond the site's crappy look). Harvey Norman have 64GB Samsung EVO Plus microSD cards for $36. If you're in the market for a new Mac, Myer's eBay store has 14.5% off if you use the code PICK5 (the Macs are 10% off already, this takes a further 5% off). $1,623.65 for the entry level 13" MBP, for example.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!