Issue 565

Tuesday, 30th January 2018

In This Issue


NBN decides not to add multicast capability to non-FTTP connections

NBN has ditched multicast support from the non-FTTP parts of its network. Multicast, if you're unaware, is a way to send data to everyone on the network, whether they ask for it or not and not use any additional bandwidth. It's basically a way for someone like Foxtel or FetchTV to broadcast their video to everyone with the NBN without requiring gigabits of bandwidth on their servers, just enough to send a single video stream. Unfortunately, nobody really wants to pay for IPTV, so it isn't expanding beyond the FTTP network (where it isn't used). Multicast may be used on the Sky Muster satellites to send educational resources to kids in the bush, but it's still yet to be tested.

NAPLAN won't be graded by a machine learning algorithm

You all know about NAPLAN - the standardised testing kids across Australia do to make sure what we're teaching an entire generation of kids is actually sinking in. Plans for NAPLAN tests to be graded by computer have been shelved because it simply doesn't work. The government wanted to use computer models that will be trained to check grammar and syntax use, but teachers argued it wouldn't be good enough to pick up on creativity in student's writing. The idea is shelved for now, but might come back if the algorithms improve (or the pesky teachers shut up and let the government implement its grammar robot).

Faraday Future sues its former CFO for pinching employees & trade secrets

Faraday Future is cooked. They've just sued former CFO Stefan Kruse, for theft of trade secrets and poaching employees to his new startup, Evelozcity (who also plan to make electric cars one day). Apparently Stefan left FF back in October, but he was formally fired in November for "malfeasance and dereliction of duty". Since then he's been getting employees to join him in leaving the sinking ship that is FF and bring some of FF's trade secrets with them. The more I read about Faraday Future, the less I think they'll actually mass produce cars. What a waste of talent and money.

Another piece of sloppy Lenovo bloatware turns into a security risk

In the latest installment of stupid things computer OEMs do, Lenovo's Fingerprint Manager Pro was so crappy, with such weak encryption, that it "allows someone to bypass the fingerprint scanner and take advantage of a hardcoded password in order to gain access to the system". If you used this software on your Lenovo computer, so you can make use of the fancy fingerprint reader on it, you were left vulnerable if someone has physical access to your computer. There's a patch now, but yeah, OEM software on a computer is almost always crap.

ISA gives government 30 recommendations to boost Australia's STEM output

Innovation and Science Australia is an independent (but still funded by the government) organization that tries to make the government do things that aren't stupid when it comes to STEM stuff in education and industry. It just released a "2030 Strategic Plan" filled with what it thinks the government should be doing so Australia doesn't end up even more of a technological backwater than it already is. Innovation Australia has a neat summary of the 30 recommendations ISA has put forward. Hopefully the government responds to them, unlike the video game report they've totally ignored.

Not News, But Still Cool

If you haven't already noticed, Apple is a CPU design heavyweight now

Bloomberg as a tidy story explaining how over the past decade, Apple has turned into a major CPU and chip designer. The SoCs it places in the iPhone, iPad and others, are as good as, if not better than the best from Samsung, Intel and Qualcomm. In other chip areas, like wireless, Apple appears to be building their own team to bring that in-house as well, removing its reliance on Qualcomm, Intel and Mediatek to do that for them. The big question though, particularly for Intel shareholders, is if (or when, some people seem to think it's a foregone conclusion) Apple will replace Intel's CPUs in the Mac with their own ARM-based CPUs. I hope they do. A MacBook with an A11X SoC would be a killer product if done right.

Australia is missing its chance to be a world leader in lithium battery production

A report from the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has explained the obvious - Australia is pissing away an opportunity to be a world leader in battery manufacturing. The mining lobby knows that all the materials to build lithium batteries can be found in Australia. It also knows that the world will have an insatiable demand for these batteries over the next decade. But as usual, Australia is failing to look beyond simply digging the stuff up and selling it off. There's so much more money to be made not only mining the materials, but making goods out of them too. Maybe we should be focusing on this, an area where we have a huge advantage over other nations, instead of trying to be top 10 in the manufacture of bombs, guns and tanks?

Cascable is a really slick way to control a camera via an iOS device

I haven't used this app, so I can't decisively say it's good, but it looks damn awesome. Cascable is a way to hook your fancy camera up to your iPhone or iPad and get it to do all sorts of remote control stuff. On top of that, you can also chain up events to create "recipes" that allow for a combination of tasks like, taking a photo, waiting a certain period of time, then taking another, but at a higher ISO or different shutter speed. Think of it like Apple's Workflow or if you're old school, Automator app, but for your camera. I should try it out with my wife's Sony A6000.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!