Issue 568

Friday, 2nd February 2018

In This Issue


Watch out NBN, Optus are building a fixed-wireless 5G network in cities

Optus announced this morning that they're going to launch a 5G fixed-wireless network "by early 2019", with real-world trials starting at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in a few months. Speeds in the lab are at around 2gbit/sec, so you'd imagine a steady 50-100mbit/sec will be easy to achieve. That also means 5G fixed wireless is going to totally obliterate the NBN's low end customers (aka, the profitable ones) - why pay $60/m for NBN when Optus can sell you the same, for $50/m? It'll be interesting to see if the government changes its mind about not considering wireless as a competitor and taxing/regulating it like they are with other fixed line technologies.

Apple has a record quarterly revenue due to iPhone X popularity

Apple presented their Q1 2018 financial results this morning and they made the most revenue in a quarter ever - US$88.3b. Apple say it was because the iPhone X was so damn popular. Between October and December 2017, Apple sold 13.2m iPads, 77.3m iPhones and 5.1m Macs. iPhone sales are actually down a little, but revenue higher because the iPhone X was a very expensive device and Apple sold a higher ratio of the X to the 8 than they predicted. 50% of those iPads and 60% of those Macs are to people buying their first Mac or iPad. There's now 1.3b active iOS devices in the world - 30% more than there was 2 years ago. As much as us nerds consider some of Apple's actions questionable, they keep on making more and more money every 3 months.

Other tech giants making money hand over fist too

In other tech company quarterly financial results, Amazon made a record profit of $2b by selling heaps of Echo devices. Google/Alphabet missed their forecast because they're spending more money than planned to promote YouTube, their hardware and cloud computing gear. That said, they cracked $100b in annual revenue for the first time. Facebook's growth is slowing (poison for social media companies), mainly due to changes to their controversial News Feed. Over at Microsoft, it's basically business as usual with strong increases in revenue all over the joint. The bottom-line however, is that all these companies are filthy stinking rich, with a level of concentrated wealth we haven't seen for generations.

Telstra failed (again) with an internet video ad streaming business

You probably never heard of it, but Telstra purchased Ooyala as part of a VC-fund to try and be something other than the tower, pipe & pit telco we all know it should stick to. They dropped $330m on Ooyala, a way to chuck ads in streaming video, back in 2014 and hasn't seen a cent of return since. It now values the company at $0 - worthless. Telstra still reckons there's a future with some of the tech Ooyala has, but it's certainly not going to be a hockey-stick unicorn like it hoped. Stick to wireless networks Telstra, trust me on this.

Red Dead Redemption 2 suffers another delay, coming in late-Oct 2018

Rockstar's given an update regarding the progress of Red Dead Redemption 2 - it's been delayed until October 26th 2018. They're very upset and want to apologise for upsetting fans who are eagerly awaiting this much anticipated sequel to Grand Theft Auto on horses. There's some new screenshots if you're super desperate for content. Red Dead 2 was supposed to be out in "fall 2017", then was "spring 2018" (March-May in the US). Oh well, plenty of time to decide which 4K console you'll play it on. The Xbox One X or the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Not News, But Still Cool

Everything you wanted to know about RAW smartphone photography but were afraid to ask

Sebastiaan de With (I gave him a lift to the airport once) has an excellent set of blog posts (part 1 & part 2) about the power of RAW image editing. If you've been using a digital SLR or mirrorless camers, it's nothing new, but on the iPhone and other smartphones, RAW files are now a thing. They're the "raw" info from the camera's sensor, before any algorithms tweak the image. By manipulating this raw data yourself, you can often get much nicer photos, even off a smartphone's tiny sensor. Sounds easy, but editing RAW data is a goddamn artform, but Seb's blog posts guide you through the basics.

Bitcoin moms are fascinating on multiple levels

Bitcoin Moms are a thing. Middle aged women with kids to support who are using Bitcoin day trading as a way to get a better life. There's Facebook support groups where everyone shares tips on trading Bitcoin (buy low, sell high?), but have also evolved into wider support groups for life and parenting in general. There's so many levels to this blog post - first there's the normies getting in on crypto. There's women trying to gain a foothold in a heavily dominated male pursuit. There's people desperate for a slice of wealth to support their families. Then there's social media as a way to connect strangers around the world about a thing that wasn't a thing 10 years ago that's turned people into friends. It's gonna break my heart when these people are first against the wall when the crypto reckoning (inevitably?) occurs.

An attempt to sue Twitter for helping ISIS has failed

If you've ever thought about suing Twitter for the crap you see in your timeline, think twice - a US appeals court has said Twitter is more or less not responsible. The family of two military contractors killed in Jordan by ISIS claimed that Twitter was somehow responsible for the death, as Twitter gave the terrorists accounts to spread their garbage. They tried to spin that as "material support" of terrorism, which is illegal. A panel of 3 judges thought that was a bridge too far and shitcanned the case. Sayonara opportunistic lawyers.

That's it, see ya Monday!