Issue 575

Monday, 12th February 2018

In This Issue


Uber vs Waymo is over - they settled out of court

Just as things were getting spicy in the court room between Uber and Waymo, they've decided to settle the case. This means there won't be any more juicy revelations about the crap these companies get up to. I'm kinda sad about that. "Uber agreed to ensure that none of Waymo’s "confidential information" would end up in hardware or software produced by Uber’s self-driving division, known as the Advanced Technologies Group. Waymo also will receive a sizeable 0.34 percent equity share of Uber, worth over $244 million." So that's the end of that - let's see who actually gets some proper robo-cars on the road now.

Someone hacked the Olympics during the opening ceremony

The winter Olympics in Peyongchang were victim of a "cyberattack" during the opening ceremony on Friday. "The Games' systems, including the internet and television services, were affected by the hack two days ago but organizers said it had not compromised any critical part of their operations." It was probably North Korea. I reckon it's North Korea. They don't seem to get along too well with South Korea. Weird, as they're both Korea, you'd think they'd be mates right? Weird. Could be Russians. Russians love hacking stuff and they're probably salty about being banned from the games. Anyways, the PyeongChang organisers don't know who it is, and even if they did, said they wouldn't say.

Government websites infected with cryptomining scripts

And on the topic on hacking, heaps of government websites have been used as trojan horses for a cryptomining script. Someone took advantage of various exploits on over 5,000 web servers and changed the site to serve up not only the original content, but a bastardised Coinhive script. "NHS services, the Student Loans Company and several English councils", as well as Australian sites like "Queensland government's main site for its legislation has been hijacked, as have websites belonging to the likes of Queensland Urban Utilities, the Victorian parliament, and South Australia's City of Unley". Here's a thought experiment - how much revenue could federal, state and local governments make if they put cryptomining scripts on all their websites? Could be a nice budget booster?

VLC 3.0 is packed with new features like Chromecast streaming

VLC got a major update over the weekend adding some great new features. Version 3.0 of this brilliant app now has support for 10-bit and 12-bit HDR video, 360-degree videos, 3D audio and new video codecs. The best feature of all though, is Chromecast streaming. That's right, load up a vid in VLC on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android or Linux and you can play that video to a Chromecast device hooked up to another display. If it's a file format the Chromecast can't play back natively, VLC will even transcode it! What a brilliant piece of software, and it's free! Good on them for keeping the familiar UI too. It works well, why mess with a good thing?

NBN half-year results: HFC's still rooted

NBN held a conference call this morning to give journalists a chance to ask questions about its latest half-yearly results. First off, the HFC network roll-out is still missing in action. NBN has no date in mind for when it will resume. Very disappointing news for anyone in a HFC area. Lucy Battersby asked NBN to "de-blend" their install cost per premise, so we can get a better idea of what costs to hook up a home via FTTN versus the other technologies around. NBN currently lumps the FTTB and FTTN costs together and refuses to separate them out, citing "competitive" reasons. Jerks.

Not News, But Still Cool

Xiaomi's poll asking users if they like MIUI or Android One has backfired

Xiaomi put up a Twitter poll asking if their followers prefer MIUI (Xiaomi's custom Android ROM) or Android One (a clean, stock Android ROM direct from Google every month). After 15,000 people voted, the majority said they prefer Android One over MIUI! Xiaomi then deleted the poll and is now pretending it never happened. By the way, if you want an Android One phone, Xiaomi's Mi A1 is very, very good. I've been using mine now for a few weeks and it's basically an iPhone 7 Plus with the camera of an iPhone 5S. Smooth UI and regular updates - what more do ya want? (besides an awesome camera). For $250, it's hard to beat on value for money.

Autonomous transport is gonna disrupt everything

Frank Chen has published a 8-part series of videos for Andreessen Horowitz (a giant VC-fund) about how autonomous transport technology (cars, drones, planes, ships, trucks) are gonna disrupt everything. The impacts this technology will have are profound. Here's just one example - retail. Not only does a self-driving car mean the location of shops change, but even the way the goods are produced (harvesting raw materials & manufacturing) and how they're supplied (robotic storage facilities and robo-delivery trucks). When all this stuff is done incredibly cheaply, non-stop, what's that mean for how things are sold to customers? And how do those changes impact other industries? It's alllll connected.

Cheap SSDs, Dell gaming PC, iTunes credit and Amaysim starter packs

eBay's 20% off sale is still going. Use the code PRESENT20 to get some cheap Samsung 850 EVO SSDs - 250GB $113.60, 500GB $190.40, 1TB $356 or a Dell Inspiron 5675 Gaming Desktop with an i7-8700, 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD, 16GB DDR4 and GTX 1070 GPU for $1719.20. Unrelated to the PRESENT20 sale, there's 15% off iTunes gfit cards (code is emailed to you) via PayPal & eBay - no need to put on pants and go to the supermarket! Get some Amaysim starter packs at under half price (great for burner phones) - $40 credit for $14.99 or $30 credit for $11.99.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!