Issue 577

Wednesday, 14th February 2018

In This Issue


Google brings AMP to email & search result "stories"

AMP is Google's "Accelerated Mobile Pages" initiative that you may have seen on blogs, that cuts all the crap away and makes them load super fast on a mobile device. Google's now bringing that experience to email. AMP for email is basically a web app within an email. Imagine if someone embedded Twitter, to run within an email. That's what Google is doing here. Oh and of course, it only works in Gmail. So companies will be making these fancy emails, that only work in Gmail, further locking in Gmail's market dominance. Google is also trying to revamp your search experience by adding Instagram/Snapchat style stories to results. They call it AMP Stories.

Salon asks you to mine cryptocurrency instead of using an adblocker

In the latest instalment of websites desperately trying to monetise their content (I feel their pain), Salon has decided to either make you disable your adblocker, or, allow a script on their website to mine cryptocurrency using your computer. These website crypto mining scripts have been around for a few months now, but they've been limited to sites much smaller than Salon with a more niche/techie audience. Salon is still a pretty popular website in the US at least, so it's interesting to see a mainstream site do this. I'm not as aghast about it as some people are, I think it's a reasonably sane alternative if you're aware of the downsides, like absolutely destroying your device's battery life.

New info about Magic Leap & partnership with NBA

Magic Leap are supposed to have some phenomenal augmented reality tech that's taken years and billions of dollars to incubate, but there's still no product we can go and buy. Today the CEO of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, revealed a bit more info about his company. First of all, it's not augmented reality, nor mixed reality - it's "spatial computing", ok? Get it right, dingus. The headset will come in multiple sizes, even one that will fit Shaq, who can be seen wearing one in this video to promote the partnership between Magic Leap and the NBA. The headset's price will be "in the vicinity of a high-end PC" and is still coming out some time in 2018. There's a few partner companies testing Magic Leap's hardware, but they've all signed NDAs.

All 11 of the councils wanting an NBN area switch didn't progress past the first quote

NBN has a process where they'll switch an area's planned technology to something else, if the local council pays for it. They call it an "area switch" and 11 councils have asked for NBN to give them a price for it. Two councils want to have their localities serviced by fixed wireless instead of satellite and the rest want to go from FTTN to FTTP. Unfortunately, once they've all seen the rough cost from NBN about doing that, they've not bothered to proceed due to the exorbitant pricing. It'd be nice to see the documents NBN gave the councils so the public could see for themselves if NBN is being shifty with their estimates to discourage the councils from upgrading.

IKEA's fancy smarthome gear is delayed in AU until late 2018

I've got some bad news for you smarthome addicts. IKEA's TRÅDFRI lights won't be on sale in Australia until "late 2018" (insert loud booing in the direction of Älmhult here) These lights are some of the cheapest around that'll integrate relatively easily with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Plus because they're from IKEA, you know they'll be decent quality, well priced and easy to return if they actually end up being crap. Of course, TRÅDFRI has been out overseas now for over a year, so it sucks we have to wait so long for something that's been available elsewhere in the world for a while - as goddamn usual.

Not News, But Still Cool

Only 4.8% of JB Hi-Fi's sales happen online

JB Hi-Fi is one of the biggest electronics retailers in Australia, even more so since they purchased The Good Guys to form a mega-buying group. They announced an interesting stat about their 2017 sales year that gives a little insight into what it's like to sell consumer electronics in Australia. There's not a lot of meat in the post, but I thought it was fascinating that online sales make up 4.8% of their overall sales in 2017 - a drop in the ocean, despite increasing 40% compared to 2016. No wonder buying stuff online is so shitty here, it's such a small part of their business, they don't care. But maybe if it didn't suck, it'd be a bigger share of their sales? But even then, do they actually want people to go online instead of visiting their stores?

A walk down memory lane featuring IRC & Slack

Slack is glorified IRC, we all know that, but how did it end up so popular when we've had IRC for decades and it works perfectly fine? Some people see it as simply improving a product by making it more user-friendly and modern. Others think Slack is an abomination, sucking gigabytes of RAM just to type text to each other. This article is a great trip down memory lane, going over the history of IRC's beginnings and also raises an interesting point - how come email & the WWW stick around all this time, but things like IRC, usenet, Gopher/Archie, FTP, etc. have all fallen by the wayside in terms of mainstream adoption?

Cheap Synology NAS, Xbox One S and Nokia 8 smartphone

Fancy a cheap Synology DS918+ NAS (bloody brilliant unit) and a 4TB Seagate HDD? Sign up for a Synology Workshop for $550 and you'll be given the NAS and HDD from Synology's local distributor, Multimedia Technology. I don't know if you need to actually show up to get the NAS and HDD though. There's events in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane & Sydney, if you actually do have to show up to get the NAS. If a cheap 1TB Xbox One S is more your style, Amazon AU has the special Minecraft edition for $219! JB and Harvey Norman have the Nokia 8 for $599 - great price for a top end phone. I'd get it if I wanted a better camera than the Xiaomi Mi A1, but didn't want to drop $1000 for a Pixel 2 and don't like Samsung's lack of software updates for the S8.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!