Issue 584

Friday, 23rd February 2018

In This Issue


Two of SpaceX's fancy internet satellites are now orbiting Earth

SpaceX launched its first two prototype broadband satellites this morning. Tintin A and Tintin B are part of Starlink, SpaceX's attempt to bring sub-30ms, potentially gigabit speed internet access to the entire globe. The massive decrease in latency is due to the low earth orbit the satellites will be placed in. This means they can only cover a small area compared to satellites higher up, but due to SpaceX's ability to launch satellites so cheap and for the satellites themselves to be manufactured at a relatively low price, it means SpaceX can launch over 4,000 of them over 5-years, which would be enough to cover every inch of God's green Earth with sweet, sweet internet access.

South Australia might introduce some incentives for EV buyers

A state government finally blinked and has promised to get some electric car incentives going. Probably not a surprise that the state is South Australia, who are pulling out some great policies in the hope they'll win the upcoming election. The incentive on offer is simple - no rego for five years & no stamp duty for zero emissions cars (i.e: no hybrids allowed). For a $40k EV (lol), that's a saving of $2155. Sure, it's not enough for price parity with an ICE, but it's better than nothing. I hope the Victorian ALP copies this (and many other) policy for its upcoming election campaign.

Kylie Jenner slammed Snapchat on Twitter & stock plummets

Snapchat has been brutalised on the stock market due to a single tweet from Kylie Jenner (the half-sister of Kim Kardashian), commenting on Snapchat's new design. She reckons she doesn't open the app any more and a flood of people said that they too don't use Snapchat as often as they used to. Her comments wiped US$1.3b off the total value of Snapchat. If an attention seeker like Kylie Jenner can't even be arsed opening Snapchat, well... show's over people, sell your stock and invest in turnip farming. Meanwhile, Evan Spiegel got US$638m worth of Snap stock last year, making it the 3rd largest CEO compo package ever.

Dutton wants tech companies to give him access to encrypted comms somehow

Australian home affairs minister, Peter Dutton (ugh), is joining the chorus of government cronies around the world that want tech companies to unlock encrypted communications. At a talk given yesterday, Dutton argued that "90 per cent of counter-terrorism targets are using it for communications, including for attack planning here" - it being encryption, and here, being Australia, to ramp up the fear angle. He then goes to say that he doesn't want a "backdoor" or special encryption key, but does want a way to make accessing encrypted info as easy as conventional methods like phone taps. If the tech companies don't give him what he wants, he'll force them to somehow do it via legislation. Same old threats really.

Victorian roads are no longer safe from the robocar menace

Robocars are now allowed on Victorian roads, thanks to the Victorian Parliament passing laws to allow such mechanical beasts on the same piece of bitumen as me. For now, there still needs to be a human in the driver's seat, but if you can prove to VicRoads that your contraption can safely drive itself, then they might let you hoon it around without the human inside. There's also $9m of grants available from the state government if you can stick a few LIDAR sensors on a car and make it move on its own. For what it's worth, SA was first with robocar testing laws, so Victoria is just catching up really (I'm in love with South Australia lately, if it isn't obvious).

Not News, But Still Cool

Local police getting constant fake SOS calls from Apple's repair facility in California

Apple's repair/refurb techs at its facility in Elk Grove California are accidentally calling emergency services when trying to repair iPhones or Apple Watches, due to the Emergency SOS feature. According to the police dispatcher for that area, they get these calls 20 times a day. The call comes in and there's just silence, broken up by the odd workshop noise or chatter. They know it's Apple because the location of the call pops up on their monitors. They really hate it as "when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call". Apple said they're gonna find a way to stop this happening.

Anchor's new all-in-one podcasting platform looks cool

Anchor has released an interesting update to their podcasting platform. It now appears to be a one-stop-shop for everything podcast related. You can record bits directly in their app or website, re-arrange those bits, add other audio, then have it hosted on Anchor's server and published directly to Anchor and other podcast platforms (e.g: iTunes). The 5-min time limit on audio recording has been dropped too, so there's no limits to how long you can rant about whatever topic you like. You get detailed stats on your podcast's performance and has other neat features like allowing listeners to "call-in", and include those calls in your show. I'm gonna have to give this a crack I reckon.

Cheap iPhone X, OLED TV, Bose QC35, Ubiquiti gear & Xiaomi gear

Some decent stuff in eBay's latest sale. Use code P20TECH to score the discounted price:

DealExtreme has loads of Xiaomi gear on sale, so if you've been thinking about picking up a battery, some cameras, a few smarthome devices or the brilliant Mi A1 smartphone, now's the time.

That's it, see ya Monday!

Grimes - Kill V. Maim