Issue 592

Wednesday, 7th March 2018

In This Issue


South Australia tests a new entrepreneur visa

Peter "potato" Dutton has introduced a pilot program for new visa designed to get more entrepreneurs moving to Australia to launch their businesses. All you need now is a business plan, whereas previously, you had to have at least $200k of funding. It's ideal for those global tech accelerators to bring in people enrolled in their programs overseas to Australia. There's a nice bonus for anyone using this visa that actually gets a business going - permanent residency. It's starting out in South Australia and if it goes well, will end up nation wide by 2019.

Blackberry reckons Facebook is infringing on heaps of its patents

Blackberry has assumed its final form - patent troll. Considering nobody's buying their kinda nice Android phones, all they have left are patents and boy, are they gonna use em. The Canadian company has filed a lawsuit against Facebook for infringing on patents that most normal people would consider very broad concepts, like patent 8,209,634 - the concept of using icons with numeric badges to signal the arrival of new messages and patent 9,349,120 - the concept of muting a message thread. Chances are Facebook will pay up and enter a licensing agreement with Blackberry.

Coinbase to launch cryptocurrency index fund

Investing in cryptocurrency just got a little easier thanks to Coinbase's new index fund. It's just like a traditional index fund on the stockmarket, but with crypto. Coinbase buys a bunch of different cryptocoins and you own a portion of them. The amount it buys of each coin is determined by the market capitalisation of that coin. The aim is for the fund to be a way to invest in cryptocurrency in general, rather than a single coin. Right now it's only for pre-qualified (i.e: rich) US investors, but if the idea goes well, expect to see clones of it around the world. Full details are on the Coinbase blog.

US govt isn't keen on Broadcom buying Qualcomm

The haggling between Broadcom and Qualcomm over how much Broadcom should pay Qualcomm to own Qualcomm and create a silicon powerhouse has a new stumbling block - the US government. Even if the two chip behemoths managed to find a price they both like, the US government has said that it wants a review to "consider the potential risk of an unnamed actor working through Broadcom to hurt U.S. national security". The government doesn't want to give any more detail as its concerns are apparently "classified". Rumour is the concern is mostly about Huawei taking "advantage of any openings to take the lead in the next generation mobile phone networks". Dunno how Broadcom buying Qualcomm makes Huawei strong, but hey, Sinophobes gonna sinophobe.

Uber's robot trucks are being successfully used to haul customer freight

Uber has put out a press release saying their robo-trucks are successfully hauling real freight for real customers. The entire trip isn't autonomous, but the long boring part on the highway between distribution centers is handled by a computer. There's still a person in the truck for now (law mandates that), but the truck is pretty much driving itself with low rates of human intervention. Uber has a video that explains what parts of a trip are autonomous. Seems quite efficient to me and this sort of driving is the low hanging fruit of autonomous transport, but I'm no logistics master so maybe it's bullshit considering Uber is involved.

Not News, But Still Cool

Today marks 10 years of iPhone apps

Can you believe its been 10 years since Apple released the first version of the iPhone SDK? 10 years of apps! Craig Hockenberry has a nice piece reflecting on the pre-SDK days, when people were so keen to develop software for the iPhone, that they jailbroke then things and made their own app store. If it wasn't for those pioneers, I don't think Apple would ever have bothered with apps until much later, if ever, as Apple were pretty keen on websites being the way to develop software for the iPhone.

A Tesla doesn’t emit more carbon dioxide than a Corolla

The ABC has taken its fact check gun and pointed it at Craig Kelly, the federal MP who said that a Corolla emits less carbon dioxide over its lifetime than a Tesla. His statement at face value, isn't incorrect, but it's also not correct. His claims use an outdated figure, plus the size of a Tesla vs a Corolla makes a big difference. Then there's stuff like the fact the Corolla will always emit carbon dioxide, whereas any EV will get cleaner as the grid rapidly adopts renewable energy. Craig is just a classic shit-stirrer who's more interested in ideological point scoring than improving things.

Listen to me talk about cryptocurrency in the latest ep of Moonshot

If you'd like to hear me crap on about my Litecoin rig, then rant about how cryptocurrency is an existential threat to the fabric of society and needs government regulation, download the latest episode of Moonshot. Asher Tan from Coinjar is also in it, giving his opinion on the hype around Bitcoin. Besides my contribution, the episode is a great explainer as to what's going on with cryptocurrencies. The Moonshot podcast in general is an excellent listen, it's been nominated for a Melbourne Press Club award for podcasting, up against podcasts from the ABC and the Guardian.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

St. Vincent - Surgeon