Issue 593

Thursday, 8th March 2018

In This Issue


Android P developer preview is out and about for your perusal

Google has released Android P as a developer preview, giving us a look at what's coming in the next version of Android. Some highlights (for me at least) include improved indoor positioning (i.e: using Maps indoors), HEIF image compression, a multi-camera API, an all new notification panel, improved backup encryption, a screenshot shortcut that lets you do annotations, and controversially, support for "display cutouts" (aka notches). Android Police have loads of articles highlighting every little change if you're keen. Android P will be renamed to something snack related and made available to the public in Q3 2018 (aka July-October).

SEC tells US crypto exchanges to register or face consequences

The SEC has put out its sternest warning yet to all the crypto exchange scam artists out there, saying that it now views cryptocurrencies as securities. So if exchanges trading cryptocurrency want to continue, they need to make sure they meet all the regulation standards like a traditional commodities exchange (i.e: like the NASDAQ or Chicago Board of Trade). Can't wait to see a few Bitcoin bros in minimum security prison! Maybe it'll stop stuff like this Binance theft happening again, where the people running the exchange took everyone's coins, used it to pump up another coin and sold it all for Bitcoin. They're blaming stolen API keys, hahah.

Everyone's Oculus Rift is a brick because they forgot to update a driver cert

People wanting to escape their mundane meatspace lives and enjoy some time in virtual reality are unable to today. When they load up their distraction method of choice, they're greeted by a Windows error saying that their computer can't reach the Oculus Runtime Service. This is due to a certificate in the driver package expiring because someone at Oculus forgot to renew it and push out an update. Oculus said that they're working on a fix, but it's gonna be interesting spreading the update, as the Oculus app won't launch due to this cert expiring! I guess all those Oculus users are going to have to experience real reality instead of virtual reality for a few days.

Samsung has new QLED TVs

Samsung flew heaps of journalists from all over the world to New York to show them some new TVs. As a result, my RSS feeds are now flooded with "news" about the TVs and now I'm writing about Samsung's TVs, so the system works and we're all complicit. Anyways, the TVs are cool and look great I'm sure (but still not as nice as LG's OLED). There's a thing called Ambient Mode, that lets the TV look transparent (you take a pic of the wall before you mount the TV and it uses it as wallpaper) and "One Invisible Connection" that lets you run a single clear cable to your TV for power, HDMI and audio. Specs and model numbers and stuff are here, but don't ask when the new TVs will be out in Australia, or how much they'll cost. Samsung's AU news room doesn't even mention this event. Cool. You should get a Hisense LCD or an LG OLED anyways, better value and better quality than Samsung's QLEDs.

Alexa is laughing at random & scaring people

People are getting freaked out by their Alexa devices randomly laughing. Like, out of nowhere, their Amazon Echo will just start giggling and it's creeping people out. Amazon has since disabled the "Alexa, laugh" command, as it thinks the reason this was happening was due to the microphone picking up noise it reckons sounds like "Alexa, laugh". If you want to make Alexa laugh for some reason (mate, this isn't the movie Her, she isn't gonna fall in love with you), you gotta say "Alexa, can you laugh?" and Alexa will say "yes" before laughing. This will produce fewer false positives and at least provide a heads up before emitting a random laughing noise in your house when nobody else is around. My Amazon Echo Dot isn't cackling manically in the middle of the night, yet.

Not News, But Still Cool

International Women's Day 2018 - women in IT aren't paid enough

Today is International Women's Day and there's two things I wanna get across about women in IT. First, they aren't paid enough. According to the Australian Computer Society and Deloitte Access Economics, there's a 20% gap between what men get paid and what women get paid. We can argue about why that's the case, but the fact is women are getting 20% less cash in the IT industry and that's not fair. The second is a reminder that our Australian of the Year is Professor Michelle Simmons, a woman that is a quantum computing scientist. Her highly celebrated profile in the industry hopefully inspires more women to take up computing as a career too.

Some cheeky nerds at the BoM busted mining crypto on government gear

Two IT workers at the Bureau of Meteorology were questioned by police for mining cryptocurrency at work. The AFP "executed a search warrant at the Docklands, Melbourne premises on February 28" and the investigation is still ongoing. Dunno what they were using exactly to mine, but I hope it was one of those beefy supercomputers the BoM normally uses to predict weather. I know it's generally frowned upon to mine crypto at work, but who hasn't at least thought about using all that spare capacity or electricity at work to mine a few coins? I bet a couple of you reading this are doing it right now, cheeky bastards! (I support all the comrades in liberating the excess of capital to benefit the worker)

Too many bargains to fit in a headline, just scroll to the end you lazy bum

There's a new eBay 20% off sale - use code PREWINTER to get the discount

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

GOD - My Pal