Issue 659

Friday, 15th June 2018

In This Issue


AT&T and Time Warner merge to create a media behemoth

Probably of little interest to us here in Australia, but it's all over the yank blogs so I thought I'd give it a mention - AT&T and Time Warner have merged. Time Warner is a gigantic media company that is made up of HBO, Turner Broadcasting System (CNN, heaps of sports) and Warner Bros. AT&T is the world's largest telco. With Warner and AT&T combining, Warner has a new way to get its content out to the world (thanks to AT&T's vast networks) and AT&T has something to differentiate itself from other telcos (you want internet _and_ Game of Thrones? AT&T is the only game in town). There's an op-ed in the NYT that reckons this is a good thing for consumers, despite the US Justice Department's arguments that it'll increase the cost of cable TV. Again, not much of a big deal for us here in AU. We all just pirate that shit anyways.

Google's slow progress to make a more diverse workplace

Google's released a report into how diverse its workplace is right now. Across the globe, 30.9% of its employees are women. Out of all their employees in the USA, 36.3% are Asian, 53.1% are white and the remaining ~10% are every other ethnicity. When the same report was done last year, the numbers were practically identical. The lack of diversity isn't surprising when you consider this new report from the USA's National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, that found that 25% of women studying engineering experience sexual harassment. Would you want to enter an industry where you have a 1-in-4 chance of getting sexually harassed? I wouldn't.

The EU plans to make every EU website match user uploads against a copyright filter

The EU is about to vote on a huge copyright law that has everyone pissed off. Article 13 of the proposed law, if successful (and it seems likely it will succeed), will mean every European website that has an upload function will have to check uploaded content against a content matching filter to check if what's being uploaded copyrighted and prevent it being uploaded if it is. Needless to say, that's onerous for site owners and content matching software is unreliable at the best of times. A bunch of 70 "internet luminaries" like Vint Cerf, Time Berners-Lee, Jimmy Wales and more, have signed an open letter explaining how dumb this law is.

Microsoft is making a cashierless grocery store just like Amazon

Reuters is reporting that they have insider gossip on Microsoft's attempt to build an automated grocery store like Amazon's. Like Amazon's, it uses cameras and AI to detect who's taken what off the shelf and when they've left the store with it. Unlike Amazon, Microsoft plans to sell the platform to other retailers to use. Maybe I'm just old and jaded, but is this really important? Is interacting with a cashier that abhorrent that we need this in our lives? I'm as anti-social as the next person, but come on. Are we not a little bit afraid of the social ramifications of making everyone who works as a cashier redundant?

NRMA begins installing EV fast chargers around NSW

The NRMA has started work on their $10m electric car charging network across NSW. They announced it last year, but work has finally begun for "Tritium's award-winning Veefil-RT 50kW fast chargers installed at at least 40 publicly-accessible sites, to ensure that 95 per cent of NSW/ACT EV journeys are within 150km of a fast charge". This charger has CHAdeMO and CCS connectors, so will work on pretty much every non-Tesla EV without an adaptor. One of the reasons manufacturers aren't brining EVs to Australia is that they think without charging infrastructure around, people won't buy them. Initiatives like this, and the Queensland EV Super Highway give car makers and consumers a little more confidence.

Not News, But Still Cool

The Asus Zenbook Pro 15's trackpad is a customisable multi-touch display

The Asus Zenbook Pro 15 has a display embedded in the trackpad. Yep, that's right, you slide your finger around on top of a secondary display where the trackpad is. It's a mini tablet. It's also literally a secondary display for your laptop.Just watch this video from Unbox Therapy - this dude does a good job demonstrating the Zenbook Pro's wacky display. I reckon it's superior to Apple's Touchbar, but, I can't imagine the accuracy or feel of this trackpad is anywhere near as good as an Apple trackpad.

The Mi Band 3 is the smartwatch you should get if you can't justify $500 for an Apple Watch

Xiaomi has a new Mi Band! The Mi Band 3 is a souped up version of their cheap smart watch/fitness tracker. The main difference is the bigger screen that allows for richer notifications and IP68 rating so it'll be waterproof up to 50m. Here's a video of it compared with the Mi Band 2. And here's an unboxing/mild review video. If you want to buy one, hit up your favourite Chinese dropshipper. Full specs are on Xiaomi's China website (use Google Translate). It costs around A$60. Unless you're a bourgeoisie Apple user, this is the smartwatch to get I reckon.

Cheap games, microSD, Telstra MVNO plans and 10% off eBay sitewide until 11:59pm

Civ 6 Rise & Fall DLC for US$17.99 and Far Cry 5 for PC for US$39, also at Greenman Gaming. The Civ 6 DLC is great and the storyline of Far Cry 5 looks interesting - dunno if the game's any good though. Netac 64GB microSD card for $US$15.99 Comments on OzBargain reckon Netac is half decent, but I wouldn't use it for anything important. Seems perfect for a dashcam/security camera or a Raspberry Pi. eBay gave Ozbargain yet another 10% off site wide code that lasts until 11:59pm today. Telechoice (a Telstra MVNO) has 50% off its already quite cheap 12/24m plans. $20/m for 18GB of data on the Telstra network? Not bad, not bad at all.

That's it, see ya Monday!

Oasis - Fuckin' in the Bushes