Issue 696

Tuesday, 7th August 2018

In This Issue


Android 9, nicknamed Pie, is now available for Pixel smartphones

Version 9 of Android is out and about today (aka Android Pie) for those with Google's Pixel smartphones. It was supposed to come out on August 20th, but Google just couldn't keep all these amazing features to themselves any longer. Here's the official blog post outlining all the new features, along with many animated GIFs to demonstrate them. There's a lot of "because we track and log everything you do, here's some algorithm-based suggestions to do x, y and z!" sorta stuff. Does anyone really find those features useful? I know what I wanna do, get outta my way and lemme do it. Over on Google's Android Developers blog, they highlight dozens of different features that may be of interest to, you guessed it - developers. No hard info on when Android 9 will arrive on other non-Pixel smartphones. Some time in the next few months is all Google's saying.

Alex Jones & InfoWars gets banned from Facebok, YouTube, Apple Podcasts & more

Alex Jones and InfoWars has been kicked off Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pinterest and YouPorn (they were on Pinterest and YouPorn?!). I don't know why all these companies decided today was the day to enforce their terms of service, considering Alex Jones and InfoWars have been fuckwits for a long time and rules about community standards (YouTube's excuse), not tolerating hate speech (Apple's logic) and glorifying violence (Facebook's reason) have been around for even longer. Here's all the warnings and wrist slaps InfoWars received regarding their content before today's bannings. It seems to me like the social media sites were happy to turn a blind eye to these sorta antics until recently, but public pressure and maybe their own consciences, got too loud to ignore, so they acted. For what it's worth, Twitter seems to have no problems with InfoWars & Alex Jones.

TSMC halts semiconductor production due to WannaCry malware infection

TSMC, the manufacturer of some of the most cutting edge semiconductors in the market, has been hit by the WannaCry ransomware. Yeah, in 2018, they got stung by a WannaCry variant. Apparently "a supplier connected tainted software to TSMC's network without a virus scan, spread swiftly and hit facilities in Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung - home to some of the cutting-edge plants that produce Apple’s semiconductors". TSMC had to shut down those plants for a weekend to clear out the malware and get things going again. The timing couldn't be worse, as TSMC is in the middle of producing millions of SoCs for Apple's next iPhone. If the iPhone is out a bit later than usual this year, this could be why. That said, TSMC's share price barely took a hit, so investors don't think this is anything more than a small bump in the road as opposed to a huge manufacturing disaster.

AMD's Threadripper 2 CPUs coming August 13th

AMD has kicked off pre-orders for the 2nd generation of its beastly Threadripper CPUs. There's four Threadripper 2 CPUs coming August 13th, with the flagship part in the Threadripper range being the TR2990WX, with 32 cores, 64 threads, a max turbo speed of 4.2GHz, 64MB of L3 cache, support for quad channel DDR4-2933 RAM, 60 PCIe lanes (holy shit) and a TDP of 250W (that's a toasty CPU) with a retail price is US$1799. Compared to Intel's i9 lineup, the Threadripper range has way more cores and PCIe lanes at a lower price. Can't wait to see some benchmarks of this thing in full flight. It should chew through any sort of video encoding. Programmers who are often compiling software would love it too - so many cores, so little build time.

Yet another Sydney tech precinct from the state government

The NSW state government is having yet another crack at a technology precinct in Sydney. This new precinct will go from Central to Eveleigh and will be "co-created" by the state government, Atlassian, Tech Sydney and co-working space Fishburners. A bunch of talking heads from the tech industry and government some said shit about innovation and collaboration and how up to 10,000 jobs will be in the precinct - the usual stuff. This kinda thing is such an easy idea for government to swallow as lets them look progressive with the prospect of nice paying tech jobs, while at the same time, sucking off their real estate developer mates who will get quick and easy approval for a bunch of trendy offices and co-working spaces to fill with startup wankers that'll pay the exorbitant rent. Win-win!

Not News, But Still Cool

DietPi, a nice alternative distro for Raspberry Pi & other SBCs

Next time you start a Raspberry Pi project, don't blindly use Raspbian because that's what everyone else is doing. Check out DietPi instead. It's Raspbian, but with absolutely no bloat and a series of easy to use interfaces to install common setups like Kodi, Transmission, MotionEye, ownCloud, wi-fi hotspot, webserver stacks, PiVPN and heaps more. It runs on a bunch of SBCs like the NanoPi NEO, and Odroid units - much better than the standard Linux distros for those boards.

A trip down memory lane with Microsoft FrontPage

Remember Microsoft Front Page? I was a prodigious user of Microsoft's WYSYWIG web editor back in the 90s and made dozens of stupid websites that are all unfortunately long gone. For those too young to remember it, it was designed to be like Microsoft Word, but for publishing HTML. The downside of that "ease" of publishing was that the websites FrontPage created generally only worked properly in Internet Explorer. Microsoft used this as a way to get people to use its browser instead of Netscape (the most popular browser at the time) and ended up pissing off a lot of people in the process. *cough* websites that only work in Google Chrome *cough*

Cheap Oppo PM-3 audiophile headphones & Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera

Just two bargains today, but they're great ones. Melbourne Hi-Fi has the very highly rated Oppo PM-3 closed back headphones for $449. The Wirecutter reckons that these things have the "closest sound to hearing the instruments live or in the recording studio that we’ve come across in this price level". Load up on some FLAC tunes and enjoy the ear candy. The best mirrorless camera around according to The Wirecutter is the Fuji X-T2 and it is only $1369.20 after using the code PAYOFF20 on eBay and then claiming $350 cashback from Fuji. Normally this thing is around $2,000 for Australian stock.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Something For Kate - You Can't Please Everybody, Rockwell