Issue 706

Tuesday, 21st August 2018
Thanks for all the interest in the little Pi-Hole ad blocker I emailed you about last night. As of 3PM, I've sold 65! If you've got no idea what I am on about, check it out. I'll remind you again in a few days.

In This Issue


Rumours of a new Mac Mini & MacBook Air coming soon

Heavy rumours via Mark Gurman & Debby Wu in Apple-land that there's finally going to be a new MacBook Air and a Mac Mini in an attempt to boost falling Mac sales. The MacBook Air will still be 13", but have a Retina display with less bezel. Not much else is detailed here. How would it differ from the existing 13" non-Touchbar MacBook Pro to justify being cheaper? More exciting, to me at least, is the prospect of a new Mac Mini - the poor little Mini hasn't had a refresh since October 2014, a total of 1404 days. No details on that besides "Apple is focusing primarily on these pro users, and new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions" - ugh, an expensive Mac Mini, just what everyone wants. Why Apple doesn't just shove an Intel NUC in a fancy case and sell it for 50% more than the price of a NUC is beyond me.

New Nvidia gaming graphics cards - the RTX 2080 & RTX 2070

Nvidia announced new gaming graphics cards at Gamescom overnight. These new cards are based on the same Turing GPU they announced a few weeks ago, so gone is the GTX name that's been around for ages. It's all about RTX now: ray tracing acceleration, which is basically a way to improve graphics rendering quality, not so much performance. It's all very inside-baseball sorta stuff. The RTX 2080 Ti (US$999) and RTX 2080 (US$699) will launch September 20th. The RTX 2070 will be US$499 and come out some time in October. There's no word on performance yet, so we'll just have to wait for benchmarks to come out prior to release. You'd assume the new cards will be fast, it's just a matter of how much faster over the previous generation and weighing up performance per dollar compared to the wider graphics card market.

Gold Coast expands its fibre internet footprint

The Gold Coast is taking a leaf out of Adelaide's book and will spend $10m to expand its fibre internet rollout footprint. "The new loop will provide coverage to Broadbeach, Burleigh, Varsity Lakes, and Robina", with capacity in mind to expand coverage even further in the future. There's already a 45km fibre "backbone" that runs along the new light rail corridor from Helensvale to Broadbeach and this announcement is an extension of that. I can't find out how you connect to the network though. Searching for "digital city" on the council website brings up nothing relevant and their media release doesn't have a link to a website or further info. Adelaide has their shit together, where 10 gigabit internet is already operating, plus there's better food, no humid weather and the superior AFL team (Port Adelaide - fuck the Crows).

Vic government throws a bit of cash at medical records on the blockchain

The Victorian state government has pissed away $99,611 on a grant given to RMIT & DB Results to look at "whether applying blockchain to online medical records would improve transparency and security, and could be applied to services like the federal government's My Health Record service". Medical records on the blockchain. Ok, whatever. The state health minister said that "blockchain technology could be the key to keeping our information safe online". I'd love to see a copy of the application for this grant. Maybe it would enlighten me as to how exactly, the blockchain would make something like a medical record system more secure than conventional IT security practices.

Misc news snippets

Not News, But Still Cool

Huge esports tournament coming to Melbourne in September

The Melbourne Esports Open will kick off in a few weeks and will take place at both Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena. The event is so big, that one stadium can't contain it! "Spearheaded by esports production giant ESL and event management team TEGLive the Victorian Government backed event is expected to generate upwards of $25 million to the local economy over the next five years". The main games being played are Overwatch and League of Legends, but there will be open tournaments in Forza 7, Overwatch (3 vs 3), Minecraft, Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros 4, Pokemon and more. More people will probably rock up this than attend a Kangaroos AFL home game at Etihad.

Logitech's new vertical mouse is supposed to be easier on your wrist

Logitech's got a new weird looking mouse that's supposed to be very ergonomic. The MX Vertical is, like it's name says, designed to be used with your wrist in a natural "handshake" position, rather than twisted around to be flat. Personally, this would be so damn comfortable as my wrists ache when they have to rotate so my hand is flat use a mouse. They're pain free when I keep them vertical. According to the linked article though, "some studies suggest they actually increase the risk of unnatural wrist extension and slower performance". Hmmm, I'm still keen to try it out though. I wonder if Logitech's PR will sling me one of these to review for PC & Tech Authority...

Cheap iTunes, Google Home Mini, Bose QC35, 55" LG C8 OLED, Airpods, Oppo PM-3 headphones

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head