Vodafone Australia and TPG have agreed to merge. The new company will be called TPG Telecom Limited, be valued at around $15b and combine the "27,000km of fibre networks and 500 mobile sites owned by the pair across Australia", "6 million mobile subscribers and 1.9 million fixed line broadband customers". Vodafone Australia will own 50.1% and TPG will own 49.9% of the new entity. "TPG CEO David Teoh will become the Chairman of the merged group, while VHA CEO Iñaki Berroeta will become managing director and CEO". Sounds to me like VHA and TPG are literally merging to become one business and will operate the Vodafone and TPG brands simultaneously (like Optus and Virign, or Boost & Telstra). Oh, and good news for Vodafone customers - $5/day roaming is staying.
Chelsea Manning is supposed to start a speaking tour of Australia this Sunday, but it looks like she might not be granted a visa to enter the country. To get a visa, you have to pass certain character requirements - stuff like not having been in jail is near the top of that list. If you've forgotten who Chelsea is, she "was an intelligence analyst for the US Army when she leaked military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She served seven years of a 35-year sentence before then-President Barack Obama granted her clemency in 2017". Our current government isn't that tolerant of whistleblower behaviour, so it'll be very interesting to see if the new immigration minister lets Chelsea visit Australia.
Apple purchased a company called Akonia Holographics, that claims to produce the "world's first commercially available volume holographic reflective and waveguide optics for transparent display elements in smart glasses". Basically stuff like Microsoft's HoloLens or Magic Leap headsets, but smaller and lighter (but still equally as dorky). Tim Cook has often said that Apple is very keen on augmented reality stuff and is poised to be a big player in it - despite not having a single AR product out there. Apple purchased a company called Vrvana, which also makes AR/VR headsets, back in 2017. It usually takes years for a product to come out that uses something from a company Apple purchased - so an AR headset from Apple is still years away, if they make one at all.
President Trump tweeted a video that some unknown person made (probably one of his professional memelords) showing that Google always showed a link to Obama's SOTU on its homepage, but not Trump's. Thing is though, what Trump's saying isn't true. Google did show a link to Trump's SOTU when it happened earlier this year. The reason they didn't show last year's was because it wasn't a SOTU address, just like Obama's first one in 2009. Trump also had a little rant in front of some journos saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are "treat conservatives and Republicans very unfairly" and that their actions are "not right, it's not fair, it may not be legal". Fuck knows what senile Donny is on about here. I think he's seen heaps of his bot followers getting shitcanned and reckons it's censorship?
IFA kicked off in Berlin overnight and there's some nifty new gear announced you may be interested in:
Mr. Robot will end with the upcoming 4th season. It'll start in 2019 and go for 12 eps. Show creator. Sam Esmail, said they're ending it because the story is pretty much done, not because nobody's watching it. I absolutely adore this show - it'll suck that it's ending, but I'm glad they're gonna wrap it up rather than keep it going on and on like more US TV shows do. By the way, if you liked Mr. Robot, you really should watch Halt and Catch Fire (a period drama set in the 80s that chronicles the creation of the PC industry and the early internet) and Person of Interest (basically NSA's PRISM program, before Snowden blew the lid open on it).
Paid podcasts aren't really a thing, but Breaker Upstream wants to change that. As a podcast producer, you upload your content to their platform, you set the price (either monthly subscription or per-episode) and they do the rest for a 4% (on top of Stripe fees) cut. As a listener, you grab the Breaker Upstream app where you pay, subscribe/pay and listen to the podcast. It even supports Apple Pay for some frictionless money exchanging. Breaker's a nice app too. Maybe I should give this a shot with a Sizzle podcast that costs $5/m??? Considering the good free stuff around, it'd prob be a tough sell, but you pay for this, so maybe it's not as hard as I think it is...
That's it, see ya tomorrow!