Issue 740

Tuesday, 9th October 2018

In This Issue


Google+ was leaking data for years, Google said nothing and they're closing it down now

Google is shutting down Google+ over the next 10 months. Partly because nobody used it (90% of use was for under 5 seconds, haha), but mainly due to a bug in the Google+ API that exposed "profile information like name, email address, occupation, gender, and age, "even when that data was listed as private and not public". Google knew about this bug in March 2018, but did not disclose it, according to the Wall Street Journal, "because of fear of "immediate regulatory interest" that would lump Google in with Facebook, according to one source’s description of the incident". What a bunch of chicken shit wankers who can't own their mistakes! If you feel like reading a bunch of excuses and Google corporate speak, their blog post about Google+'s troubles is full of it.

Portal is Facebook's totally not spying on you video chat hardware thing

Facebook has unveiled Portal, a video conferencing piece of hardware aimed at home users. You know Amazon's Echo Show? The Portal is like that and even has Alexa built in, but uses Messenger as the chat backend. The Portal's main feature is that the lens can move and uses face detection tech to follow you around a room. There's two models, the Portal (US$199) and Portal+ (US$349), which has a 15" rotatable screen. They'll go on sale in November across the US. Apparently Facebook was ready to release this back in March, but then the whole Cambridge Analytica thing happened and they figured placing cameras and microphones in people's houses wouldn't be a good look. Facebook's also making a big deal about how it won't spy on you, which if you believe, you deserve to get spied on.

NDIS payments going on the blockchain if this trial works alright

Data61 and the Commonwealth Bank have developed "Smart Money", a way they claim, to attach conditions to how someone spends the money you give them. They've foisted it upon NDIS participants and carers, to trial using an app to let "participants to manage their plan by enabling them to find, book and pay for services from NDIS service providers without the need for paperwork or receipts". It also ties in to the New Payments Platform (aka PayID) for instant cash transfers. A report on how useful this trial is will be released in November. CBA has an infographic about Smart Money. Looks super useful, but once again, dunno what the blockchain is doing here beyond being the vehicle by which executives gain enough courage to digitise an important process that otherwise wouldn't get any attention.

New Intel desktop CPUs, lots of cores, should be fast

Intel has announced their 9th generation of CPUs and the 5th revision of their 14nm technology. This "Coffee Lake Refresh" are desktop CPUs, designed to compete with AMD's Ryzen. The Core i9-9900K leads the range, coming with 8 HyperThreaded cores (16 threads all up), 95W TDP, 16MB of L3 cache and support for 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. This thing will increase clock speed to 5GHz with 2 cores enabled (4.7GHz with all 8 cores), so I assume it will have incredible single thread performance. They're the same socket as the previous generation, so you won't need a new mainboard. Intel also showed off the Xeon W-3175X, an LGA3647 based workstation chip that has 28 cores. This beast and a compatible mainboard will come out in December. The new Core CPUs go on sale the 19th of October and reviews/benchmarks should be up tomorrow or Thursday.

Project xCloud is Microsoft's Xbox game streaming service

Microsoft's getting in on the cloud game streaming stuff, officially announcing xCloud. You'll be able to play your favourite Xbox games on multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones. Can even pair an Xbox controller to your smartphone and play that way. More details are on Microsoft's blog. It appears that they're actually placing the guts of an Xbox One into a rack server. Microsoft reckons that their huge network of Azure datacenters gives them a leg up over its competitors. xCloud is still in a private trial, but Microsoft expects to make this public "sometime in 2019". Google is testing this (here's a hands-on review of Assassin's Creed Odyssey streaming in Chrome) and Sony's done it for a while, so it wouldn't surprise me if Amazon gets in on the action too - especially considering they own Twitch and have AWS at their disposal.

Not News, But Still Cool

Samsung's selling 8K TVs now

Samsung's starting to sell 8K TVs overseas. The Q900-series has 65, 75, 82, and in my opinion, the only size worth buying, 85 inch models. This absolute unit (Q85Q900RA) will set you back a cool US$14,999.99 and will start shipping early November. I'd love to know what kinda content someone is watching on an 8K TV to make it worth it. There's absolutely nothing except a few demo videos of birds and Tokyo streetscapes, right? I'd love to see this come down in size to around 40", as 8K res at that size gives you the same PPI as a 27" Retina iMac display (so everything's crisp), but, with the same usable desktop space as a 40" 4K monitor. Maybe Apple would make an iMac Pro with a 40" 8K display - that would be cool as hell.

Chrome will no longer load pages using Symantec certs in a few days

Chrome 70 is coming any day now and one of the changes it'll bring is no longer recognising certificates with Symantec as the Certificate Authority. That means websites using SSL certificates where Symantec is the CA will not load in Google Chrome in just a few days. Google's given plenty of warning that this'll happen, but of course, many sites haven't done anything about it. Scott Helme ran a script a few days ago to check which sites in Alexa's top 1 million ranking are still using these dodgy certs and found heaps still do. If they don't get a new certificate, as soon as people's Chrome browsers auto-update in a few days, their sites won't work. Looks like most of the Australian ones have got their act together (probably due to being on Scott's shitlist).

Cheap Google Home Minis, 2TB portable HDD, Kindle, Magic Trackpad 2, Mini NES, Sony A6000 camera, LG OLED TVs

The Good Guy's eBay store has 20% off using the code P20TGGS. Here's some good stuff that you can buy online then pick up from your local Good Guys store to save postage on:

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Papa Roach - Blood Brothers