Issue 751

Wednesday, 24th October 2018

In This Issue


iPhone XR reviews are out and about

The iPhone XR goes on sale soon, but reviews have begun flooding the internet today as the press embargo has been lifted. There's no surprises here with the iPhone XR - it's the iPhone XS with a single camera on the rear, a cut down version of 3D Touch and an LCD instead of an OLED. The camera is the same as the fancy one on the iPhone XS, the LCD whilst not as high resolution as the OLEDs on other iPhones still looks fantastic (I saw the XR recently and I can't tell much difference), the bloody fast A12 SoC is the same as the XS and battery life seems to be superior than the XS, with Tom's Guide finding that the lasted almost 2 hours longer than the iPhone XS. If you're still rocking an iPhone 6s or whatever, want a new iPhone and don't care about the 2x lens - I don't see any reason not to get the iPhone XR and save some money.

Everyone is playing down the fact Telstra said it wants to buy the NBN

Remember a few days ago how at the Telstra AGM they low-key dropped (is that how this phrase is used, kids?) that they'll buy the NBN when it inevitably goes up for sale? Well that caught the attention of politicians who hurled questions about NBN's sale to other politicians and NBN execs at senate estimates last night. Comms minister Fifield said it's too early to contemplate the NBN getting sold off and that they've not done any work scoping out how much the NBN would be worth on the open market. NBN's CEO just kept saying they need to finish building the damn thing first. Old mate Ziggy Switkowksi though, NBN chairman, said that he reckons it'd be worth around $50b in the early 2020s. He even spitballed the prospect of it being split up by service (i.e: govt keeps the fixed wireless & satellite) or geographically. Also NBN announced it will spend $80m upgrading the HFC network to DOCSIS 3.1, that can technically unlock gigabit speeds.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in mobile app advertising fraud exposed

BuzzFeed has uncovered a huge scam network of people who buy semi-popular Android apps off developers, use a sophisticated botnet to click ads in the app, then get paid by Google and brands for showing ads to what they assume are legit users. The scammers buy the a popular app to learn how real users interact and use it, then train their bots to act in similar ways to get around Google's fraud detection algorithms. One app was discovered that generated almost US$75m from ads in a single year! An app metric firm reckons there's US$700m-$800m getting pilfered from mobile ad network every year. Make millions ripping off marketers and Google? Sounds like fun.

Dyson (the vacuum cleaner guy) is gonna build electric cars in Singapore

Dyson has announced it'll build an electric car assembly factory in Singapore that'll have vehicles rolling out the door in 2021. Yep, Dyson is building EVs. Sir James Dyson is keen as hell to get Dyson branded EVs on the road, having spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying and developing solid state battery technology (albeit with limited success) and GBP200m on an R&D facility with a test track in Wiltshire. Dyson also makes 21 million electric motors a year for its vacuums and stuff, so I guess it's not that much of a stretch for them to make cars. Making cars in tiny little Singapore however is a bit odd, but Dyson reckons it's the best spot for them as they already manufacture there, it's close to supplies (batteries, plastics, etc.), markets it plans to sell into (China) and there's a skilled workforce (unlike the UK). God speed to them.

Five bits of small, but still interesting news items

Not News, But Still Cool

I wrote something longer than 150 words about electric car charging

Last week I went on a long drive to Euroa, one of the places you stop between Melbourne and Sydney to take a 20 minute break. It's the location of Chargefox's first ultra-rapid electric car charging site and the fastest EV charger in Australia. Chargefox's engineer, Evan Beaver showed me around the site while it was under construction and I wrote up all the bits that make it work in a story for Drive Zero. This site in particular is cool as it's also backed by a big battery and solar, so most of the cars using it to charge will be getting their energy from that setup, not Victoria's still dirty coal grid.

The iPhone can do so many cool things, but most people have no idea

Joe Clark argues that heaps of features people would love to use on the iPhone are going unnoticed and under-utilised. His blog post is a long list of all the things us nerds kinda take for granted, but normal people just don't know exists. People don't know you can ask Siri or use Maps for directions and it will tell you how to go somewhere. People don't know you can change the font size. 3D Touch, Notification Centre and Control Centre are basically invisible to most users. Copy & paste, the share menu, iMessage apps - the list goes on. Joe argues part of people not knowing about these features the smart people at Apple worked hard to develop, is because there's no user manual included with the iPhone. It's a shame everyone is walking around with these powerful pocket computers and barely know how to use em.

20% off Sonos gear and a cheap 8TB HDD

There's not many bargains today, but I could not let this Sonos deal pass Sizzle subscribers by. Melbourne Hi-Fi is selling all their Sonos gear at 20% off and with free delivery using the code GOSN20. It's part of some Vogue magazine offer that expires at 12pm on the 25th of October. The Sonos One Smart is only $239.20 for example. Or get a Sonos Beam with two Play:1 speakers to act as rear surrounds for $845.60. You can view all their Sonos products via this link. The only other bargain I saw around today was this 8TB Lacie Porsche external HDD for $239.20 delivered using the code POTPLANT.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Radiohead - Electioneering