Issue 808

Monday, 4th February 2019

In This Issue


Millions of people watched a famous EDM producer put on a live concert in Fortnite

EDM producer Marshmello was the star of a banging concert inside the game Fortnite. Apparently tens of millions of players were transported to a virtual stage where Marshmellow spun some sick tunes and the kids loved it. Epic froze the game, transported everyone to a virtual stage, disabled everyone's weapons and for that 10 minutes all you could do in the game was listen to Marshmellow do his stuff, and dance to it I guess. Oh and of course you "Epic released a Marshmello skin, glider, and emote, alongside a special three-challenge quest for players to earn a matching pickaxe and other items". Ka-ching! You can watch the entire concert again on YouTube if you want a glimpse of what the young people are into. It looks very, very, very similar to Second Life to me.

NSW sounding out partners for a proper robobus on a major route by 2022

Transport for NSW is really keen on autonomous buses, so keen that they've "opened a market sounding process to gauge the interest of consortiums keen to undertake trials" of "full-sized driverless commuter buses" on a "high frequency, high patronage route in Sydney within three years". Seeing as there's no funding put aside for it, it looks like Transport for NSW is just running the idea up the flagpole and seeing if any transport companies want to salute it. I dunno about you but from what I've seen of self-driving cars, making a bus that can drive itself in Sydney traffic in just three years seems a long way off. I guess with a bus you know the pre-determined route and can add all kinds of infrastructure around to support it in a way you can't with a passenger car, but still, this sounds pretty adventurous.

Flexgate is the latest issue concerning post-2016 MacBooks

Have you got a 2016 or later MacBook or MacBook Pro that's displaying weird banding on the bottom of the screen? Or maybe the display had that banding for a while, then one day just shit itself and stopped working? If you did, it now has a name - Flexgate. "According to repair site iFixit, which first highlighted the problem, 2016 and later MacBook Pro machines are using thin, fragile display flex cables that are prone to malfunctioning with repeated closing and opening of the MacBook Pro's display. The flex cables are loosely wrapped around the display controller board and when the MacBook's display is opened, the cables are pulled tighter, leading to tears and problems over time". Apple hasn't said anything yet, but it looks a lot like a design flaw to me and something you could argue under Australia's consumer law if you were properly agitated.

New Zealand to upgrade fibre in Auckland and Wellington to 10Gbps

If you wanted another reason to move to New Zealand and burn your Australian passport, they will start rolling out 10Gbps internet to "residential and small and medium-sized businesses with fibre connections in Auckland and Wellington" in March. The chief customer officer of Chorus (kinda like their Telstra, but less bloated) said that this "reinforces the ability to easily upgrade the world-class fibre infrastructure we have been building as the latest technologies become available... when Chorus' fibre plans first launched in 2012, the top speed then available was 100Mbps. We were then the first to make gigabit fibre broadband available in 2014, and today this is the fastest-growing plan on our network with more than 44,000 customers". To further rub salt in our NBN wound, "Chorus in November announced that it would be bringing down its wholesale pricing for residential gigabit services from NZ$65 to NZ$60 by mid-2019, and then down to NZ$56 in mid-2020". 100/40 NBN is $65/month, which is ~NZ$68 and there's no price decreases on the horizon.

Panasonic enters the full-frame digital camera game with the S1 and S1R

Because today was Superbowl day in the USA (fucken lost $20 on the Rams), there's not a lot of tech news, so I'm digging up this Panasonic camera announcement from last week that you probably don't care about, but I was interested in. The S1 (24MP - US$2499) and S1R (47MP - $3699) are full-frame cameras from Panasonic, which means they have big sensors that improve image quality over their popular GH-series cameras that only feature a relatively small Micro Four Thirds sensor. Interestingly, they use the Leica SL lens mount and are not variants of the Sony sensors on Nikon and Sony cameras. The S1 and S1R are pretty much bigger, higher quality versions of the GH5 we know and love and will go on sale in April. There's never been a better time to buy a full-frame digital camera with new units from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji and now Panasonic in the last 3-4 months. I wish I had disposable income to blow on fancy cameras again.

Not News, But Still Cool

Bose Frames are sunglasses with speakers built in and seem to be half-decent

Bose have made a pair of sunnies with speakers in the frame - come back, it's not as stupid as it sounds! The Bose Frames are basically mini speakers right up next to your ear, with more speakers that delay the audio and cancel it out so others close by can't hear it. There's a button on em so you can control playback and even use it for Siri/Google Assistant. According to this video review from Engadget, they sound good but lack bass. I love the concept (reminds me of Intel's awesome, but stuck in development AR glasses) and makes these stupid things I have to wear so I can see, more practical. Hopefully as time goes on the tech gets better and smaller and can be combined with the AR stuff so I can go full 22nd century nerd.

Tesla has sold 2,057 cars in Australia since they launched here in 2012

Tesla's a little weird in that unlike other car manufacturers, they don't report their sales statistics to VFACTS. Dunno why, but they just don't. This has made it difficult to get an idea about how many cars they sell in Australia. Carsales has crunched some registration numbers and found out that Tesla has sold 2,057 cars in Australia since they started local operations in 2012. Of those 2,057 cars, 1,320 (more than half) were sold in 2018 alone. Doesn't sound like much, but Tesla sold more than Maserati and about the same as Jaguar, so they aren't doing too bad I guess. The Model 3 (maybe coming mid-2019?) will make that number skyrocket.

Cheap Red Dead Redemption 2, Nintendo Labo kits, Surface Pro 6 bundle, Aussie Broadband NBN and Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Psycho Killer - Talking Heads