Issue 843

Tuesday, 26th March 2019

In This Issue


Apple announced they're gonna offer a credit card and 3 new subscription services

Apple had an event overnight where it unloaded a bunch of new subscription services - Apple TV+ (original streaming content produced by Apple), Apple Arcade (a gaming subscription service with titles hand picked by Apple & no ads), Apple News+ (US$9.99/m to access 300-ish magazines) and Apple Card (a Mastercard backed by Goldman Sachs with Apple branding and app support). I'm not gonna waste time going into each service in detail, there's plenty of shit on the web about that. What's important to know is that the credit card isn't coming to Australia, but the other stuff is. None of the stuff they announced has launched, except Apple News+, but it's not coming to Australia until "later this year". There's also new versions of macOS & iOS with bug fixes and support for Apple News+

The government is thinking about penalties for social media companies that don't remove reported content quickly

ScoMo, potato head, porto and the dude who's currently fucking up the NBN (The Prime Minister, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Attorney-General Christian Porter and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield) are in Brisbane today to chat to representatives of Google, Facebook and Twitter about improving their responses to removing offensive content. There's talk of laws that'll give the government power to declare a video "abhorrent violent material" and make it a crime for a social media provider to not remove it. The longer it stays up, the bigger the penalty. Interesting concept that may or may not go anywhere, but the elephant in the room (potential for it to be abused) is staring me right in the face and it's creeping me out.

Microsoft reckons the tech industry needs to work together in moderating online platforms

Microsoft's President has blogged their two cents on the whole "internet companies need to handle offensive content better" issue. The core of Microsoft's argument is that they should all work together (they being Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to create tools and store data that helps remove nasty shit off their services. Seems a bit stupid for each company to silo the technology they each desperately need. Microsoft uses the example of PhotoDNA being used to stop pedos and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) that maintains a hashed database of terrorist content. It was also interesting to note that Microsoft admitted that "gone are the days when tech companies can think of their platforms akin to a postal service without regard to the responsibilities embraced by other content publishers" - I don't think Facebook or Google have fully come to terms with that fact yet.

Software to auto-update ASUS computers thoroughly backdoored by hackers

Kaspersky Lab has picked up a backdoor installed by hackers in ASUS Live Update. This piece of software runs on an ASUS computer, grabs updates for drivers and installs them automatically. Dell, HP and heaps of other OEMs do the same thing. Someone managed to install a trojan into the Live Update software, sign it with a legitimate ASUS certificate and get it pushed out via the official ASUS servers. Approximately a million users around the world downloaded this dodgy version of ASUS Live Update, but the software only installed malicious updates to a hardcoded list of 600 unique MAC addresses. Dunno who they are or why they were targeted, but what a massive fuckup.

US$50m esports stadium getting built in Philadelphia

In another episode of "things as a kid I'd never think would happen", the city of Philadelphia and Comcast are gonna build a US$50m, 60,000 square feet (AU$70m/5,500sqm) arena dedicated to esports. Fusion Arena have 3,500 seats and be located in the same precinct as the Phillies MLB and Eagles NFL teams. It'll be the home ground of the Philadelphia Fusion professional Overwatch team that competes in the Overwatch League. Imagine if an esports league chucked a venue around the size of the Margaret Court (*spits*) Arena in Yarra Park near the MCG so a bunch of people can watch some other people play video games. That's what's going on here and it's amazing.

Not News, But Still Cool

Asus has a five thousand euro OLED monitor

OLED's all the rage in the TV and smartphone area, with rich colours and deep blacks and even backlighting - so why aren't there OLED computer monitors? I don't know, but ASUS is selling a portable OLED one now. The ProArt PQ22UC is pretty big for a portable display at 21.6", has a 4K UHD resolution (good to run at 200% DPI), 14-bit 3D LUT (1b+ colours), 99% of the DCI-P3 color space & HDR10 (things should look how their creator intended) and factory-calibrated to a Delta E < 2 accuracy (minimal tweaking required out of the box). It all runs off USB Type-C and comes with a folding case that also acts as a stand. Sounds great, but it sells for €5,160. Yeah. Five thousand euro. For a 21.6" monitor. Maybe that's why there's no OLED monitors.

You can use Google Docs as a blogging platform if you're desperate

Last week I shared how kiddies are using Google Docs to chat with their mates at school because it looks like they're doing work. Today I found this mad man using Google Docs as a blog. Sign up, link your Google Docs account to this bloke's service, click "new blog post" and a new Google Docs document appears in the frame. Type away, formatting as you would any other document, even collaborate with others - then push publish and boom, you've got a blog. Here's a post I prepared earlier. Shame you can't slap on your own URL, but yeah, what a piece of piss. It's never been easier to share your stupid thoughts with the world thanks to the power of the internet!

Cheap Optus and Telstra SIM cards, refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8+, S9, Pixel 2 and iPhone 7 Plus, Bose QC35 headphones

That's it, see ya Thursday! (Josh will be on Sizzle duty Wednesday)

 Let's Save Tony Orlando's House - Yo La Tengo