Issue 861

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019

In This Issue


Tesla announce latest "full self driving" hardware & robotaxi service

Early this morning, Tesla kicked off its "Autonomy Day", where it gave the public an update on its self-driving vehicle plans. The first part of the day was dedicated to new custom designed hardware that Tesla claim will achieve the second part of the day - the Tesla Network robotaxi system. Elon Musk got up in front of investors and said with a straight face that in 2020, your Tesla could autonomously drive to a customer and take them where they want to go, earning you money. Basically Level 5 autonomy - the holy grail - in about a year's time. There wasn't a single independent demo of any of this stuff today and most experts reckon Musk is talking shit.

Marcus Hutchins, aka MalwareTech, pleads guilty to making bank malware

Remember Marcus Hutchins, aka MalwareTech, the bloke who "saved" the world from the WannaCry ransomware worm by taking over its command & control centre, then who was arrested not long after "on suspicion of authoring and/or selling Kronos, a strain of malware designed to steal online banking credentials"? He's now "pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to his career in security". The malware in question was designed to steal people's online banking details and he sold it to crooks, which is a big no-no. He hasn't been sentenced yet but the max penalty is 5 years in jail and a $250k fine. Comments on the linked article seem to align with the view, "you do the crime, you do the time".

Some people at Microsoft reckon they should stop diversity hiring programs

Quartz are reporting on posts from an internal Microsoft message board where staff (including some women) reckon that white & Asian men are being discriminated against when it comes to employment opportunities at Microsoft, beacuse Microsoft offers financial incentives for hiring a "diverse" range of people. Financial incentives aside, it all boils down to the tried and old argument that women aren't suited for engineering jobs and/or find joy in other types of work, so why bother with all this inclusion stuff at all - forgetting that there's decades of bullshit social conditioning clogging things up.

Samsung Galaxy Fold release delayed due to problems uncovered by reviewers

Samsung put out a press release about the Galaxy Fold's "issues" last night: "While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience. To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks". It's weird that Samsung didn't pick up on the fact people would pull the protective screen off until it got in the hands of reviewers. Anyway, here's a teardown of the Galaxy Fold thanks to someone in China.

Melbourne to get a National Centre of AI Excellence if the ALP win federal election

If the ALP win the federal election in a few weeks, Melbourne will get a "National Centre of AI Excellence", thanks to the state government chipping in $1m to go with $3m the federal government has up grabs. According to the ALP, the centre "will be a platform for collaboration between government, educational institutions and industry" and citing a Google study, claims AI could "provide the Australian economy with a $2.2 trillion boost". I reckon they should combine the National Centre of AI Excellence with the Australian Institute for Blockchain Studies to really multiply the impact of AI in the economy. Placing them in the same building will make my inevitable tech news induced public mental breakdown and feces throwing incident much more convenient.

Not News, But Still Cool

Review of Sydney's on-demand bus service

Whenever I heard some NSW state politician rant about "on-demand" buses as the future of transport, I didn't know what they were talking about. Gough Lui went on one of these on-demand buses that are now active in the Hills district of Sydney and wrote up a great review of the experience. Long story short, it's Uber pool, but with more people as you're on a bus. You use an app on your phone to request a pickup or dropoff to/from the train station and it automagically determines a route and which bus you should jump on. I really like it and wish there was similar in Victoria.

Camera on the Huawei P30 Pro is a ball tearer

Anandtech's done a big review of the Huawei P30 & P30 Pro smartphone. If you didn't know, the P30 Pro is Huawei's latest flagship device and has four cameras on the back - a 40MP f/1.6 main camera, 20MP f/2.2 wide angle camera an 8MP 5x optical zoom (135mm equiv) camera and a "time of flight" sensor (mostly used for background blurring photo modes). All those cameras add up to a really awesome device to take photos on, that also happens to be a fast (for Android) smartphone. It'd take a lot to drag me away from the iOS ecosystem, but a folding (that doesn't break) P30 Pro would absolutely get me to sell my iPad and iPhone.

Cheap Kindle, Xiaomi powerbank, Samsung 32GB microSD & FlatIcon vector icons

  • Use the code PRESS to get a Kindle Paperwhite for only $161.82 from The Good Guy's eBay store (postage is $5.26 or free pickup)
  • Use the code APP5OFF to get $5 off anything on eBay. Combine it with your eBay Plus subscription for free postage and there's some decent stuff. Xiaomi 2S power bank for $12.95 or Samsung 32GB EVO Plus microSD card for $4.25.
  • Get a 7-day premium subsciption to FlatIcon (high vector icons) for $2. They have a commercial attribution-free licence and the licence applies even after you've cancelled the subscription.