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Issue 54 – The Windswept One - Thursday, December 17, 2015

STAR WARS! I saw the Force Awakens last night with a bunch of nerds at IMAX Melbourne and it was pretty good if you put aside the continuity errors and gaping holes in Star Wars canon. Go watch it already before someone spoils it for ya.



NEWS

Uber X will be legal in NSW very soon
Uber X in NSW is going legit. The NSW government will be giving $20,000 each to owners of taxi plates, part of a massive $250m handout package that will be going to the taxi industry in NSW as commiserations for investing in an industry upended by technology. As good as this is for Uber, Uber are still ratbags and I dislike them and their entire corporation, but damn it’s a good service. I can’t wait to see Ozcabbie’s blistering hot thermonuclear mad and nude take on this.

The EU’s new privacy laws will make a big impact on how large tech companies handle our info
When the EU introduces a law, it tends to have impacts further than just the EU. If a company has to comply with something the EU does, it may as well make that action its standard across the world. This makes the EU’s latest privacy laws, targeted at US companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, relevant to all of us. According to the law, things like kids under 16 need parental consent to use social media, expanding “right to be forgotten” rules and huge fines for misusing private data or obtaining data without consent. Whether companies just use EU-only geo-targeting to adhere to the law or just roll it out for everyone will be interesting.

George Hotz made his own autonomous car in the space of a few weeks
Remember George Hotz? The kid who released the first iPhone jailbreak? He ended up working for Sony and a bunch of other companies, but now decided to make his own self-driving car. Yep, he rigged up an off the shelf Acura ILX to move itself around with no human interaction. Apparently it uses “deep learning” to watch the driver drive and emulate what a real driver does. I’ve you’ve never followed the antics of Hotz, this profile will be entertaining.

Philips blocks out non Philips bulbs from its Hue platform and nerds got very upset so Philips stopped doing that
The Philips Hue light bulbs are certified ZigBee devices. There are other bulbs, from companies like Osram and GE that also make ZigBee certified bulbs. Thanks to the Zigbee standard, non Philips bulbs could talk to a Philips Hue base station and be controlled via the Philips Hue app. Until a few days ago when Philips updated the firmware to only allow Philips bulbs. Outrage ensured and now Philips are backtracking. Don’t take things away from the nerds, it never ends well.

Slack has an app store now
Slack has opened an app directory for all the integrations that hook into it. There’s currently 160 apps, with things like Wunderlist, Dropbox and Google Calendar all available for you to use. Slack is also using some of it’s vast pile of VC money to invest in other developers who tie into Slack – very smart I reckon.


COOL SHIT

What the hell is PewDiePie?
If you’re like me and have little to no idea what the hell PewDiePie is, or why he’s such an influential figure in the media industry, this article is for you. Rolling Stone has dedicated a feature to him, explaining why this seemingly pathetic excuse for entertainment is so popular. This guy’s shtick (he’s actually pretty bright) is basically the obnoxious fuckwit from year 8 who the teacher would waste so much time trying to discipline, to the detriment of the rest of us without undiagnosed ADHD. Read the Rolling Stone thing, be a little less out of touch with the kids, even if it is awful.

Anandtech review the Nexus 6P
Anandtech has been pumping out the smartphone reviews lately, with the popular Nexus 6P getting the Anandtech treatment today. It’s probably the best Android phone out there if you don’t dig Samsung’s mangled version of Android, mainly due to the camera quality – Samsung does a better job with the image processing at times that the reviewer preferred. The iPhone 6s kills it (and pretty much every other phone) in all the benchmarks though. You can get a Samsung Galaxy S6 for around $650 these days, $300 less than the Nexus 6P, so keep that in mind if you’re deciding what to buy.

Plex is great and is now free on the Xbox One and PS4
Plex is fucken sweet and works so well for watching all the stuff you pirated off the Internet. Even me, who held on to using a PC under the TV for so long, has seen the error of his ways and moved to using Plex on an iPad which streams to a Chromecast. The reason I bring this up is that Plex is also on the Xbox One and PS4 and no longer requires a Plex Pass paid membership!

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)
–Anthony


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