Episode 456 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



What Happens To Google Employees When They Die

Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.

In addition to the 10-year pay package, surviving spouses will see all stocks vested immediately and any children will receive a $1,000 monthly payment from the company until they reach the age of 19 (or 23 if the child is a full-time student).

Stay in control with Block and Unsubscribe

you can now block specific email addresses in Gmail—starting today on the web, and over the next week on Android. Future mail will go to the spam folder (and you can always unblock in Settings).

A robot named Lucy is lining up to get an iPhone 6S in Australia

Lucy Kelly has outsourced the job to a telepresence robot, also called Lucy. It is an iPad attached to a Segway-type device that allows a person to be somewhat physically present despite not being there.

The robot arrived to take the position of fourth-in-line at the flagship Apple Store on George Street at 5 a.m. Thursday, with Kelly communicating through it from 6 a.m. It is believed to be the first time a robot has lined up and purchased an iPhone

Australia is the first country in the world to get the devices, due to the advantage of timezones.

She will wait in line for one night, in a special tent that comes complete with a charger to keep her juiced up and gives shelter from the rain. Kelly will be her face and voice for the duration. “I am staying here the whole time,” she said. If all goes to plan, the robot will then purchase the iPhone without any human interaction.


Paralysed man walks with brain-computer link

A brain-to-computer technology that can translate thoughts into leg movements has enabled a man paralysed from the waist down by a spinal cord injury to become the first such patient to walk without the use of robotics, doctors in Southern California reported on Wednesday US time.

The feat was accomplished using a system allowing the brain to bypass the injured spinal cord and instead send messages through a computer algorithm to electrodes placed around the patient’s knees to trigger controlled leg muscle movements.


How Volkswagen used trick software to cheat authorities

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had found evidence that the manufacturer cheated in emissions tests, and things have got worse ever since.

The company has already admitted its part in the scandal, and has recalled just under 500,000 cars in the USA – but over 11 million cars worldwide could be affected.

the company has already set aside €6.5bn to settle the potential cost of the crisis, but could also face fines of US$18 billion and possible legal action in the USA and Europe.

the EPA takes cars off the assembly line at random, and conducts a number of emissions tests, monitoring for polluting substances such as nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Usually carried out when the car is connected to a rolling road – or with one axle moving and the other stationary – the tests take place at a constant speeds, with little or no steering movement.

New evidence found by the EPA shows that Volkswagen has developed a piece of software designed to look out for these conditions, and to then run the engine in its most efficient configuration possible.

cheating benchmarks may be relatively unknown in the automotive industry, it’s been a common feature in technology – especially smartphones. Only last year, HTC admitted that its One M8 smartphone was able to detect benchmark software, and run the CPU flat out at the expense of battery life. It isn’t the only one either: Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 were able to detect the presence of benchmark software such as SunSpider, and run flat out when needed.

1955 VW 23-window Samba Deluxe

Ford’s smartwatch app connects your car to wrist

Ford has just introduced a new smartwatch app, allowing selected Ford owners to control their car using their wearable.

The catch? It currently only works for the following electric and hybrid cars – so if you have a regular car, you’re out of luck.  

  • Ford C-MAX Energi

  • Ford Focus Electric

  • Ford Fusion Energi

What does it do?

Available on watchOS and Android Wear, the MyFord Mobile app allows users to check the status of their cars, including battery charge level, estimated driving range, and even car location.

What’s more, the app also lets owners lock/unlock their cars, and will allow them to pre-engage the air conditioning – making the cabin the perfect temperature just before they enter the car.

If you do get low on range, the app will use Google Maps to helpfully guide you to the nearest charging station, and when you’re there, it’ll let you know when your car is fully charged.

Skype goes offline worldwide

Skype went offline for several hours this week leaving users worldwide unable to connect.

Skype said the fault meant users could not change their status settings or make calls using the desktop client.

Instant messages remained operational for those who could log in, and it was possible to use the Skype website to make calls during the outage.

No technical detail was provided as to the error. The company did not say if it would credit users with paid accounts who had been unable to make calls during the outage.

Skype for Business, formerly known as Lync, was not affected by the outage.

Devices crashing on iOS 9 update, say Apple users

A significant number of Apple customers are reporting their mobile devices have crashed after attempting to upload the new iOS 9 operating system, the latest in a line of launch glitches for the tech giant.

Twitter and other social media were awash with disgruntled customers reporting two distinct faults, with one appearing to be linked specifically to older models of Apple iPhones and iPads.


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