Episode 465 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Avoid Star Wars spoilers online with this handy Chrome extension

This extension blurs a page if ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ spoilers are detected It also adds a cool Stormtrooper helmet button to your browser, which toggles blocking on and off in case your curiosity grows too strong.

This handy extension keeps you from accidentally reading pages with Star Wars spoilers


Dell admits to security hole in new laptops

Dell said on Monday US time a security hole exists in some of its recently shipped laptops that could make it easy for hackers to access users’ private data.

A pre-installed program on some newly purchased Dell laptops that can only be removed manually by consumers that may allow hackers to read encrypted messages and redirect browser traffic to spoofs of real websites such as Google or those belonging to a bank, among other attacks.

Dell declined to say how many computers or which specific models are affected. The software began getting installed on laptops in August, according to a spokeswoman. The company also said future systems would not contain the bug.

Dell said it would provide customers with instructions to permanently remove the certificate by email and on its support website, a process that will likely be highly technical.


NSW digital driver’s licence due by end of 2018

Recreational fishers and bar staff will be the first to benefit from the NSW government’s push to digitise state-issued licences, while NSW drivers will have to wait until the end of 2018 to get fully electronic car licences.

the real milestone for NSW residents will be the introduction of digital driver’s licences, which aren’t expected to be introduced until the end of 2018

Another five common licences, such as boat licences and proof-of-age cards, will be digitised progressively before early 2017.

The government’s digital push will also allow NSW citizens to apply, update and renew their various licences online and via a smartphone, potentially removing all face-to-face transactions from the process. The state currently issues 23 million licences every year, across 769 different licence types.

NSW digital driver's licence due by end of 2018


NSW citizens face jail for possessing files for 3D-printed guns

NSW citizens who are found to possess digital files for the printing of 3D guns face up to 14 years’ jail under new laws just passed by the state government.

Among other things, the bill amends the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 to make possessing “digital blueprints for the manufacture of prohibited weapons on 3D printers or electronic milling machines” an offence.

The maximum penalty for the offence in 14 years prison, even if the computer containing the files is located outside of NSW.

In May this year the Queensland Labor government decided not to proceed with legisation to regulate and penalise the manufacture of 3D-printed guns.


Apple admits to iPad Pro freezing issue

Last week, after the new iDevices became available for sale, customers swamped Apple support forums complaining the tablet would shut down when plugged into charge and only come back to life after a hard reboot.

Apple late last week posted a support page for the issue, advising users to force restart the device – hold down the home and power button simultaneously – to revive the iPad Pro.


Google offers YouTube copyright support

Google says it will help fund up to $1m in legal fees for some content creators who have received copyright takedown notices.

It will step in if it feels their material is considered to be fair use.

“We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns

“We’re doing this because we recognise that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter-notification process and the potential for litigation that comes with it.

“While we can’t offer legal protection to every video creator – or even every video that has a strong fair use defence – we’ll continue to resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns as part of our normal processes.”

YouTube logo and webcam

AMD Rectifies Crashes in Diablo 3 and GTA 5 with New Crimson Drivers

  • AMD took steps to show how they’ve listened to the community and improved the user experience for gamers.

  • Performance in games is a bit of a priority for AMD’s customers, along with no crashing in GTA5 & Diablo3. GO FIGURE!

  • The Crimson software is a bit of a big deal for AMD

  • The new drivers add or improve the following:

    • o   Free Sync support

    • o   New Flip Queue size (reducing latency by around a 3rd from the 15.7.1 Catalyst drivers)

    • o   Frame Pacing for DirectX 9

    • o   20% more performance than 15.7.1 Catalyst Driver with DirectX 12

    • o   Support for Ubuntu 15.04

    • o   Improved power efficiencies

    • o   Support for Frame Rate Target Control in DX9, DX10 & DX11 applications

  • The Crimson drivers are expected to be pushed out very soon; they’re already available to the press, so a public release can’t be far away.

Ahmed Mohamed demands $15m compensation and written apology following homemade clock arrest

  • The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texan schoolboy who was arrested after taking a homemade clock to school, has demanded $15m in compensation and written apologies from the local mayor and police chief.

  • The teenager made international headlines in September after he was detained when he took a homemade clock to school. A teacher contacted police after claiming the clock looked like a bomb.

  • The teenager and his father claimed he had been a victim of Islamophobia.

  • After he was arrested, the 14-year was subsequently invited to the White House by Barack Obama who tweeted about his “cool clock”.

  • The youngster later met Mr Obama when he attended a science evening at the White House, albeit without his clock.

Super Fish-Like Rogue Certificates ‘Found Pre-installed’ On Dell PCs

  • A number of Dell users say they found self-signed root certificates on their laptops and want to know why and how they are installed, citing security fears.

  • Dell has been accused of pre-installing a self-signed root certification authentication (CA) onto its laptops, drawing comparisons with the Super Fish malware scandal that engulfed Lenovo earlier this year.

  • It is been labelled a serious security issue as any Dell laptop with the rogue certificate has the same key and could be vulnerable to attackers.

  • A user on Reddit said discovered his new XPS 15 laptop had the ‘eDellRoot’ certificate while troubleshooting his machine and said other Dell owners had found the same thing.

  • These claims were backed up by Joe Nord, a product manager for Citrix, who said he found the same certificate on a Dell Inspiron 5000 series laptop bought in October while setting up his computer and said his thoughts immediately turned to Superfish.

  • At this stage, it is unclear how the certificate has been installed. Hicks says it is a result of Dell’s ‘bloatware, but Nord said it could not be confirmed Dell was responsible.

  • TechWeekEurope has contacted Dell and will update this article if we receive a response. Hicks did speak to Dell on Twitter and was told it was a “trusted” certificate, although later correspondence suggested Dell was speaking to its product team to find out why the certificate was present.

Netflix is developing a Lost in Space remake

  • Netflix is remaking the cult ’60s series Lost in Space, executive producer Kevin Burns confirmed

  • Legendary TV’s remake is being written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold) and produced by Game of Thrones vet Neil Marshall, who’s in line to direct.

  • The original series, which lasted three seasons and 83 episodes, is set in a futuristic 1997 and follows the Robinson family’s space exploration.

NBN Might Have To Replace Optus’ Messy, Broken Cable Network

  • Remember the cool $800 million NBN Co dropped on buying the Optus HFC network? Leaked documents have revealed that the NBN Co is thinking about replacing it entirely. Why? Because it’s such crappy infrastructure.

  • According to documents leaked byFairfax, the NBN Co is thinking about replacing — or overbuilding — the mostly awful Optus HFC network.

  • Issues include:

    • High “noise” interference on the line affecting speeds

    • Oversubscribed nodes that require splitting (which is expensive and labor-intensive)

    • Old equipment that needs replacing

    • Network complexity

    • Optus’ cable modem termination systems can’t support NBN capacity

  • According to the document, the NBN Co is considering overbuilding it with either Telstra’s HFC network, or replacing it entirely with either fibre-to-the-basement, fibre-to-the-home (unlikely), or fibre-to-the-node.

  • Overbuilding the network would lead to a cost blowout of anywhere from $150 million to $375 million, and would also cause the NBN Co to miss its FY17 and FY18 targets.

 

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