Episode 471 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Fire fears force Microsoft to recall Surface power cords

Microsoft is set to commence a mass recall of Microsoft Surface power cords, reportedly due to fire concerns.

“As a result of damage caused by AC power cords being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time, a very small proportion of Surface Pro customers have reported issues with their AC power cord,” said a Microsoft Australia spokesperson.

“We will be releasing details of how customers can obtain a free replacement cable shortly.”

The recall will reportedly include AC power supply units for all Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 devices sold before 15 July 2015.

Surface Pro 4, expected to be unaffected by the power supply recall, was released late last year but has been suffering from stock shortages in the Australian channel,


Microsoft to donate $1 billion of cloud services

Microsoft is set to donate US$1 billion in cloud services to non-profit organisations and universities.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the plan is to give access to the same cloud tools to non-profits, charities and researchers that might not be able to afford it.

The program is estimated to reach over 70,000 non-profit and non-governmental organisations globally over the next three years.

Services that will specifically be included are Microsoft Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite, CRM Online and Office 365. Researchers will also be granted free Azure storage under the Microsoft Azure for Research program.


Uber explores on-demand helicopters with Airbus

Uber Technologies is working with Airbus Group to provide on-demand helicopter services

Uber co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick said

“The point is if you can push a button and can get a ride, then why not push a button and get a helicopter,” Kalanick said talking to students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai.

Kalanick said India, where Uber last year committed to investing US$1 billion, holds one of the biggest opportunities for the company as more Indians start using smartphones.

US based Uber now has a 40 percent share in the Indian market compared to 4 percent same time last year,


Largest known prime number discovered in Missouri

The largest known prime number has been discovered by a computer at a university in Missouri in the US.

Prime numbers – such as two, three, five and seven – are divisible only by themselves and one, and play an important role in computer encryption.

The new prime is more than 22 million digits long, five million longer than the previous largest known prime.

Primes this large could prove useful to computing in the future.

The discovered prime is written as 2^74,207,281-1, which denotes two, multiplied by itself 74,207,280 times, with one subtracted afterwards.

Large prime numbers are important in computer encryption and help make sure that online banking, shopping and private messaging are secure, but current encryption typically uses prime numbers that are hundreds of digits long, not millions.

This prime is too large to currently be of practical value,” the Gimps project admitted in a statement.

However, searching for large primes is intensive work for computer processors and can have unexpected benefits.

“One prime project discovered that there was a problem in some computer processors that only showed up in certain circumstances,” said Dr Steven Murdoch, cybersecurity expert at University College London.

The start of the largest prime


Netflix shares jump as customers numbers surge

The firm said it added a record 5.59 million customers in the three months to December, bringing total member numbers to 74.76 million.

However, it said it missed its forecast for US subscriber growth.

Earlier this month, the firm said it had expanded to 130 more countries.

Despite its growing subscriber numbers, Netflix’s profits fell in the three months to December from a year earlier, although it said its earnings numbers were still positive.

“On earnings, we stayed profitable in Q4 despite, foreign exchange headwinds, and delivered operating income of $60m ($42.34m) and net income of $43m,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s shares have surged 124% in the last 12 months.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings


Minecraft to launch education edition

The product will offer teachers new ways to use the world-building video game in a range of subjects.

It says more than 7,000 classrooms around the world already use Minecraft in some form.

“Teachers are using Minecraft to do so many things, including teaching maths, science, religion and poetry,” Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s vice-president of worldwide education

MinecraftEdu already allows teachers to modify content in the game and use a shared library of education-themed assets.

Microsoft is promising to improve the experience by:

  • allowing characters created by the children to retain their characteristics between sessions

  • letting pupils take “photos” of their progress via an in-game camera, and then store them in an online book alongside their own notes. These can then act as tutorials for other children or be used by the teacher to score their progress

  • permitting children to download software that will allow them to continue playing the educational version of Minecraft outside school without having to buy their own copy of the game

To access the service, children and teachers each need their own Office 365 ID, which can also be used to provide access to the Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software.

Molecules in Minecraft


Do you understand the teen slang on Ask.fm?

Goat (Greatest Of All Time), Ootd (Outfit Of The Day), Pap (Post A Picture) and “Netflix and chill” (a hook-up) all made the list.

Bad means good, Savage means extremely good, No chill means irrational

Tbr – to be rude (before writing something harsh)

Slept – knocking someone out, missing something good or being high

Ship – relationship

:3 – symbol which represents the cat-like face made by animal characters when they say something clever, sarcastic, or comment on something cute

Idek – I don’t even know…

Ikr – I know, right?

A frog and coffee cup emojis together – I’m just saying…/But that’s none of my business

Smh – shaking my head

Dime – a kind of approval rating on a score of 1-10


Sixty-one agencies want access to Aussie metadata

A total of 61 agencies have requested access to the telecommunications non-content data, a freedom of information request by privacy advocate Geordie Guy has revealed.

Four agency names were redacted, as it would be “contrary to the public interest” to release them, according to the Attorney-General’s Department.

The agencies in question include federal bodies like the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Clean Energy Regulator, the Tax Office, the National Measurement Institute, the Australian Financial Security Authority and the departments of Agriculture, Defence, Environment, Health, Human Services, Social Services and Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The list also includes state bodies such as the Bankstown City Council, Racing NSW and Racing Queensland, Greyhound Racing Victoria, the Victorian arm of the RSPCA, the Victorian Taxi Services Commission, and numerous state government departments.

The Attorney-General has the power to declare an agency a criminal law enforcement agency for the purposes of accessing the data for 40 days only.

hat list includes the AFP, state police forces and anti-corruption commissions, and Border Force, as well as regulators like the Crime Commissions, the ACLEI and the ACCC

The scheme requires telecommunications providers to store certain customer data like personal details, billing information, IP addresses, location and traffic data, and upload and download volumes, among other things, for government agencies to access without a warrant.

The government had cut down on the amount of agencies able to ask telcos for data in the lead up to the introduction of the scheme, which had previously numbered around 80.

Previously the list had included the likes of local councils, environmental bodies and the RSPCA, which were removed after privacy and civil rights advocates questioned why such bodies needed access to the data.

Corporate regulator ASIC was one of those taken off the list and applied to be put back on.


Shayne – 210116 (PLEASE LEAVE)

Netflix closes in on VPN loophole, Unblock-us.com is unfazed

  • Despite the presence of Netflix locally, Australians are among users who use a virtual private network (VPN) or unblocking site to access the more content-rich version of Netflix in the US.

  • The fact users get around this geoblock has aggravated Netflix’s local competitors because in the US, Netflix often has the rights to movies and TV series that these local competitors have Australian rights to.

  • On the back of pressure from these rivals, Netflix several times has signalled an intention to close this loophole and stop customers geo-skipping out of the country they are in; but these attempts have seemed half-hearted.

  • Even now, an Australian Netflix customer with a local account can access US content with the same account. You can sign up to Netflix with an Australian credit card in Australia and still access the wider US Netflix media library using an unblocking service. – Confirms what Erik said.

  • In a blogpost this week, Netflix vice president of content delivery architecture David Fullagar said the streaming service would move to nullify the unblocking services, thereby forcing viewers to watch Netflix content available from where they are watching.

  • But one of the unblocking services has signalled it will fight the move. Unblock-us.com charges users around $5 per month for a service that lets them choose which country’s Netflix library they wish to access. They select it from a drop down menu. They also offer geo-selection of other streaming services such as Hulu.

  • A spokesperson for unblock-us.com indicated they are unfazed by Netflix’s decree and will fight the move.

  • The spokesperson said it was the company’s mission to provide its customers with open and free access to content from anywhere around the world.

  • Netflix says that over time it hopes to offer its content everywhere and, as The Australian reports, US companies such as Google are seeking for government to rewrite copyright law they regard as more appropriate in the digital age.

  • But Netflix also faces the prospect of local media companies forming alliances with overseas content providers to collectively outbid the US streaming service, or make buying content much more expensive.

Apple experimenting with Li-Fi technology on future iPhones

  • AN eagle-eyed Twitter user has spotted a code that reveals Apple is experimenting with some awesome technology for future iPhones.

  • When looking at the operating system’s library cache file — a place to store something temporarily in a computing environment — Chase Fromm discovered the code.

  • “Li-Fi testing is already imminent. May appear in the next iPhone 7 according to iOS code in iOS 9.1 firmware,” the user wrote.

  • Li-Fi refers to light based technology that delivers high-speed communications.

  • Data is transmitted by rapidly modulating a light source, which is then received by a photosensitive detector before being reconstructed into an electronic signal.

  • This method is distinctly different from established forms of wireless communication such Wi-Fi because it doesn’t use radio frequency signals to transmit data.

  • In November last year, an independent study tested Li-Fi capabilities and discovered it was able to transmit data at 1GB per second, making it 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.

Trump Says He Will Force Apple To Manufacture In The US Even Though That Makes Absolutely No Sense

  • US GOP presidential candidate and angry sweet potato Donald Trump claims he’ll be able to change Apple’s entire manufacturing system if he is elected president.

  • First, in the span of a few sentences, he insisted that he’d impose a 35 per cent tax on businesses producing goods overseas while claiming to support free trade. At the end of his rambling speech, he said this:

  • “We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers in this country instead of other countries.”

  • The US president does not have the power to ban a company from outsourcing, nor does the president have the power to completely overhaul the global economy.

  • Trump could advocate for legislation designed to prevent outsourcing. But he would have to champion laws that would fundamentally alter free trade to make it financially advantageous for Apple to upend its manufacturing and supply chain.

  • Apple outsources because it maximizes profit, but that is not the only reason. Asia’s electronics supply chains are much larger than what the US has to offer.

Microsoft leaks new HoloLens details

  • Microsoft’s augmented reality headset called the HoloLens has already won over a number of fans eager to try the device, but details about how it works have been scarce.  However, a few more bits of information about the HoloLens leaked during a recent event in Tel Aviv, Israel, courtesy of Bruce Harris, a technical evangelist at Microsoft.

  • The device will offer roughly five to five and a half hours of battery life when working on Word documents or email, and about two and a half hours when using it for highly intensive computational work involving detailed renderings. – Not sure why you would wear it using word???

  • That video that disclosed these details has since been removed, but in it Harris also confirms that the HoloLens doesn’t get warm because it was “built to dissipate heat,” and that the device has “no option for a wired connection.”

  • Harris also confirmed that the HoloLens can connect to anything with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, includes 3D audio and will only offer English support for the first version.

  • He also addressed questions regarding the HoloLens’ field of view (FOV), saying that the experience is like having a 15-inch monitor about “this far” from your face, at which point he holds his hands about a foot in front of his face.

  • Back in December, Microsoft made the HoloLens available for the public to test at its Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan. But at $3,000 a pop, the device is really more for developers rather than the general consumer market.

  • The HoloLens is scheduled to begin shipping to developers in the first quarter of 2016.

 

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