Episode 479 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Xbox Finally Opens the Door for Multiplayer Across Consoles

Chris Charla, director of the independent games program for Xbox One and Windows 10, announced today that they’re enabling developers to support online play across different “platforms”—a videogame industry euphemism for other gaming consoles.

Charla went on to say that Rocket League, the utterly brilliant car soccer game by Psyonix, would be one of the first to take advantage of the new functionality, “enabling cross-network play between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.”

The big question, at this moment, is whether or not Sony would consider playing ball.


Android fingerprint scanners can be fooled by an inkjet printer

Researchers tested the fingerprint scanners on two leading Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S6and Huawei Honor 7, and found that both devices could be unlocked using a fingerprint printed from a regular inkjet printer.

The researchers were able to unlock the phones after scanning the fingerprints of several fingers and printing them using a special conductive ink and onto paper which is used normally used to print electronic circuits.

In a video, the researchers demonstrate just how easily they were able to take prints off the phones themselves and then unlock each device.

The Huawei Honor 7 and Samsung Galaxy S6 use similar fingerprint scanners as many other Android devices, including those found on the LG G5 and across Google’s Nexus range, so it is possible the same technique could be used to unlock a whole host of Android smartphones

researchers highlight in the their video, previously successful attempts at fooling the fingerprint scanners on the iPhone 5s required the use of a 2.5D print made out of liquid latex or wood glue.Fingerprint scanners

Apple reportedly goes Google cloud, cuts reliance on AWS

Multiple Sources – so apparently Alphabet’s Google has quietly scored a major coup in its campaign to become an enterprise cloud computing powerhouse, landing Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform

JB Hi-Fi builds NBN army

JB Hi-Fi is training sales leaders from across its 7,000-strong workforce to resell Telstra NBN services, CRN can reveal.

Sales and management staff will go through a 12-week program prior to NBN being deployed in their area. Training is conducted during normal business operations and includes approximately eight to 10 hours of content delivery.

A JB Hi-Fi spokesperson said the goal was to provide staff with the specific tools to be able to qualify and service customer’s requirements when signing up to the NBN with Telstra.

Anonymous declares ‘total war’ on Donald Trump

Hacktivist group Anonymous has doubled down on its threats to interfere with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, declaring “total war” against the candidate in a YouTube video.

In the online video, Anonymous establishes 1 April as a target date to launch a cyberattack against TrumpChicago.com, the official site of Trump’s Chicago-based condominiums, and attempts to recruit the hacker community at large to take down other Trump online assets and dig up dirt on the controversial businessman.

“You say what your current audience wants to hear but in reality you don’t stand for anything except for your personal greed and power,” the voice in the video continued.

A link in the YouTube video sent users to a Ghostbin page listing the following Trump websites, as well as support sites: DonaldJTrump.com, Trump.com, TrumpHotelCollection.com, TrumpTowerNY.com, TrumpVegasCondos.com, DonaldTrump2016online.com and CitizensforTrump.com.

The webpage also lists Trump’s alleged social security number, birth date, cell phone number and other personal information.

I am offering, freely and without constraint, my services to his campaign in helping design a cybersecurity platform that will, in the event of his election, help protect America when the cyberwar that lurks on our horizon becomes a reality…….John Mcafee


Dick Smith vendor awaits Kogan’s next move

Dick Smith’s remaining stock was not part of the sale of assets to Kogan revealed Tuesday morning, CRN has learned.

Kogan was revealed as the winning bidder for selected intellectual property from Dick Smith, with the deal including Dick Smith’s brand and trademarks, online business, customer and loyalty databases, websites and domain names. However, the effect on suppliers when Kogan revives Dick Smith’s online retail store on 1 June is as yet unknown.

Kogan said that “suppliers who previously refused to supply Kogan to avoid a backlash from traditional retailers, such as Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi, may be more willing to supply DickSmith.com.au”.

Kogan founder Ruslan Kogan said he would continue to run Dick Smith’s online store as a separate entity to his own business.

“Dick Smith is an iconic Australian brand and we’re thrilled to be able to keep it alive, as well as Aussie owned and run. We will invest in building and nurturing the Dick Smith community, and honour the great legacy of this Australian business.

Victoria trials satellite scans to detect water leaks from space

State Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, says up to 160 million litres of drinking water is lost to leaks in Victoria every day. This equates to 12 percent of the total annual water revenue for Victoria.

Victoria’s 17 water corporations and VicWater partnered with an Israeli company called Utilis to undertake a pilot in December that would verify whether they could in fact detect leaks through scans from space.

A 3000 square kilometre area of north Melbourne was scanned from the Alos-2 satellite, operated by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), orbiting some 650 kilometres above ground.

Microwave reflectometry, using electromagnetic signals with a wavelength that can penetrate the ground, is deployed by the Utilis system to detect a spectral signature that matches drinking water.

The Utilis system can pick up leaks as small as 85 to 246 millilitres per minute. It found 18 leaks in just four days in different Melbourne suburbs during the pilot.

Foxtel, Village Roadshow want IP address, URL piracy site blocking

Representatives for Foxtel, Village Roadshow, Telstra, Optus, TPG and M2 appeared in court this week as part of the first test of new legislation allowing rights holders to apply for an order to have a piracy-facilitating website blocked for Australian users.

The two content owners launched the first court action seeking to make use of the website-blocking legislation – passed into law last year – in February.

Foxtel and Village Roadshow are separately seeking to restrict local access to The Pirate Bay, SolarMovie, Torrentz, Torrentound and IsoHunt websites, which they claim exist solely to facilitate copyright infringement.

The ISPs have put forward their case for blocking at the domain name system (DNS) level, while Foxtel and Village Roadshow are pushing for blocking of IP addresses and URLs.

Foxtel, Village Roadshow want IP address, URL piracy site blocking


Apple appoints Cookie Monster as its spokesman

Optus to launch 24-hour EPL channel…but only for its own customers

Australia is getting its first ever 24-hour soccer channel. But you’ll need to be an Optus customer

It will deliver the games including an EPL app, website and subscription TV channel for Fetch TV. As part of the announcement, the telco also confirmed it has partnered with SBS to air the 2018 FIFA World Cup on its platforms as part of a “sub-licence” from the free-to-air broadcaster.

Optus says it will announce pricing mid-year. The telco is advising that fans interested in accessing EPL can“register their interest” online to get “news, offers [and] pricing

Watch a cancer operation at any angle via Google Cardboard

St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London next month will live-stream an operation on a cancer patient in 360-degree video so that it can be viewed by anyone in the world with a virtual-reality headset, including bargain-priced ones like Google Cardboard.

The live stream is set to be a world’s first,

STUART – 17.3.16


Munzee is the next generation in global scavenger hunt games.

Track down QR Codes hidden in the real world and capture them for points. Whether you are a casual player, an avid explorer, or a hardcore competition enthusiast, Munzee helps you rediscover the world around you.

Munzee is a freemiumscavenger hunt game where places have to be found in the real world. The game is similar to Geocaching but uses QR code technology, in addition to device GPS location, to prove the find instead of a logbook. Launched in Texas in 2011, the game caught on first in Germany, along with California and Michigan. It is now played in more than 188 countries around the world, and there is at least one physical Munzee deployed on every continent, including Antarctica.

With over 4 million deployed worldwide, there is bound to be a munzee hiding nearby!


The IKEA effect: Building your own robot makes you love it more

Next time you assemble a set of shelves, see how you feel afterwards. Accomplished? Proud of yourself? That’s called the IKEA effect, and it’s well-known to the furniture industry.

Now, however, researchers at Penn State University have found that the same principle applies to robots. People who took part in a study on robot assembly tended to feel more positive about the machines if they helped to make them.

In the research, 80 undergraduate students were split into groups. Some were asked to make several hardware and software modifications to a robot, including adding a battery and setting up the software. The others watched as a researcher set it up. Afterwards, they interacted with it for a few minutes and watched it perform a dance.

Shyam Sundar, who presented the findings at the Human-Robot interaction conference in New Zealand, said: “We guessed that if you find [the IKEA] effect in objects like furniture, you would find that effect in interactive media and especially robots.”

‘Damnit, there’s a piece missing’

But they also found something that IKEA-assemblers will be familiar with – participants who had difficulty assembling or programming their robots were less likely to rate the bot highly.

Sundar says that robot makers should take this phenomenon into account when they’re packing up their bots.

“The manufacturer should give the customer a sense of ownership and a sense of accomplishment, but without making the process feel too painful because if the perceived process costs are too great, robot evaluation is going to suffer.”

Uber’s New Family Profiles Lets Up to 10 Riders Share One Account

Today, Uber launched their version of a family ride sharing plan, which allows you to share your account and payment options with nine other people. The best part is those nine people can be family, friends, or coworkers.

That’s right. Even though the new feature is called Family Profiles, you get to decide who is family. Once the feature is live in your area and you have the latest version of the Uber app, head to Menu and choose Settings. Find “Add a Family Profile” and pick the contacts you’d like to add to your account. It could be a loved one who can’t drive on their own, your kid at college who needs a way to always get home safe, or even some coworkers or employees who are traveling. They’ll receive an invitation from you, and once they accept it, they’ll be able to request rides from their phone with your account and payment methods. Whoever created the Family Profile will always receive receipts when their account is used. On their blog, Uber notes that Family Profiles will go live today in Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix, but will be rolling out elsewhere soon.

The best drone racer in the world just won $250,000

What did you do with your weekend? 15-year-old Luke Bannister just won $250,000 by beating out 150 teams in the first World Drone Prix, held in Dubai. Drone racing is now a very real thing, with racers using camera-mounted navigation to steer their craft around a track — and through or around obstacles. Even if you didn’t place first, the Drone Prix offered a prize pool totaling $1 million.

The teen beat home favorites Dubai Dronetek into second place, but for those looking to make their fortune, plenty other races and chances to strike it rich are cropping up. We’ll see y’all in Hawaii this October forDrone Worlds‘ championship race — and that $200,000 prize. I just need to figure out how to fix this whole motion sickness thing…


US Army turns to phone app to prevent base attacks

Neighborhood watch apps aren’t just for civilian streets. The US Army has forged a deal with CloseWatch to use a mobile crime reporting app,iWatch Army, to prevent mass shootings and other crimes at over 20 domestic bases. The software forwards tips (based on the FBI’s own crime codes) to the appropriate unit in less than 8 seconds, or faster than a 911 call. It also has its own notifications, so you can get an alert if there’s a credible threat. While iWatch Army isn’t meant to replace emergency services, it could be crucial to catching terrorists before they’re ready to strike.

Shayne – 17/3/16

The gloves are off: FBI argues it can force Apple to turn over iPhone source code

  • Dept of Justice filed its response to Apple’s appeal by claiming it could compel Apple to hand over the source code for IOS itself so the government could make the modifications.

  • The DoJ is accusing Apple of using the security of the phone as a marketing ploy.  The second sentence of the filing reads: “This burden, which is not unreasonable, is the direct result of Apple’s deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant.”

  • FBI also accused Apple of being a literal threat to American democracy, writing: “Apple’s rhetoric is not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights: the courts, the Fourth Amendment, longstanding precedent and venerable laws, and the democratically elected branches of government.”

  • The main argument is over how much of a burden it is for Apple to either break the security of IOS or provide the source code for IOS.

  • FBI also stated that it had not gone after the source code thus far because this would also require Apple to hand over its Private Electronic Signature, indicating that it was doing Apple a favour, but it would go down that road if required.

  • The story then went on to discuss how other companies chose to fold rather than comply with the government’s demands (PRISM) to allow them through any security in their products – Lavabit a secure email provider.

Dick Smith Extended Warranties Will Be Honoured

  • The company that provided extended warranties for Dick Smith from 2008 up until the retailer’s closure in February has confirmed it will continue to honour valid claims across Australia and New Zealand.  The Warranty Group has stated this includes claims sold before and after the chain went into receivership.

  • Online retailer Kogan had purchased Dick Smith’s online business.

  • Geeks Interrupted stated that customers will be contacted & given the chance to be removed from the customer database before it is given to any potential buyer.

How To Find A Hidden Battery Report Feature On Your Windows 10 Laptop

  • Windows 10 (like its predecessor, Windows 8.1) comes with a hidden battery report feature that you can only access from the command line.

  • The report provides detailed readouts on the usage, status, and health of your laptop’s battery.

  • To generate the report, launch a command prompt window with administrative privileges by right-clicking on the Start button and choosing Command Prompt (Admin). Type out:powercfg /batteryreport /output “C:\battery_report.html”

  • your finished report can be found in the root directory of the C: drive (or wherever you specified).

  • You get information on the full specifications of the installed battery, as well as recent usage and battery capacity charts. Battery life estimates is an interesting section to check to see if you’re getting the time between charges specified by the manufacturer.

Windows 7 users complain of unprovoked Windows 10 auto-upgrades

  • As Microsoft auto-upgrades more PCs to Windows 10, some users are complaining that they weren’t adequately notified.

  • Reports of unwanted Windows 10 upgrades have been circulating for the past few days after last “Patch Tuesday”

  • These users say they never approved or initiated the upgrade, and were dragged away from their Windows 7 (or perhaps Windows 8) installs anyway.

  • Last October, the company announced that it would reclassify Windows 10 as a “Recommended” update from older versions starting in early 2016, at which point many more users would get the upgrade without explicit permission.

  • Early 2016 turned out to be Feb 1.

  • Recommended update looks like, this.

  • First, users will receive a notification saying their PCs are scheduled to receive Windows 10 in the next three or four days.

  • Users can click a small link to cancel or postpone the update, but simply closing the window will cause the notification to appear again one hour before the scheduled update time.

  • If users don’t cancel or postpone within that timeframe, the update will begin automatically.

  • The only way to back out of the Windows 10 update is to “Decline” the End User License Agreement that appears during the installation. This will cause the system to roll back to the previous Windows version.

  • For users who haven’t upgraded yet, head to Windows Update in the Control Panel, and uncheck the box under Recommended updates, which reads “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates.”


Google Gets Apple to Jump Aboard Its Cloud Business (Though It May Not Last)

By Mark Bergen


March 16, 2016, 6:13 PM PDT

In its bid to raise its name in cloud computing services, Google nabbed a big-name customer: Apple. The iPhone-maker recently started storing portions of its iCloud and services data with Google’s cloud platform, according to sources familiar with the deal.

It’s a win for Google, which is gunning for larger companies as cloud customers. But it might be short-lived, as it looks like Apple is also simultaneously building out its own system to bring data stored on its millions of devices in house.

Currently, much of Apple’s iCloud luggage sits with Amazon Web Services (AWS) the leading cloud provider by a long mile, and also with Microsoft’s Azure too.CRN, the publication which first reported the news, claims that Apple is trimming its reliance on AWS by turning to Google. At minimum Apple would seem to be adding Google to the mix.

Apple and Google both declined to comment.

Amazon, which often doesn’t disclose the identity of its customers issued a statement, implying that Apple hadn’t defected. “It’s kind of a puzzler to us because vendors who understand doing business with enterprises respect NDAs [non-disclosure agreements] with their customers and don’t imply competitive defection where it doesn’t exist.”

For the record Apple disclosed its reliance on AWS and on Azure in a2014 whitepaper.

CRN pegged Apple’s spending with Google between $400 and $600 million. One source simply said it was a “significant” amount. If the CRN report is accurate and the revenue figure refers to an annual rate, that would be significant for Google! The search giant doesn’t disclose its cloud numbers, but some analysts have pegged its total revenue last year at around $500 million.

For Apple, though, the deal might portend a move to cut costs ahead of creating its own cloud storage system. Google’s cloud team is in deal-making mode, aggressively seeking to bring in new customers to use its cloud services, and may have sweetened the deal — or been more willing than AWS and Azure to concede to Apple’s demands. (And Apple, if anything, is good at aggressive demand-making.)

Then there’s Apple’s next step. Morgan Stanley, in a note last month, laid out the tea leaves: Apple has announced three data centers opening soon, and spent an estimated $1 billion last year on AWS. It’s a logical move for Apple if it wants more independence from its tech rivals. And it’s one Apple should make to store the growing media libraries from its mobile, TV and TBD products.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple already has a team working on this; it’s known internally as “McQueen,” as in Steve. It’s unclear if that project will materialize or when. But a source tells Re/code that the codename refers to Apple’s intent sometime in the next few years to break its reliance on all three outside cloud providers in favor of its own soup-to-nuts infrastructure.

Apple has reckoned, one source says, that given the fees it is paying Amazon and Microsoft, it could break even with its own data centers within about three years, and not have the headache of negotiating with companies it considers rivals in other areas of its business.

In the interim, the deal is a boost for Google, whichhas very quickly accelerated its enterprise business after hiring industry bigwigDiane Greene to run it in November. To date, the company’s cloud has largely targeted startups and small businesses, but is making a concerted sales push for larger clients. Last month, Google announced it hadsigned on Spotify.


Apple Leak Reveals First ‘iPhone 7 Pro’ Images

TheiPhone SE launches next week givingAppleAAPL +1.36% fans the upgraded 4-inch smartphone they’ve long craved. But a beast will follow it…  

The beast in question is the ‘iPhone 7 Pro’, a new 5.5-inch flagship device that will sit above both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus when the three phones are released in September. It’s calling card? Arevolutionary dual lens camera. And now MacRumorsclaims to have attained the first photo of it.

As you might expect for a device not due to be released 6 months, I suspect we’re looking at a prototype here but it ties in with thegrowing consensus that the iPhone 7 models will carry over much of the iPhone 6/6S design.

iPhone 7 Pro leaked photo (left) and matching Feld & Volk render (right). Image credits: MacRumors and Feld & Volk

Interestingly the discovery has also prompted aftermarket iPhone modification companyFeld & Volk to release its own iPhone 7 Pro renders. This paints a far more compelling picture and the last time F&V did this was for the iPhone 6 in 2014 where itnailed every single detail.

Also standing behind the discovery was prolific (andhighly accurate) smartphone leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer aka OnLeaks. Speaking to me, Hemmerstoffer was initially doubtful aftertrashinga less credible leak earlier in the day but went on toadmit this “could be the real deal”.

My own thoughts? I’m personally a lot less interested in the design than the logic behind Apple possibly splitting its premium iPhone range into three models (four, depending on the pricing of the iPhone SE) and fragmenting their feature sets, which would result in:

  • iPhone 5S – Touch ID but no Apple Pay, 3D Touch or optical image stabilisation in the camera

  • iPhone SE – Touch ID, Apple Pay but no 3D Touch or OIS camera

  • iPhone 7 – Touch ID, Apple Pay, 3D Touch, possible OIS camera (not in iPhone 6S)

  • iPhone 7 Plus – Touch ID, Apple Pay, 3D Touch, OIS but no dual lens camera

  • iPhone 7 Pro – Touch ID, Apple Pay, 3D Touch, OIS dual lens camera

Yes, that’s a mess and is likely to create a lot of confusion. Sceptics would argue this isn’t very Apple, but then again look at the iPad range which currently consists of five – yes five – models: the iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 4 (the iPad Mini 3 is discontinued), iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro. It’s also a mess.

The iPhone 7 Pro may be even thinner than the iPhone 6S, but how thick its dual lens camera is remains to be seen. Image credit: Feld & Volk

As such seeing Apple expand both its iPhone and iPad ranges to five models apiece would confirm a new strategy of trying to hit every possible price point (by using models of different ages) at the expense of its famous simplicity.

Instead I’d rather see Apple to adopt a simple ‘Small, Medium, Large’ approach of identically specified (or as near as possible) product lines. For example: iPad Mini, iPad, iPad Pro and iPhone Mini, iPhone, iPhone Pro. It would also largely tie in with Apple’s computers: MacBook Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, Mac and Mac Pro.

Then again Apple tends to be at its best when it surprises us and – based on the consistent leaks starting to appear – it seems the company may have a very big surprise for us in September…


The if anyone cares section

Apple Watch 2 release date, design and feature rumours: Apple launch event announced for 21 March – invites go out | How to watch 21 March event

The Apple Watch has been on sale for almost a year, which means the rumour mill has started churning out rumours regarding the upcoming Apple Watch 2. We discuss the latest Apple Watch 2 rumours including its UK release date and possible features, and explain why we think the Apple Watch 2 needs an ARM Cortex A32 processor. Plus: How to watch Apple’s now-confirmed launch event on 21 March. Will there be any news for Apple Watch fans?


‘Worried’: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn’t a fan of the Apple Watch

APPLE co-founder Steve Wozniak has hit out at the company, saying it sold its soul.

In aReddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Wozniak, who is responsible for inventing the first ever Apple computer, claimed he “worried” the company has fallen victim to commercial opportunities by taking the tech business “into a jewellery market”.

In a pointed statement, he claimed thelaunch of the Apple watch in September 2014 strayed from the original goals of the company and focused on false appearances “where you’re going to buy a watch between $500 or $1100 based on how important you think you are as a person”.

“I had some other smart watches, and I got turned off … Basically about all you can do on it is talk and tap a little.”

While he claimed he still “loved” his watch, he was clearly concerned by the product and its overbearing costs.

“The only difference is the band in all those watches. Twenty watches from $500 to $1100. The band’s the only difference? Well, this isn’t the company that Apple was originally, or the company that really changed the world a lot.”

But, he said, “You’ve got to follow the paths of where the markets are.”

Apple has remained tight-lipped about the popularity of its watch, refusing to disclose just how many units have been sold.

But according toVenture Beat, the company had raked in at least $1.68 billion in revenue for the product.

Wozniak, known to his fans as “The Woz”, hinted his frustration with the product might have developed due to the company’s changing landscape.

“The founding of Apple is often greatly misunderstood,” he wrote.

“I like clearing the air about those times. I like to talk about my ideas for entrepreneurs with humble starts, like we had. I fought being changed by Apple’s success. I never sought wealth or power, and in fact evaded it.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

“Wearables are becoming very attractive because of the less hassle to use them. I like picking up my watch, and asking it to send a quick text to my wife, or using it for other things without having to pull the phone out of my pocket,” he said.

“The Apple Watch does some amazing things with Apple Pay, boarding passes for aeroplanes, and all the Siri commands that work. I do wish the speaker were louder.

“Of course, every once in a while I’ll put my hand on a table in a restaurant, and pull my hand back, and it pulls back the fork with me, that attaches to the magnet of the watch.”

First world problems, eh?

Elsewhere, Wozniak approved of the “new Apple” but said he “dearly missed” his Apple co-founder and former high school friend Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011 after an eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Wozniak praised current Apple CEO Tim Cook for “continuing a strong tradition that Steve Jobs was known for of making good products that help people do things they want to do in their life”.

Wozniak, known for his somewhat odd and quirky personality and who once dated comedienne Kathy Griffin, said he was “more into products than socialising” and in an ironic twist, confirmed: “I do not carry around my phone answering every text message instantly. I am not one of those people.”

Other highlights included his thoughts on Siri (“the app that changed my life”), his interest in self-driving cars (“I’m so happy not using my hands or feet”) and his favourite up and coming gadgets (“the Oculus Rift, or any of the VR headsets”).

In January, Apple reported the largest quarterly profit of any public company in history, beating its own record for the first fiscal quarter of 2016 by $400 million to a total of $18.4 billion.

The company sold 74.8 million iPhones during the quarter.

View the full Reddit AMA with Steve Wozniakhere.


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