Episode 497 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Online reseller Newegg opens Aussie eBay store, slashes membership fee

reseller Newegg is marking two years in the Australian market with a membership discount and a local eBay store.

The company overnight announced a discount to the Newegg Premier benefit program – membership now costs AU$59, down from $79. Membership benefits include free domestic shipping, no re-stocking fees, and 20 per cent off select items.

Newegg’s also opening up a new Australian eBay store, with all components shipping from within Australia.


Jail and $700,000 fine: UAE makes VPN illegal

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced a ban on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Federal Law No. 9/2012, altered by the royal edict, states that, “Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh500,000 and not exceeding Dh2,000,000 dirhams($700 000), or either of these two penalties.”


Online reseller pays ACCC penalty for misleading customers

Ozsale – which owns and operates Ozsale, OO, Deals Direct, TopBuy and BuyInvite – has paid a $10,800 penalty to the consumer watchdog based on a clause in its terms and conditions that read: “Depending on the fault, you may be offered the choice of refund, repair or replacement of the item (subject to availability).”

The ACCC was concerned that the statement could mean that Ozsale would make the decision for the customer on what to do about a faulty product.

“The Australian Consumer Law states that when there is major failure of a product, consumers are entitled to choose between a refund, repair or replacement, as well as compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.


Net’s .web domain sold for $135m

A company called Nu Dot Co won the auction and can now offer firms the chance to own a domain ending .web.

The figure is three times as much as was paid for the previous record holder, .shop, which went for $41.5m.

Losing bidders for the domain included Google and net registry firms Afilias, Radix and Donuts.


IPhone fire left me with severe burns, says cyclist

a 36-year-old management consultant from Sydney, told local papers the phone caught fire when he fell off his bicycle.

He posted pictures of his injury on Twitter.

Apple has not responded to requests for comment.

fell off his bicycle while cycling along a Sydney bike trail at the weekend. His phone was in a pocket of his shorts.

“I just saw smoke coming out of my back pocket… and then all of a sudden I felt this surging pain in my top right leg,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I could see it melting through my shorts. I just remember looking at my leg and I had this black discharge all down my leg and this smell of phosphorus.”

Mr Clear said his injuries required skin graft surgery.

Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire if they are involved in an impact. – Will?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it receives around one to two reports of consumer injuries from mobile phone batteries each year.

It recommends that people do not carry mobile phones in their pockets.

Gareth Clear showing burn on leg


Scientist comes up with theory we could all just be brains kept in a jar living in fake reality

Laura D’Olimpio, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Notre Dame Australia puts forward people’s brains are being kept alive in a vat of nutrients that sits on a laboratory bench.

“The nerve endings of your brain are connected to a supercomputer that feeds you all the sensations of everyday life. This is why you think you’re living a completely normal life,” she suggests in the essay.

“Do you still exist? Are you still even ‘you’? And is the world as you know it a figment of your imagination or an illusion constructed by this evil scientist?

“Can you say with absolute certainty that it’s not true? Could you prove to someone that you aren’t actually a brain in a vat?”

She is not the first to make this suggestion. The philosopher Hilary Putnam said we could all just be brains-in-a-vat in his 1981 book, Reason, Truth and History.


How to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Not everyone will get the Anniversary Update on August 2nd, but eventually it will be available for all Windows 10 users, though it may take a day or two, or even a few weeks, for your specific device to gain access to the update. It depends on various factors, such as the device you’re using, the method in which you obtained Windows 10, your location, and the load on the servers that are assigned to distribute the update.

How to get the Anniversary Update from Windows Update

The best way to get the Anniversary Update on your computer is by using Windows Update. Starting August 2nd, you can manually download the update using these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & security.

  3. Click on Check for updates.

Once your device connects successfully with the Windows Update servers, the update — listed asFeature update to Windows 10, version 1607 — will begin downloading, then simply click theRestart Now button, and Windows 10 will proceed to finish the installation. This process works in the same way as regular updates work for Windows 10.

How to get the Anniversary Update using the Media Creation Tool

Alternatively, you can use the Media Creation Tool to perform an in-place upgrade or a clean installation of the operating system with the Anniversary Update. However, Microsoft often delays the availability of new versions through different methods for the sake of stability of the servers. As such, it could take a little bit of time until you can use this method to upgrade your computer.

Once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is available you can use the following steps to upgrade:

  1. Download the Media Creation Tools from Microsoft.

  2. Double-click the MediaCreationTool.exe to launch the tool. Follow the steps until you get to Windows 10 Setup.

  3. Select Upgrade this PC now.

  4. Click Next.

  5. Once the download completes, click Accept to agree to the terms.

  6. Make sure the installer is set to Keep personal files and apps, which should be the default behavior. (If it’s not, click the Change what to keep link to change the settings.)

  7. Click the Install button to begin the update process.

JASON

Nintendo’s next game console will be a powerful tablet that allows gaming on the go while also connecting to a television for big-screen experiences, new reports indicate, but the most surprising rumour concerns how the machine will handle multiplayer.

Citing “a number of sources” within the games industry, Eurogamer reports that the screen on the new device will sit between two panels of buttons and control sticks — which is standard for a gaming handheld — but that the panels will be removable for impromptu two-player gaming sessions. The panels are wireless, so moving from solo play to multiplayer while on the go will apparently be as simple as disconnecting the controls and passing one to a friend.

When playing at home the machine can be inserted into a dock that will display games on your TV, the reports say, with the dock presumably also powering and charging the device. It would stand to reason that more traditional controllers will be used with the console in its docked mode, although that was not mentioned in the reports.

It has been previously reported that Nintendo’s new machine — which the Japanese company has publicly acknowledged with the codename “NX” — will use cartridges as a game medium rather than discs. Static media makes sense given the portable nature of the device, and this has been reiterated by sources in Eurogamer’s article.

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If you’re willing to sit around poking at your phone settings, there are a million photo apps that will help you get professional-looking results. For the rest of us who are far too lazy to do this, Microsoft just made a slick new photo app that does all of the tinkering for you.

Microsoft Research has been publicly dabbling in photo apps for some time, with apps like Microsoft Selfie and its incredible Hyperlapse app. Now the company is bundling many of its computational photography tricks into Pix, an insanely simple photo app. Pix is loaded with features, but the coolest thing about it is that you can’t really see any of them. The idea is that you bust out your phone, take a photo and technology inside the app makes the image look as good as possible. No brain required.

Every time you take a photo with Pix, it’s actually capturing 10 frames from which it selects up to three different photos as the best, optimising for a series of criteria such as whether the people in the photo are actually looking at the camera, and which photo has the most interesting composition. The remaining frames are used to help calculate some of the post-processing the app does, but then they’re discarded so that they don’t eat up space on your phone.

After it’s selected the image it thinks is the best, Pix starts trying to make the photo as good as possible, adjusting exposure, colour balance and so on. The app begins by optimising for people, which means that if it spots a human face in an image, it’s going to do its best to make the person look good. From there, the app has a cascading set of priorities. The end result is hopefully a better image that doesn’t look like it was taken by a child.

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NEARLY 120,000 units of digital currency bitcoin worth about $US72 million ($A94.69 million) has been stolen from the exchange platform Bitfinex in Hong Kong, making it the second-biggest security breach ever of such an exchange.

Bitfinex is one of the largest exchanges for bitcoin, and is known in the digital currency community for having a platform that has deep liquidity in the US dollar/bitcoin currency pair.

Zane Tackett, Director of Community & Product Development for Bitfinex, told Reuters on Wednesday that 119,756 bitcoin had been stolen from users’ accounts and that the exchange had not yet decided how to address customer losses.

“The bitcoin was stolen from users’ segregated wallets,” he said.

Bitcoin plunged just over 23 per cent on Tuesday after the news broke. On Wednesday it was up one per cent at $US545.20 on the BitStamp platform.

Tackett added that the breach did not “expose any weaknesses in the security of a blockchain”, the technology that generates and processes bitcoin, a web-based “cryptocurrency” that can move across the globe anonymously without the need for a central authority.

The theft amounts to about 0.75 per cent of all bitcoin in circulation.

“It’s the biggest USD exchange, so outside China it’s the one that everyone has an account with,” said Antony Lewis, a bitcoin expert in Singapore.

“It’s very liquid, folk can trade on margin, lots of daily volume.” It is not yet clear whether the theft was an inside job or whether hackers were able to gain access to the system externally. Bitfinex suspended trading on Tuesday after it discovered the breach. It said on its website that it was investigating and co-operating with the authorities.

The attack on Bitfinex was reminiscent of a similar but larger breach at MtGox, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange that was forced to file for bankruptcy in early 2014 after hackers stole an estimated $US650 million worth of customers’ bitcoins.

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YOUR days of illegally downloading Game of Thrones might soon be coming to an end, but not in the way you might think.

At the moment copyright owners hamper Google with take-down requests to have infringing content removed from piracy sites, while also putting pressure on ISPs to give up the personal details of pirates.

However, these efforts are largely reactive and have little to no effect on the piracy landscape.

In order to combat the issue proactively, a new report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime has detailed an approach just so wild it might actually work.

Rather than trying to combat the issue online, the report suggests there should be mandatory blocking of pirated content on the operating system level.

“Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft,” the report reads.

“The producers of operating systems should be encouraged, or regulated, for example, to block downloads of copyright infringing material.”

Rumours of a piracy kill switch built into operating system first came to light when Windows 10 was launched last year.

The controversial feature stemmed from a single line in Microsoft’s Service Agreement, which said updates and configuration changes could prevent people from “playing counterfeit games”.

Obviously, this never came to fruition and it doesn’t look like happening anytime soon.

The report pointed out that convincing Apple, Google and Microsoft to play the role of piracy police wouldn’t be an easy task, suggesting pressure would need to be applied through the international community and trade groups to see global action.

“Sweden’s ability to influence this as a single state is small, but it can take action through the EU and the international community. Copyright holders can also play a role in promoting this through international industry associations,” the report read.

It’s unlikely Apple, Google and Microsoft will implement the changes anytime soon, but it will be concerning for pirates if they do.

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REMEMBER that crazy, futuristic bus Chinese engineers dreamed up? Well they’ve actually gone ahead and built and successfully tested it.

Known as the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) the vehicle is designed to use ordinary roads and is able to glide over the top of traffic, straddling the cars which pass beneath its hollow underbelly.

China has been playing around with the innovative concept for a number of years but for the longest time it remained in the domain of fancy rendering software.

However the project received renewed momentum in May when a small scale model was unveiled at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo, prompting fresh excitement for the idea.

On Tuesday the first version of the infamous bus went on its maiden test run in Qinhuangdao City in the northern Hebei province, paving the way for what authorities hope will be a much needed solution to the growing problem of traffic congestion in many of China’s big cities.

The test in Qinhuangdao City evaluated the braking system as well as the drag and power consumption of the bus carriage, according to tebtech, a company that helped build the bus.

The bus is expected to reach speeds of 60 kilometres per hour and will be able to zip over other vehicles, provided they can fit under its 2.1 metre undercarriage.

The single compartment built and tested was 22m long with a spacious interior measuring 7.8m wide, allowing a capacity of 300 passengers.

The completed version is expected to have four of the trialled compartments attached end-to-end with lead engineer Bai Zhiming previously telling China’s Central Television network, CCTV News, that the bus would have a “carrying capacity of 1200 people at a time.”

Ramps which deploy from the sides of the bus will allow passengers to board from street level.

“The TEB has the same functions as the subway while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway,” Zhiming said.

The bus is two lanes wide and is designed to run on special tracks either side of the road, meaning the tracks would need to be constructed along certain routes before the bus could be rolled out.

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That 4K TV you’ve been repeatedly looking at online? It’s nice and big, means you have an excuse to upgrade your Xbox One to a One S, and unlocks access to those 4K Blu-ray movie releases. It’s also already out-of-date in Japan.

On Monday, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK launched a satellite channel that will broadcast content in 8K, meaning you won’t get the full visual experience with one of those “so last year” high-end 4K TVs anymore. Not all content broadcast by NHK on this channel will be 8K as there isn’t much of it about yet, so those who actually own an 8K-capable TV will have to make do with 4K content intermixed with crisp 8K visuals when available.

NHK has rolled out the new channel just in time for the Rio Olympics kicking off on Friday. They refer to 8K as Super Hi-Vision, which means a combination of 7,680 x 4,320 resolution visuals with 22.2-channel surround sound if you also own the kit to support that. As far as I know, it means Japan will be the only country where you can watch the Olympics in 8K. In fact, I’m sure most viewers around the world will have to “suffer” standard HD Olympic coverage.

It’s going to take a very long time for the 8K revolution to happen. We’re only now getting used to 4K TVs being an option, and that’s only happening because the prices have fallen to the point where they can be considered on the edge of affordable. 8K means going through that process again, only with content even more scarce than when 4K first arrived.

8K is not worth waiting for right now. If you’re in the market for a new TV and have a healthy budget then 4K should definitely be where you look. Netflix offers 4K streams and other services will surely follow. Considering a TV should last you a decade, 4K future proofs your viewing pleasure. 8K? That’s something for the late 2020s

 

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