Episode 528 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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ACCC takes Apple to court over alleged misleading consumer guarantee representations

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has initiated proceedings in the Federal Court against Apple Australia and its US-based parent company.

The ACCC is alleging that Apple made false, misleading or deceptive representations about consumers’ rights under the Australian Consumer Law. The consumer watchdog is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices and costs.

It comes after an investigation into reports relating to “error 53”, which disabled some iPads or iPhones after consumers downloaded an iOS update. The ACCC said many consumers who experienced error 53 had previously had their Apple device repaired by a third party, usually replacing a cracked screen.

The error occurred due to a change in the connection between the “Touch ID” fingerprint recognition and other components of the device.

The watchdog found that Apple routinely refused to look at or service the faulty devices if a consumer had previously used an “unauthorised repairer”, even though the earlier repair was unrelated to the fault.

An Apple support web page, titled ‘If you see error 53 or can’t update or restore your iPhone or iPad’, told consumers: “If the screen on your iPhone or iPad was replaced at an Apple Service Centre, Apple Store, or Apple Authorized Service Provider, contact Apple Support.

“If the screen or any other part on your iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere else, contact Apple Support about pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs.”

Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,“ ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

“Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third-party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.

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Android overtakes Windows in OS market share for the first time

Android has topped Windows in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile combined

StatCounter found that in March, Android hit 37.93 percent market share, which put it 0.02 percentage points ahead of Windows, at 37.91 percent.

The web analytics company’s chief executive, Aodhan Cullen, said it was a milestone in technology history and “the end of an era”.

“It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s.  It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4 percent of global internet usage share only five years ago,” he said.

***but we are talking about different platforms***

Australia, Windows remains the leading OS overall, though it has lost a slice of its market share, slipping to 37.9 percent in March, down from 43.9 percent for the same period last year. Conversely, mobile operating systems iOS and Android have risen, with iOS reaching 31.4 percent up from 27.8 percent and Android sitting in third place with 15.3 percent, up from 12.8 percent. Apple’s OSX held 13.54 percent market share in Australia, a marginal increase from 13.21 percent last year.

Windows maintains a dominant lead when it comes to local and global desktop OS market share, at 84 percent globally and 72 percent in Australia.

Image result for os market share 2017


Microsoft reveals price and release date for Surface Studio

Microsoft has opened up pre-orders for the Surface Studio, with Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi the first resellers to get access to the vendor’s first PC.

The device will start shipping on 27 April and is also available to purchase from the Microsoft Store. The two retailers were also the first to get their hands on Surface products

Microsoft  revealed the Surface Studio in October last year, a desktop PC aimed at creatives that can fold down into a canvas.

The screen sizes up at 28 inches that’s housed inside a 12.55mm thick aluminium enclosure packing in 13.5 million pixels. It can be used with a stylus and Microsoft’s new product, Surface Dial, a programmable dial that interacts with applications when rested on a Surface screen.

Surface Studio starts at $4599 with a 1TB hard drive, Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 2GB GPU. The price goes up to $5499 for 1TB storage, Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 2GB GPU, with the most expensive model costing $6499 for 2TB storage, Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM and 4GB GPU.

Microsoft also announced that the next major update to Windows 10 would roll out to customers on 12 April.

The Windows 10 Creators update, which was announced alongside Surface Studio, will offer new tools to creators such as 3D and mixed reality capabilities and additional security features, such as the new Windows Defender Security Centre.

Thanks to ifixit https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/11/surface-studio-torn-down-surprisingly-upgradable-storage/

the machine is full of soldered-down parts with a custom motherboard; this isn’t a regular ATX PC, after all, and Microsoft has not designed it to be end-user serviceable. Accordingly, the processor, GPU, and RAM are all soldered down; if you buy the system with its base 8GB of RAM, that’s all it’s ever going to have.

The Surface Studio uses hybrid storage, combining an SSD with a larger spinning disk. Rather than using an integrated hybrid drive, these are discrete components, and both use standard connectors: an M.2 SSD (64GB in 1TB systems, and we believe larger in the 2TB machines) and a regular 2.5-inch SATA spinning disk. While it’s a bit of a chore to get into the system’s base unit, both of these should be replaceable should you choose. Disappointingly, the SSD is only SATA (rather than the faster NVMe), and the spinning disk is only SATA 2 (rather than SATA 3).

Image result for surface studio

Image result for surface studio


Diego Maradona sues over a video game

Diego Maradona says he’s suing Pro Evolution Soccer video game developer Konami.

The world-renowned footballer is angry they have used his likeness without his permission.

On his Facebook page he said his lawyer would be “initiating appropriate legal action” against the Japanese gaming company.

A company that owns the right to tattoos on National Basketball Association (NBA) players is suing Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts, which make a game called NBA2K.

It’s because they used images of the tattoos on NBA players without permission.

Maradona gets a 98 rating


NBN toi double broadband speeds for regional Australia

Demonstrated in the Victorian regional city of Ballarat this week, the service offers 100 Mbps download speeds and 40 Mbps uploads – the speed boost coming thanks to new carrier aggregation technology which bonds multiple channels to create a single high-speed connection.

The new speed tier will be available in Fixed Wireless NBN areas across the country, as it does not require a network upgrade or changes to the Fixed Wireless towers. The improved speeds won’t extend the range of Fixed Wireless, which remains limited to within 14 km of a tower.

Initially only offering 12/1 Mbps speeds when it launched in 2011, today the Fixed Wireless NBN service is available to almost 500,000 premises across Australia – with almost 170,000 users currently accessing speeds up to 50/20 Mbps.

NBN's Fixed Wireless towers are delivering metro broadband speeds beyond the major cities.


iPhone users fooled by fake ransomware

A pop-up screen accused the phone owner of accessing illegal pornography or pirating music and could not be removed.

However the ransomware was fake – and clearing the browser cache was actually enough to restore full access.

It ran on JavaScript, a code commonly employed by many websites.

The attackers demanded £100 in the form of an iTunes gift card with the code sent via text message to a designated mobile number, said security firm Lookout in a blog about the malware.

Alot of people belive that the IOS is invulnerable but JavaSript is cross-platform and it’s a matter of how you manage it.”

****Couple of updates in the last week or so****

iPhones on display with man in background


Google is helping to build another Asia-Pacific submarine cable

The company announced Wednesday that it is helping to fund a project called Indigo, which will connect Jakarta, Singapore, Perth and Sydney to one another.

The cable will run for approximately 9,000 kilometers (almost 5,600 miles) and provide a capacity of roughly 18Tbps (bits per second). It’s being built to bring users more connectivity in a region that has growing internet needs.

By investing in these cables, the company hopes to better compete with other cloud providers and consumer internet companies.

Alcatel Submarine Networks will build the cable, and Google expects it to be finished by the middle of 2019. Other Indigo investors include cable company SubPartners and ISPs AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel and Telstra.

Only Google and the other investors will be able to use Indigo, though Singtel and Telstra will be able to sell capacity to their customers as part of their telecom businesses

Image result for asiapacific cable google


Not a single entry for Google’s Android bug bounty

The six-month submission period for Google’s Project Zero has now ended, and the security team said “everything we received was either spam, or did not remotely resemble a contest entry as described in the rules”.

The high stakes prize asked researchers to compete to find any existing vulnerability or bug chain that would allow remote code execution to be carried out on multiple Android devices, knowing only the devices’ phone number and email address.

After a period of soul searching, the Project Zero team said it’s also possible the specific type of vulnerability it asked for was too difficult to find, or maybe it didn’t give researchers a long enough period to work within.

It also thinks researchers may have opted to enter other bug competitions with a lower threshold for entry instead.

Image result for bug bounty google


Virgin Australia to begin inflight wi-fi trial in April

Virgin Australia will trial in-flight wi-fi on a single 737-800 aircraft from next month, with plans to deploy the service across its domestic and international fleet if successful.

The airline said it will use Gogo’s 2ku aero antennas, while the service itself would be supplied by Optus Satellite for domestic and New Zealand services, and Intelsat and SES for other international flights.

Customers on the trial aircraft will be able to use wi-fi for free, for browsing and also streaming entertainment services including Netflix, Stan, and Pandora.

Image result for virgin air australia wifi

JASON

Verizon’s new name for its AOL-Yahoo combination

Once the Yahoo deal closes, AOL and Yahoo will be known as Oath – or more formally, “Oath: A Verizon Company”, as a tweet on Monday from AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong attests.

The new name, which was first reported by Business Insider, promptly received some ribbing on social media.

Many greeted the announcement with bewilderment, with some suggesting that Oath sounded like the name of a heavy metal band.

Others compared it to Tronc, last year’s largely panned rebrand of Tribune Publishing, the company behind The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and several other major daily newspapers.

TechCrunch, the Silicon Valley news site, summed up the general confusion in the headline of a post about the announcement: “Yahoo + AOL = Oath, for some reason,” it read.

Verizon bought AOL in 2015 for $US4.4 billion, and announced it would pay $US4.8 billion for Yahoo a year later.

But before long, revelations about multiple historic data breaches at Yahoo called the fate of the deal into question, and Verizon ultimately settled on a new agreement in February to buy Yahoo for $US4.45 billion.

NBN to double broadband speeds for regional Australia

Australians living off the beaten track are getting broadband speeds to rival the cities, with 100 Mbps Fixed Wireless NBN services scheduled to launch across the country early next year.

Demonstrated in the Victorian regional city of Ballarat this week, the service offers 100 Mbps download speeds and 40 Mbps uploads – the speed boost coming thanks to new carrier aggregation technology which bonds multiple channels to create a single high-speed connection.

The new speed tier will be available in Fixed Wireless NBN areas across the country, as it does not require a network upgrade or changes to the Fixed Wireless towers. The improved speeds won’t extend the range of Fixed Wireless, which remains limited to within 14 km of a tower.

To take advantage of the new 100 Mbps plans, existing Fixed Wireless customers will need to upgrade their on-premises Wireless Network Terminal Device. The new 100 Mbps-capable Wireless NTDs – developed by Ericsson, NetComm and Qualcomm – will eventually become standard issue for all new Fixed Wireless installations, although there is potential for further speed boosts down the track.

Apple iOS 11 will make 200,000 apps totally obsolete, experts claim

THE release of the next operating system for iPhone and iPad will render up to 200,000 older apps totally obsolete, it has been claimed.

Tech experts fear iOS 11 will hobble apps which worked perfectly with old school phones.

Experts from the tech firm SensorTower said this would mean that “approximately 187,000 or about 8 per cent of the roughly 2.4 million apps on the App Store worldwide” will stop working with the latest iPhones.

The latest Apple rumours come after it was claimed that the iPhone 5 was about to be consigned to the scrapheap of history.

The problem lies in the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit smartphone architecture.

Older iPhones used a 32 bit processor, which meant software also had to be written in 32 bits to work properly.

Newer smartphones feature 64 bit processors and software.

Modern phones often slow down when running 32 bit apps — but could soon stop working with them altogether.

“It’s likely that Apple is aiming to reduce the “bloat” and increase the performance of future iOS versions on new 64-bit devices with this (potential) move,” SensorTower wrote.

Apple first began stoking the app bonfire in February 2015, when it told developers that all new apps had to be written in 64 bit.

It then said that all app updates must be written the same way.

This means that any app that’s still written using the older protocol has not been updated in more than two years, suggesting the apps due to be given the boot are no longer being supported anyway.

Scientists create wonder sieve capable of making seawater drinkable

Scientists made the breakthrough by controlling the size of pores in a membrane made from wonder material graphene.

It allowed them to filter out salt from water, making it safe to drink.

They hope it could help millions of people who don’t have access to clean drinking water within five years.

The researchers from the University of Manchester announced their findings in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.

Professor Rahul Nair, who led the team, said it is a “significant step forward improving the efficiency of desalination technology”.

He added: “Current technology applies high pressures to remove salt from water.

“Now we have a membrane that can separate salt better. We can expect it to be much more efficient.”

With climate change reducing water supplies, countries have been increasingly investing in “desalination” technologies.

The UN has predicted that around 1.2 billion people, or 14 per cent of the world’s population, will have trouble accessing clean water by 2025.

Self-healing material could soon make cracked phone screens a thing of the past

SCIENTISTS have developed a new material that could solve one of the most annoying issues faced by smartphone users.

The material is transparent, highly stretchable, conductive and most importantly, self-healing. It literally repairs itself when cracked or torn.

Created by chemists at the University of California at Riverside and the University of Colorado, it will likely have numerous uses in robotics and consumer electronics and could ultimately make your cracked iPhone screen a thing of the past.

“Creating a material with all these properties has been a puzzle for years,” one of the leading researchers Chao Wang said in a statement.

“We did that and now are just beginning to explore the applications.”

Perhaps due to their ubiquity, some people have gone so far as to suggest a broken phone screen is a status symbol — a testament to one’s high-paced life. But for those of us who aren’t keen to prove our social mobility by breaking our stuff, such a material could be a godsend.

Speaking to Science Daily, Dr Wang said the team conducted a number of experiments on the material’s ability to repair itself. In one instance, after being torn in half, it automatically stitched itself back together in under 24 hours.

IF you could, would you want to live forever — even if it meant existing in a virtual world?

That is the desperate goal of Australian man Philip Rhoades, the founder of a body-freezing cryonics lab and a brain preserving company called the Neural Archives Foundation.

The Foundation consists of scientifically preserved brains stored all over the country — including those of his recently deceased parents — waiting for the day when their contents might be uploaded to a computer.

Of course the science underpinning such an ambitious idea is dubious to say the least, but Mr Rhoades believes it’s just a matter of time until technology is advanced enough to achieve his dream.

At 65, he understands time is of the essence and so he’s turned to a well-known figure of tech innovation for help: Elon Musk.

The billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX recently announced a new venture called Neural Lace to develop a way to connect the human brain with a computer. Mr Rhoades believes the tech titan is somebody who can push the controversial field forward.

In a bizarre open letter the former biomedical researcher spruiked his credentials and volunteered his brain to be uploaded and sent to Mars, allowing him to “explore the universe”.

Musk has bold plans to take humans to Mars and is planning to launch a mission to the red planet in conjunction with NASA in the coming decade.

Mr Rhoades believes it would make more sense to send “virtual people”.

“I am convinced that I need to become a virtual person (via mind uploading) sooner rather than later,” he writes in his letter to Musk.

It sounds delusional — and many would argue that it is — but Mr Rhoades is convinced the science of transferring our brains to computers has not been proven to be impossible.

“I don’t care if your average Facebook user thinks it’s all crazy … people in the business are spending serious money on this,” he said.

 

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