Episode 543 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Older PCs get cut from Windows 10 support

Computers just three to four years old have been caught out by the Creators Update, which throws up a message saying that “Windows 10 is no longer supported

Computers powered by Intel’s Atom Clover CPUs (Z2760, Z2520, Z2560 and Z2580) – which are typically early 2-in-1 devices – were able to install Windows 10 and get the Anniversary update, but are left out of luck with the Creators Update.

 Each Windows 10 instalment promises security fixes and patches for 18 months after launch. That means that support for the version of Windows 10 that Atom Clover Trail owners are stuck in will theoretically end early next year.

 Microsoft has, at the time of writing, not confirmed whether the issue will be fixed

Australian government to introduce laws forcing tech companies to decrypt communications

“I’m not a cryptographer, but what we’re seeking to do is to secure their assistance. They have to face up to their responsibility,” Turnbull said

 The Australian government will introduce laws before the end of the year that will force end-to-end encrypted communication services providers to decrypt messages for law enforcement.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today said the laws were intended to “illuminate” the “dark places online” that “terrorists and child molestors” and drug traffickers inhabit.

The government claimed nine out of 10 priority investigations carried out by ASIO are being hampered by encryption.

 Australia’s proposed legislation is expected to closely mirror the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill, which obliges encrypted communications providers to ensure they are technically able to hand over decrypted data to law enforcement in “near real time”.

 New Zealand introduced similar legislation four years ago.

 The Labor party has previously indicated plans to support the proposed legislation

Netflix now has 104 million subscribers worldwide


Netflix has produced shows such as 13 Reasons Why, about teen suicide, political drama House of Cards and The Crown.

 The firm said it added about 5.2 million members during the quarter, mostly from overseas. International members now account for about half of its subscriber total.

Taiwan woman divorces husband who ignored her messages

 A woman in Taiwan has been granted a divorce, using the “Read” indicators on the Line messages she had sent to her husband as proof that he had been ignoring her.

The app showed he had opened the text messages, but didn’t reply to any of them.

A judge ruled in her favour earlier this month.

It’s called “blue-ticking” – a term that refers to the act of reading but not replying to someone’s messages. The concept comes from social media apps such as WhatsApp and Line, which use tick notifications to show when someone has received and read your message.

 The Line messages were a very important piece of evidence. It shows the overall state of the marriage… that the two parties don’t have good communication,” the judje said.

“Now internet communication is very common, so these can be used as evidence. In the past, we needed written hardcopy evidence,” the judge noted.


Man trapped in Texas cash machine sends ‘help me’ notes

 The man, who police say was working on a renovation of the bank, left his phone in his vehicle before getting stuck in the drive-thru ATM’s vault.

The unnamed workman was freed after shouting to ATM users, who continued withdrawing cash throughout his ordeal on Wednesday in Corpus Christi.

Police thought it a hoax before kicking in a door to withdraw him.

 One handwritten note slipped by the trapped man to a customer said: “Please Help. I’m stuck in here, and I don’t have my phone. Please call my boss.” The message included the employer’s phone number.

The man was freed after spending more than two hours inside the Bank of America machine.



 Recovered from the archives of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in Edwards, California, the footage covers decades of pivotal research and development undertaken by the agency and Air Force. Among the short clips is footage of space shuttle landing research, tests on the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, and flights of the first supersonic aircraft, Motherboard reports.

To be sure, this footage has long been available to the public but viewing it meant you had to know it existed and know where to find it. The footage was relatively hidden in the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection, which could be accessed through the Dryden Flight Research Center website.

The films are brief — usually under two minutes — but cover an impressive range of missions. Some are serene, like the early morning takeoff of a space shuttle. Others are intense, like the first launch of the Hyper-X aircraft. Some are even kind of funny, like the clip of the “flying bathtub” and the training exercise that shows crew member being chucked backward out of a shuttle.

Misconfigured AWS bucket sees 2m Dow Jones user details exposed

At least two million Dow Jones customers have had their personal details exposed online via an unsecured public cloud repository.

Dow Jones, which owns the Wall Street Journal, confirmed to cyber security firm UpGuard that at least 2.2 million customers were affected,

 The exposed information included people’s names, addresses, account information, email addresses, and last four digits of credit card numbers.

 The data was found on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 bucket, and had been configured to allow any AWS “authenticated users” to download the data. Amazon defines an authenticated user as any person with an AWS account, of which there are over a million users. It is free to sign up.

Free wi-fi for Adelaide’s entire public transport network

The South Australian government has given itself less than six months to have free wi-fi across Adelaide’s full public transport network up and running.

 It will give commuters “simple access to high quality and reliable internet” across the state’s 893 buses, 136 train cars, and 21 trams, as well as selected rail stations and interchanges.

 Apple iPhone 8: everything we know so far

 As a rule, Apple launches its smartphones in the second week of September. This has been the case since 2012’s iPhone 5 launch

 the iPhone 8 is likely to be a radical design departure from the previous few generations. The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will probably look fairly similar to the iPhone 6/6S/7 models, but the iPhone 8 will be special, sporting a tall, almost bezel-free 5.8in AMOLED screen that covers almost the entire front side of the device

 There’ll be no visible home button, as its functionality – including a fingerprint sensor – will be built into the screen itself

 claims that the iPhone 8 will feature built-in wireless charging capabilities (bringing it into line with a host of Android flagships), be fully waterproof (a level above the iPhone 7, which is water resistant), may feature a 3D face scanner

 pretty much the consensus from reports in the tech and mainstream press that the iPhone 8 will have a 5.8in screen with a long (or wide, depending on how you’re holding the phone) aspect ratio. This means more screen space in a body the same size as previous iPhones, and is achieved by decreasing the size of the upper and lower bezels.


Game of Thrones demand so high it caused global outages

AS ONE of the world’s most popular shows, Monday night’s premiere of Game of Thrones season 7 was always going to attract a lot of attention.

But no one expected the demand would be so high that every legal streaming service around the globe with exclusive rights to the show — including HBO’s own website and platform — would crash due to the absurdly large number of customers tuning in.

Game of Thrones fans were upset by the service problems caused by an “unprecedented demand” on Foxtel Now — the only legal way to stream the show in Australia.

According to InternetOutages, complaints about crashed services started at around 6.00pm and grew exponentially as the 8.30pm encore broadcast time arrived.

At the time of the incident, Foxtel released a statement saying it was devastated to be experiencing problems and was doing everything it could to bring its service back online.

“The combination of new foxtel now customers signing up and existing customers upgrading to get the Drama Pack so they could watch the show, put unprecedented pressure on our technical operations. Foxtel’s Identity Management System (IDM), which verifies customers’ entitlement to view content, which usually handles around 5,000 processes a day was hit with 70,000 transactions in just a few hours,” Foxtel said in a statement.

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on the planet with the dubious honour of being the world’s most illegally downloaded show — and last night’s global crash of streaming services didn’t help.

The first torrents of the show appeared within minutes of the official broadcast, with dozens added soon after. Illegal streaming services were also met with a huge demand following the Game of Thrones premiere, with an insider source claiming one portal attracted 20,000 views per hour — and this is only one of many such platforms.


 Google Home launches in Australia and it speaks authentic ‘Strayan

Product manager for Google Home Raunaq Shah said getting Google Assistant — the same voice-activated AI on Google’s Pixel smartphones — to understand our slang was only part of the challenge.

“We hired a team of writers to include all of the exclusively Australian words we wanted the system to recognise, while also adding some unique Aussie flavour to the responses,” he told news.com.au.

“It’s so exciting to release a product that looks, sounds and feels like an authentic Australian.”

To show how this works with colloquial Aussie slang, Mr Shah gave the following examples.

  1. Hey Google: Look what I made you.
  2. I love it, this is going straight to the pool room.
  3. OK Google: What are some of your favourite things?
  4. Gumdrops and wattles and whiskers on wombats, and choctops at the movies
  5. Hey Google: Surf’s up.
  6. Yeeeeeeeee
  7. OK Google: What does a kookaburra sound like?
  8. Goo-goor-gaga. (Obviously this is the real sound of a kookaburra and not my weak attempt to spell the bird’s laughter.)

In addition to understanding Australian accents and slang, the device has been tailored to provide information and entertainment from a number of local sources.

“We have worked with local partners like Stan for video content and we pull news from Australian services such as The Australian, Fox Sports and other resources,” he said.

According to Mr Shah, there are a number of Aussie Easter eggs on Google Home and news.com.au will explore these during a more detailed our review of the unit.



Revealed: how the K5 security robot ended up in a fountain

The egg-shaped robot, known as the K5 Autonomous Data Machine, drew sympathy and jeers on Monday after it stumbled down a set of steps and into a fountain at Washington Harbour, an office and retail complex in the Georgetown neighbourhood in Washington, D.C. The photos were widely shared.

The robot is 1.5 metres tall, weighs 136 kilograms and can travel up to 5 kilometres per hour. It bears a passing resemblance to R2-D2 or perhaps a Dalek.

The K5’s pop-culture cousin is clearly RoboCop. It is equipped with, among other things, thermal imaging, automatic license plate recognition and a video camera. Knightscope, the California-based maker of the robot, said its machines can be “an additional set of intelligent eyes and ears” for security and law enforcement. Its clients include data centres, hospitals and shopping malls.

While some Twitter users theorised that the K5 committed roboticide, a simpler explanation was provided by Michael Bailey-Van Kuren, the C. Michael Armstrong professor of engineering and interactive media at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

“Like with any technology, you can have a fault condition and an error can occur,” he said.

Technology is advanced well enough to direct autonomous devices away from obstacles, he said, noting that even Roomba, the vacuuming robot, has sensors to avoid stairs. That the K5 did not detect the stairs was an anomaly, he said.



Atari shows off Ataribox, its wood-panelled return to the video game hardware business

Atari is planning a return to the video game console market, having previously teased a brand new machine called the Ataribox. Though details remain thin, the first images and details of the machine have now appeared online, showing off a retro-inspired box with “modern internal specs”.

In an email to fans late on Monday, Atari said the Ataribox “stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari”. The design of the console features a ribbed black enclosure and a raised back, echoing the iconic lines of the original Atari Video Computer System. It will come in two editions, a black console with a wood grain front panel, or black and red console with a glass front.

Unlike the Atari Flashback series from AtGames — the only hardware to carry the Atari name for over 20 years — the Ataribox is a PC-like machine with “modern internal specs”, according to Atari. Players will get access to classic games, as well as “current gaming content”.

Backing up that claim, the images shared in the newsletter (likely computer renders of what the device will look like) reveal HDMI output and an ethernet port for internet, as well as four USB ports and an SD card slot, presumably for expandable storage. Though not confirmed, it’s safe to assume the console also has wireless capabilities for internet and its (yet-to-be-revealed) controllers.



Thousands agree to clean toilets for Wi-Fi because they didn’t read the terms

A public Wi-Fi company has demonstrated just how dangerous those complicated agreements can be by inserting absurd conditions that thousands of people unwittingly agreed to.

Purple is a Manchester-based company that specialises in running Wi-Fi hotspots for brands like Legoland, Outback Steakhouse and Pizza Express. This week, the company came clean about its two-week experiment in which it inserted a “Community Service Clause” into its terms of service agreement. More than 22,000 people signed up to perform 1000 hours of menial labour for the chance to check in on their Facebook and maybe look up some directions.

In a blog post on its site, a Purple spokesperson explains that the agreement requires users to do any of the following, at Purple’s discretion:

  • Cleansing local parks of animal waste
  • Providing hugs to stray cats and dogs
  • Manually relieving sewer blockages
  • Cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events
  • Painting snail shells to brighten up their existence
  • Scraping chewing gum off the streets

There was also a prize offer for anyone who contacted the company and pointed out the clause. Only one person received a prize.