Episode 545 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


iPhone 8 details leaked in Apple’s own HomePod software
If you had any doubts about Apple releasing a bezel-free iPhone in September, you can probably throw those out the window. The company just pushed out a version of the HomePod firmware, and not only does the code tell us more about how Apple’s smart speaker will work, it also offers a few clues about the next iPhone.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith spotted the release on Saturday and has been tweeting out his discoveries since then. Based on the firmware, the HomePod is essentially a big iPhone with no screen, Troughton-Smith says.
After nearly two days of sleuthing, Troughton-Smith found some code that appears to reveal a new feature that would let you unlock an iPhone with your face. Rumours suggest that this feature will show up on the next iPhone and perhaps even replace the Touch ID button. Presumably, this would allow Apple to expand the iPhone screen and introduce a bezel-free design, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8. Guess what? That rumour seems to be confirmed by the HomePod firmware.


A driverless shuttle bus is set to take to roads at Sydney Olympic Park
A DRIVERLESS bus carrying passengers is set to take to NSW roads for the first time.
As part of a two-year trial to begin later this month the small shuttle bus will whiz around closed within the Newington Armoury at Sydney Olympic Park.
At first, the vehicle that can carry about six or eight people, will not pick up any passengers until safety checks and other tests are successfully complete.
But by the beginning of next year it is expected that the shuttle bus will have passengers on board and be using roads around Sydney Olympic Park.
The trial, part of the NSW Government’s push towards “technology-enabled transport”, was launched at the Armoury by Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.
The Government has joined forces with intelligent transport company HMI Technologies, the NRMA, Telstra, IAG and Sydney Olympic Park Authority, to conduct the trial.
“The trial, starting later this month, showcases a small part of our much bigger vision for a technology-enabled transport future,” Mr Constance said.
“Today we drive our cars but the reality is, cars will soon drive us and while we are not there yet, we need to be prepared for this change and we need to stay ahead of the game.

Researchers at the University of Warwick found Uber drivers team up in gangs to force higher prices before they pick up passengers. How do they perform such a feat? They trick the app into thinking their is a shortage of cars in order to raise surge prices. The Telegraph reports:According to the study. drivers manipulate Uber’s algorithm by logging out of the app at the same time, making it think that there is a shortage of cars. Uber raises its fare prices when there is a high demand for vehicles and a short supply of drivers available. Fares are known to increase during peak times such as rush hour, during public events and late at night. Surge pricing can boost the cost of rides to multiple times the normal rate. The study said drivers have been coordinating forced surge pricing, after interviews with drivers in London and New York, and research on online forums such as Uberpeople.net. In a post on the website for drivers, seen by the researchers, one person said: “Guys, stay logged off until surge. Less supply high demand = surge.” The researchers said the collusion reflects driver dissatisfaction with Uber’s policies regarding them, and exposes the “ethically questionable” nature of its algorithm. It is not clear how much impact the trick has had on prices. Uber denied that the practice is widespread.
Dan Sisco has discovered a technology that allows him to access half a dozen major TV channels, completely free. “I was just kind of surprised that this is technology that exists,” says Mr. Sisco, 28 years old. “It’s been awesome. It doesn’t log out and it doesn’t skip.” Let’s hear a round of applause for TV antennas, often called “rabbit ears,” a technology invented roughly seven decades ago, long before there was even a cord to be cut, which had been consigned to the technology trash can along with cassette tapes and VCRs. The antenna is mounting a quiet comeback, propelled by a generation that never knew life before cable television, and who primarily watch Netflix , Hulu and HBO via the internet. Antenna sales in the U.S. are projected to rise 7 percent in 2017 to nearly 8 million units, according to the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group. Mr. Sisco, an M.B.A. student in Provo, Utah, made his discovery after inviting friends over to watch the Super Bowl in 2014. The online stream he found to watch the game didn’t have regular commercials — disappointing half of his guests who were only interested in the ads. “An antenna was not even on my radar,” he says. He went online and discovered he could buy one for $20 and watch major networks like ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS free.
Facebook Inc. is working on a video chat device for the home — the first major hardware product from its experimental Building 8 lab. Featuring a laptop-sized touchscreen, the device represents a new product category and could be announced as soon as next spring’s F8 developer conference, according to people familiar with the matter. They say the large screen and smart camera technology could help farflung people feel like they’re in the same room, which aligns with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s mission of bringing Facebook users closer together. The device is in the prototype phase but is already being tested in people’s homes. Geared to the living room, the video chat device will feature a wide-angle camera lens, microphones and speakers that are all powered by artificial intelligence to boost performance, the people said. A version of the device in testing includes a thin, vertical stand that holds a large touchscreen measuring between 13 and 15 inches diagonally, the people said. Facebook has considered running a version of the Android operating system on its device instead of building its own core operating system, according to the people. Facebook is testing a feature that would allow the camera to automatically scan for people in its range and lock onto them, one of the people said.Facebook is also working on a standalone smart speaker to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home, reports Bloomberg. The social media giant is “hiring Apple veterans to help create a Siri-style voice assistant that would run on both devices.”===
According to new documents from New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), the NSA illegally used technology to spy on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. “The New Zealand Herald first reported that the GCSB told the nation’s high court that it ceased all surveillance of Dotcom in early 2012, but that ‘limited’ amounts of communications from Dotcom were later intercepted by its technology without the bureau’s knowledge,” reports The Hill. From the report:Dotcom was surveilled by the NSA and the GCSB in a joint intelligence operation named Operation Debut. That surveillance was scheduled to end in January 2012, but the United States continued to use New Zealand’s technology. According to court documents obtained by the Herald, “Limited interception of some communications continued beyond the de-tasking date without the knowledge of GCSB staff.” The court papers don’t explain how the NSA was able to use the GCSB’s spying technology without the bureau’s knowledge. According to the Herald, “The GCSB documents do contain an admission of NSA involvement, although it was not made outright.” Dotcom is facing charges of copyright infringement and money laundering related to Megaupload, a file-sharing website shut down in 2012. He is currently fighting U.S. attempts to extradite him from New Zealand.