Episode 557 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Telstra, Ericsson completes first of a series of 5G network trials

Telstra has completed the first of a series of 5G trial data calls over the 26 gigahertz (GHz), or ‘millimetre-wave’ (mmWave) spectrum, in what they claim to be a world first.

Telstra group managing director of networks Mike Wright said.

5G will mean we can use more and different spectrum bands in order to deliver faster speeds, more capacity and lower latency to our customers,” Telstra group managing director of networks Mike Wright said.

Wright added that Telstra will be establishing a dedicated 5G testing centre on the Gold Coast

Smaller telcos such as Brisbane-based LinkOne and Melbourne-based 5G Networks are currently offering mmWave technology for enterprise customers, claiming speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Aldi sells smaller 3D printer for $299

cheaper than the $499 model sold last year.

is a rebadged Wanhao Duplicator i3 Mini.

The 3D printer is smaller model with an all-metal body, with dimensions of 325 x 240 x 380mm and weighing 7 kilograms.

It has a build volume of 120 x 135 x 100mm using a fused filament fabrication print technology, and supports polylactic acid (PLA) and wood as filament materials.

Last year, Gartner predicted 3D printing sales would increase by 108 percent in 2016 to 455,772 shipments worldwide.

Filaments, which will also be sold at Aldi alongside the printer for $34.99 per spool

The Cocoon 3D printer will be available starting 1 November.

NASA releases eerie playlist of spellbinding space sounds



Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.


Woolworths digitises loyalty card for iPhone users

Woolworths will allow iPhone users to store a digital copy of their loyalty card on their mobile device, but Tasmanian customers will have to wait a bit longer before they can take advantage.


Apple Wallet is an app that allows users to store “credit, debit, and prepaid cards, store cards, boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, rewards cards, and more in one place”.

Woolworths lists the exclusions as “Petrol, BIG W, Dan Murphy’s, Tasmania”

Tasmania is presently excluded because it is the only Australian state or territory that doesn’t use the Woolworths Rewards loyalty scheme.

We’ve found our customers in Tasmania prefer the Frequent Shopper Club, and therefore maintained that program as the Woolworths loyalty program in Tasmania.

Suncorp has put a Watson-powered accident liability determination system into production for its AAMI, GIO, APIA, Bingle and Suncorp insurance brands.

The system has ingested 15,000 anonymised claim files, which it uses as the basis to determine who is at fault in car accidents.

When a car collision claim is lodged, there is typically a “slight lag” involved while the insurer tries to determine who was liable for the accident.

This was considered a “pain point” for customers because it delayed the assignment of a repairer, which in turn kept them off the road longer.

IBM’s Watson natural language classifier is used to analyse the text submitted by the claimants. It then makes a determination by applying business rules and recognising keywords, and attaches a “confidence level” to the decision, based on what the system knows of similar decisions that have occurred in the past.


Big three Aussie banks build Apple Pay rival

The Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and National Australia Bank have formed an independently-run joint venture to develop a payment app for iOS and Android.

The ‘Beem‘ app will be compatible across devices and banks nationwide and offer instant payments, the banks said.

Users won’t need to be customers of CBA, Westpac or NAB to use the app; the banks are hoping Beem will be an industry-wide solution adapted by retailers and the rest of the financial industry.

Beem will be released at some stage later this year, the banks said.



Computer hardware company Razer has unveiled its first smartphone. While the design doesn’t appear to be up to par with the competition, it does pack some impressive specifications under the hood.

The Razer Phone features a 5.7-inch, 2,560×1,440-resolution display, Snapdragon 835 chipset with 8GB of RAM, 12-megapixel dual camera with a wide-angle lens and 2x optical zoom, 4,000mAh battery, dual front-facing stereo speakers, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat running out of the box. While there is a microSD card slot for expandable storage, there is no headphone jack, no waterproofing, and no wireless charging.

The device also won’t support CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint. Where most new flagship phones are shiny rounded rectangles with curved screens, the Razer Phone is unabashedly a big black brick. It flaunts sharp 90-degree corners instead of curved edges. You can even stand the phone on end. The 5.7-inch, 2,560×1,440-resolution screen is flat as a pancake, and you’ll find giant bezels above and below that screen, too — just when we thought bezels were going out of style. When the Razer Phone ships Nov. 17 for $699 or £699 — no plans for Australia at launch — the company says it’ll be the first phone with a display that refreshes 120 times per second, like a high-end PC gaming monitor or Apple’s iPad Pro. And combined with a dynamic refresh technique Razer’s calling Ultramotion (think Nvidia G-Sync), it can mean beautiful, butter-smooth scrolling down websites and apps, and glossy mobile gameplay.



Apple, locked in an intensifying legal fight with Qualcomm, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would jettison the chipmaker’s components. Apple is considering building the devices only with modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek because San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm has withheld software critical to testing its chips in iPhone and iPad prototypes. Apple’s planned move for next year involve the modem chips that handle communications between wireless devices and cellular networks. Qualcomm is by far the biggest supplier of such chips for the current wireless standard. The Apple plans indicate the battle with Qualcomm could spill beyond the courtroom feud over patents into another important Qualcomm business where it has the potential to send ripples through the smartphone supply chain.




The Internet is awash with covert crypto currency miners that bog down computers and even smartphones with computationally intensive math problems called by hacked or ethically questionable sites. The latest examples came on Monday with the revelation from antivirus provider Trend Micro that at least two Android apps with as many as 50,000 downloads from Google Play were recently caught putting crypto miners inside a hidden browser window. The miners caused phones running the apps to run JavaScript hosted on Coinhive.com, a site that harnesses the CPUs of millions of PCs to mine the Monero crypto currency. In turn, Coinhive gives participating sites a tiny cut of the relatively small proceeds. Google has since removed the apps, which were known as Recitiamo Santo Rosario Free and SafetyNet Wireless App. Last week, researchers from security firm Sucuri warned that at least 500 websites running the WordPress content management system alone had been hacked to run the Coinhive mining scripts. Sucuri said other Web platforms — including Magento, Joomla, and Drupal — are also being hacked in large numbers to run the Coinhive programming interface.



From a Forbes article: “[CEO John] Chen, speaking at a press Q&A during the BlackBerry Security Summit in London on Tuesday, claimed that it wasn’t so simple for BlackBerry to crack its own protections. ‘Only when the government gives us a court order we will start tracking it. Then the question is: how good is the encryption? ‘Today’s encryption has got to the point where it’s rather difficult, even for ourselves, to break it, to break our own encryption… it’s not an easily breakable thing. We will only attempt to do that if we have the right court order. The fact that we will honor the court order doesn’t imply we could actually get it done.'”

Oddly, this came coupled with Chen’s assertions its user protections were better than Apple’s and its version of the Android operating system more secure than the one offered by competitors. This proactive hacking offer may be pointed to in the future by DOJ and FBI officials as evidence Apple, et al aren’t doing nearly enough to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement. Of course, Chen’s willingness to try doesn’t guarantee the company will be able to decrypt communications of certain users. Blackberry may be opening up to law enforcement but it won’t be sharing anything more with its remaining users. From the Forbes article: “Chen also said there were no plans for a transparency report that would reveal more about the company’s work with government. ‘No one has really asked us for it. We don’t really have a policy on whether we will do it or not. Just like every major technology company that deals with telecoms, we obviously have quite a number of requests around the world.'”




Australian internet service providers that complain about the fee they have to pay per megabit for access to the national broadband network don’t care about consumers or quality of service, according to NBN Co non-executive director Michael Malone.

The founder of ISP iiNet, which was acquired by TPG in 2015, said in an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media that providers were not provisioning enough internet traffic for users to have an enjoyable internet experience, and were to blame for slow speeds across the nation.

“The reason they [telcos] are moaning is that they are price fighting,” Malone said of ISPs. “They don’t give a f— about the quality of service.”

Malone said that media needed to “be careful about who they speak to” in the industry when it came to the ISP sector complaining about effectively being taxed for internet traffic.

ISPs must pay to NBN what telcos call a “usage tax” for CVC, or connectivity virtual circuit. Telcos claim the charge, which varies between $8 and $17.50 per megabit, is too high and is a disincentive to take up faster speeds.

In reality the charge turns out to be about the same as what telcos were paying pre-NBN to Telstra and other wholesale providers, according to Malone, once you factor in things like hauling international bandwidth to Australia and domestic interconnect fees.

In a statement, NBN chief corporate affairs officer Karina Keisler said of Malone’s previous comments: “NBN is working hard to improve the end user experience with the full support of the Board. Michael Malone is an independent non-executive board member. His comments are not an official opinion of the company. His experience entitles him to his own opinion.”

Malone pointed to Telstra and Aussie Broadband as being among the service providers provisioning adequate bandwidth but made clear he was not endorsing them.

While Malone said he hadn’t personally seen any proposal to dump the CVC usage fee for consumer plans, as reported exclusively ast week, there were NBN wholesale business plans that existed which did not have a CVC applied at certain speed tiers, Malone said.

What consumers really wanted at the end of the day was internet that just works and that they didn’t have to worry about, Malone said.

“But what is happening is that consumers are assuming that if they go with a certain retail service provider they will get the same quality than if they went with another and pay $5 more,” Malone said. “They are possibly not asking the right questions of ISPs, or making the wrong choices.”




Imagine you’re working on a Google Doc when, seemingly out of nowhere, your ability to edit the online file gets revoked.

What you see instead is an error message indicating that you’ve violated Google’s terms of service.

For anyone who stores work in the cloud, suddenly being unable to access your data – especially due to a terms of service violation – may sound scary. And it’s really happening to some people, according to reports on Twitter.

Rachael Bale, a wildlife crime reporter for National Geographic, said Tuesday that a draft of her story was “frozen” by Google.

In response to some of these reports, a Google employee tweeted that the team handling Google Docs was looking into the matter.