Episode 559 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Apple goes to mediation over denying customers fixes for “error 53”

Reports emerged in February last year that some customers updating their iPhone’s operating system, or who restored the device to factory settings would receive the error 53 warning, which essentially bricked their smartphone. The error occurred when a difference was detected between data stored on the device and data held on Apple’s servers in relation to hardware components.

“If the screen on your iPhone or iPad was replaced at an Apple service centre, Apple Store, or Apple authorised 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.”

Apple allegedly told customers who previously sought repairs for unrelated issues such as replacing a cracked screen that it would not front the costs for a remedy unless it had only been repaired by an authorised Apple service provider.

 

ACCC contended that Apple’s actions were misleading or deceptive, and that customers were indeed entitled to a remedy at no cost if their goods and services were not fit for purpose under the Australian Consumer Law, which exists independently from Apple’s manufacturer’s warranty.

The mediation period is scheduled to conclude by 2 March 2018, before a trial is listed.

 

 

Shareholder group wants Gerry Harvey gone

a scathing letter from the Australian Shareholders Association (ASA) in which the investor advocacy group called for chairman and co-founder Gerry Harvey to step down.

The ASA, which seeks to represent independent, retail shareholders, has taken issue with a range of matters at Harvey Norman, which it said was “virtually alone in having a non- independent majority on its board”.

The ASA judges a director to no longer be independent once they have spent more than 12 years on a board. It plans to vote against the company’s remuneration report as well as the re-appointment of Harvey and two directors.

The ASA  hit out at Harvey Norman for failing to list Amazon, which is set to launch in Australia, as a key business risk listed in its annual report.

 

Telstra gives broadband customers unlimited data

 

Telstra has unlocked data limits for home broadband customers on $99 plans and above, while automatically doubling data limits for customers on cheaper plans.

traffic on its fixed network has surged 40 percent in the past year as more Australian households connect to the NBN and stream entertainment.

Urgent rescue mission’ to save Australia’s frogs using smartphone app

The app developed by IBM works a bit like the music identification and discovery app Shazam by recording male frog’s chirps, barks and croaks. After downloading the app and turning on the location to aid identification, all users have to do is hit record when they think they hear a male frog calling out to attract the females of its species.

Like humans, each frog has its own “voice”, and a larger frog will sound deeper than a younger, smaller frog.

Of the 240 native Australian species, four frogs are already extinct, five are critically endangered, 14 are endangered and 10 are vulnerable, said Dr Rowley, the curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology.

“You don’t have to go out into the wilderness you can go to your local oval at night, you find them in drains, you find them in gutters, any parkland with waters, a good thing to do with friends.”

Tech giants turning Sydney’s CBD into ‘Silicon Place’

Amazon, LinkedIn and Expedia are moving into Sydney’s central business district

 

The tech invasion – with locals now dubbing Martin Place, once the heartland of the finance sector, ‘Silicon Place’ – has tightened the office rental market and helped drive down the city’s vacancy rate to a near-decade low

The premium of Australian property yields to three-year term deposit is close to record highs, and gross rents in Sydney have risen by nearly a quarter in the 12 months to September.

Amazon, among the latest to expand in Australia, has snapped up a sprawling nine-floor office in the city’s financial hub, with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Hyde Park.

LogMeIn has taken over two floors in a Martin Place building that also houses a glitzy Tesla showroom, in what it calls its new Asia-Pacific headquarters.

Martin Place, – now also has Facebook and Alphabet’s Google among its residents.

FBI refused to ask Apple to unlock Texas shooter’s iPhone

For nearly two days after the deadly shooting at a Texas church, the FBI struggled to unlock the attacker’s iPhone and refused to ask Apple for help.

Instead, the FBI sent the phone to a crime lab.

Important information such as motivations and co-conspirators could be unobtainable without access to the phone. Despite the FBI’s struggle, though, it didn’t ask Apple for help.

“Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone. We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us,” Apple said in a statement.

Trump tweets in China – how, and why does it matter?

Mr Trump was recently in China, known for its “great firewall” that blocks access to many foreign websites, including Twitter.

the president has kept up his tweeting in China, thanking his hosts for their hospitality, firing a warning at North Korea, and even changing his Twitter header image to one of him, Chinese president Xi Jinping, and the two first ladies, surrounded by dozens of Chinese performers.

Thousands of websites and social media platforms are blocked in mainland China. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are all blocked or disrupted, as are websites the authorities consider sensitive

Many people circumvent China’s firewall by using virtual private networks (VPNs), although the government is now cracking down on VPN vendors.

But the Chinese authorities aren’t beyond making exceptions to the rules.

 

Ahead of Mr Trump’s arrival, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang assured reporters he would be able to tweet as much as he wants, saying: “We take everything into account on receiving foreign heads of state, so you should have no reservations about Mr President’s ability to keep in touch with the outside.”

Journalists travelling with Mr Trump have found they can access Twitter on their mobile phones, as long as they are using 3G or 4G roaming networks on a foreign sim card.

In practice, foreign officials visiting China are told to follow strict security guidelines, and have sometimes been advised against using their own phones or laptops in the country.

So Mr Trump probably isn’t just tweeting off his usual mobile phone.

 

This Twitter bot will colorize your black-and-white photos in seconds for free

Colorise Bot is a Twitter bot which, if you tweet it a photograph of a black-and-white photograph, will transform it into a picture of technicolor genius. The best part? It’s super fast, with some images colorized in a matter of seconds.

Colorise Bot uses a pre-made neural network that’d been trained on a large dataset of 4.5 million images.

The end result is one that’s amazingly accurate. All day, I’ve seen people in my timeline post photographs of their parents and grandparents. The final product is one that looks pretty realistic, although it’s obvious the pictures have undergone a process to transform them.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/social/elon-musk-might-be-a-famous-tech-mogul-but-there-is-one-thing-he-doesnt-like-about-steve-jobs/news-story/6f77cb278018ef8dee33b8c677614460

WHEN you are a billionaire tech mogul it’s hard to not be compared to those that came before.

Take Tesla chief executive Elon Musk for example.

The philanthropist often receives parallels between his life and that of the fictional Marvel character Tony Stark.

And then there is the suggestion that he is the second coming of Steve Jobs.

Although Musk is not overly thrilled by either comparison, the latter is more concerning.

Not because he doesn’t respect the Apple founder’s legacy — rather his fashion sense.

In a revealing interview with Rolling Stone published Wednesday, Musk talked about a time he was asked to wear a black turtleneck, which was the famous trademark of Jobs, during a photoshoot.

He was not impressed.

“If I was dying and I had a turtleneck on, with my last dying breath, I would take the turtleneck off and try to throw it as far away from my body as possible,” he explained.

Musk didn’t dwell on the fashion choices of millionaires for too long, with the interview quickly turning to his concerns for the dangers of artificial intelligence.

“Climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces this century, except for AI,” he said. “I keep telling people this.”

“It would be better if we mitigated the effects of global warming and had cleaner air in our cities and weren’t drilling for vast amounts of coal, oil and gas in parts of the world that are problematic and will run out anyway,” he said.

“And if we were a multiplanetary species, that would reduce the possibility of some single event, man-made or natural, taking out civilisation as we know it, as it did the dinosaurs.

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/social/tim-cook-gets-playfully-roasted-over-his-congratulatory-tweet-to-australia/news-story/983560512b49b112114b56b253c8e3e9

APPLE boss Tim Cook sent his well wishes to Australia in a congratulatory tweet following the vote on same sex marriage — there was just one slight problem.

The man responsible for making the most recognisable smartphones in the world apparently needs to work on his emoji game because he tweeted the wrong flag alongside the message.

As some eagle-eyed social media users pointed out, Mr Cook — who was accidentally outed as being gay by a CNBC host live on TV a few years ago — included the New Zealand flag in the tweet.

He did, however, correct his mistake by issuing a new tweet with the correct flag.

Of course given the tiny size of the flag emoji and the even more subtle difference between our flag and that of our Kiwi counterparts, the Apple CEO could be forgiven for the mistake.

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https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/11/14/1437208/firefox-quantum-arrives-with-faster-browser-engine-major-visual-overhaul

Mozilla today launched Firefox 57, branded Firefox Quantum, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The new version, which Mozilla calls “by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004,” brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. The Quantum name signals Firefox 57 is a huge release that incorporates the company’s next-generation browser engine (Project Quantum). The goal is to make Firefox the fastest and smoothest browser for PCs and mobile devices — the company has previously promised that users can expect “some big jumps in capability and performance” through the end of the year. Indeed, three of the four past releases (Firefox 53, Firefox 54, and Firefox 55) included Quantum improvements. But those were just the tip of the iceberg.Additionally, Firefox now exclusively supports extensions built using the WebExtension API, and unsupported legacy extensions will no longer work, the company said.

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https://news.slashdot.org/story/17/11/13/1752237/payphones-still-make-millions-of-dollars

Disruption-y tech companies like Uber and Twitter are a big part of “the discourse” and our daily lives, but neither of them make any profit. You know what once-groundbreaking technology doesn’t have any problems making bank year after year? That’s right, it’s payphones. Most people now have a cell phone, so you may have wondered who still uses those rusted, quarter-eating boxes. As it turns out, a lot of people do. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s 2017 monitoring report, payphones in Canada made $22 million CAD in 2016 (this figure may not account for the cost of upkeep, but the CRTC has stated in the past that payphones are “financially viable at current rates.”) That’s spread out among nearly 60,000 payphones in the country, which made roughly $300 per phone over the course of the year. That’s at least a few calls per day, each. The US numbers are similar: The FCC reports that in 2015 payphones made $286 million, which is comparable for a population ten times the size of Canada’s.

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https://news.slashdot.org/story/17/11/13/164251/amazon-developing-a-free-ad-supported-version-of-prime-video-report

The company is talking with TV networks, movie studios and other media companies about providing programming to the service, they say. Amazon Prime subscribers pay $99 per year for free shipping but also access to a mix of ad-free TV shows, movies and original series such as “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle.” It has dabbled in commercials on Prime to a very limited degree, putting ads inside National Football League games this season and offering smaller opportunities for brand integrations. A version paid for by advertisers instead of subscribers could provide a new foothold in streaming video for marketers, whose opportunities to run commercials are eroding as audiences drift away from traditional TV and toward ad-free services like Netflix and Prime.