Episode 566 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Apple under fire from shareholders for iPhone addiction

Apple has come under fire from two of its largest investors for failing to address the growing problem of young people becoming addicted to iPhones.

Jana leading activist shareholder, and CalSTRS, one of the largest public pension plans in the United States, delivered a letter to Apple on Saturday asking the company to consider developing software that would allow parents to limit children’s phone use, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday.

Jana and CalSTRS together control about US$2 billion worth of Apple shares, the Journal reports.

However, the issue of phone addiction among young people has become a growing concern in the US as parents report their children cannot give up their phones. CalSTRS and Jana worry that Apple’s reputation and stock could be hurt if it does not address those concerns,

Half of teenagers in the United States feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones and report feeling pressure to immediately respond to phone messages, according to a 2016 survey

former Disney child star Selena Gomez, 24, who said she cancelled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to her addiction to social media and the mobile photo-sharing app Instagram

Spectre, Meltdown Exploits

These security flaws, found in chips from multiple vendors, including Intel, revolve around a process called speculation, which allows processors to skip ahead in their execution of code to save time on computing processes – but also potentially enabling malicious code to access a portion of the memory on the chip.

The exploits were made public last week, sending Intel’s shares down and causing its market capitalization to fall by more than US$12 billion between 2 and 4 January.


Intel said that Intel would update 90 percent of processors from the past five years within the next week, and the remaining processors will be updated by the end of January.

But meanwhile, intel said, customers can make sure their software and systems are updated and patched. Several vendors, including HPE and Lenovo, have already come forward and said that they would have software patches coming soon.

“The best you can do is apply updates from OS vendor and system manufacturers as soon as they come available,” intelsaid



Microsoft’s Spectre fix bricks PCs with older AMD CPUs

Athlons and Semprons affected.

Users are reporting that computers with older processors made by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) on board will not start up after installing a package of fixes for Windows that includes mitigations for the Meltdown and Spectre chip flaws.

The update for Windows 10 version 1709, KB4056892, provides a range of fixes and updates, and addresses security issues affecting the operating system. It is installed automatically through Windows Update.

Installing the patch appears to prevent computers with AMD Athlon 64 X2 and Sempron processors from booting into Windows, users in multiple languages are reporting.


Windows 10 becomes stuck and will not restart and enter the operating system, displaying the error code 0x800f0845


Unless users have created a restore point for Windows, it is not possible to roll back the installation to an earlier version of the operating system without the patch installed.

Users without restore points to revert to will have to reinstall Windows 10 instead.


Microsoft said it is also aware of another issue affecting certain anti-virus products, causing Windows to crash with the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error, after the Meltdown-Spectre patch is installed.

The Meltdown-Spectre patch will not be installed on PCs running the affected anti-virus products unless the vendor in question has added a registry value in the Windows configuration database, to show it’s safe to update the system.

Update, 10/1 9.15am: Microsoft has suspended the Spectre patch after receiving reports that it will render some PCs with AMD processors unbootable. The company said it is working with AMD to devise a fix.

Apple releases update to fix Spectre vulnerability

Apple on Monday released an updated version of its operating system software to fix a major microchip security flaw that affected nearly all computer chips made in the last decade.


Last week, Google and other security researchers disclosed two major chip flaws, one called Meltdown affecting only Intel chips and one called Spectre, which left computing devices vulnerable to hackers.


Apple released software updates for its Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

The iPhone maker had said it will release a patch for the Safari web browser on its iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Apple had also said that there were no known instances of hackers taking advantage of the flaw.


Telstra scraps private number fees

Customers were previously required to request a silent line and pay $2.93 per month to Telstra if they wanted to keep their details private.

Telstra group executive for consumer and small business Vicki Brady said the telco hopes to make privacy more accessible to its customers with the change.


The changes apply starting from 18 February 2018.




HP recalls tens of thousands of laptop batteries over fire risk

HP Thursday said it was recalling approximately 50,000 lithium-ion batteries for 11 laptop models due to a potential for the batteries to overheat and catch fire.


The batteries in question are embedded in the PCs and are not easily removable. As a result, HP is planning to send technicians to customer sites to replace the affected batteries at no charge.

According to Mike Nash, HP’s vice president of customer experience for personal systems, 0.1 percent of HP’s PCs sold between December 2015 and December 2017 are affected by the recall


For customers with affected systems, “a battery will be promptly shipped to the customer, and HP will send a service technician on site to replace the battery”, he said.

Users will also be directed to install a BIOS update that will deplete the battery down to a safe level, and users will be able to continue using their PC connected to a power charger.

The affected PCs include commercial and consumer notebooks, as well as mobile workstations. The manufacturer of the affected batteries and the estimated total number of affected PCs are not being disclosed by HP.


Affected models are the HP Probook 64x (G2 and G3); HP ProBook 65x (G2 and G3); HP x360 310 G2; HP Envy m6; HP Pavilion x360; HP 11 notebook; and the HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4 and Studio G3) mobile workstations.


Fart-tracking pill spies on your gut gases

A swallowable capsule unveils the secrets of our digestive system by following the trail of food through the gut.

A research team led by scientists at Australia’s RMIT University developed the pill, which measures hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen gases in the gut in real time. This data can even be sent to a smartphone, which suggests the potential for a whole new generation of apps

Just as body temperature is an indicator of general health, the concentration of gases produced by the microbiome is an indicator of gut health,” wrote University of Nebraska mechanical-engineering professor Benjamin Terry in a commentary about the capsule. “More valuable still is an understanding of the gas concentration profile along the entire length of the gut.”   

The pills consist of a gas-permeable membrane, gas and temperature sensors, a microcontroller, batteries, antennas and a wireless transmitter. It can stay in the body for days working its way though the gastrointestinal tract.

The human trials involved seven people on low and high-fiber diets. The capsule was able to accurately detect the onset of food fermentation. The team used ultrasound to compare the location of the capsule in the body with the changes in gases.

The research team is now looking into commercializing the technology. “Our ingestible sensors offer a potential diagnostic tool for many disorders of the gut from food nutrient malabsorption to colon cancer. It is good news that a less invasive procedure will now be an option for so many people in the future,

Netflix scam warning: Don’t respond to this email

NETFLIX has again been hit by a sophisticated scam that attempts to fool subscribers into handing over their credit card details.

The bogus email has been doing the rounds in Australia and has attracted the attention of New South Wales police, who tweeted a warning this morning.

The email tells Netflix users their credit card details need updating — and invites them to click through to a second page that is a phishing site.


Steve Ballmer Flying Penis Helicopter – I am unable to find this video – it must have been taken down. But here is one similar just cause it is amusing