Episode 570 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Energizer claims 16-day battery life with smartphone launch

 

Energizer has claimed that its latest Android smartphone, which is equipped with a high-capacity battery, can last up to 16 days on standby mode.

The Hardcase H550S is powered with a 4000 milliampere (mAh) battery that offers a 10-hour talk time and is paired with “intelligent power saving technology” to optimise the battery.

Three versions of the phone will be sold — one for Europe, another for the Americas and one for Australia and India — and is available in either 2G, 3G and 4G frequency bands to adapt to each region.

The phone, which is licensed through France-headquartered Avenir Telecom, also includes a fast charger and a USB type-C cable out of the box.

Inside the phone is a Mediatek MT6750T eight core 1.5 GHz processor, along with 3 gigabytes of RAM and 32 GB of expandable internal storage.

It also has a 16 megapixel main camera and an 8 megapixel front camera from Sony. The 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass 3 screen has a resolution of 1080p, and features slightly rounded edges.

The H550S has received an IP68 certification with its dustproof body that and can also resist up to a 1.5 metre fall and a 30-minute submersion under 1.5 metres of water.

Tablet sales decline for the 13th straight quarter

Sales of tablet devices around the world declined again in the last quarter of 2017, making that the 13th quarter in a row that shipments have dropped, according to figures released yesterday by market analyst IDC.

IDC said the continued decline might be down to the devices not offering enough productivity benefits, and so have been used largely just to stream media services.

“With narrow margins some vendors are using this form factor as a portal to their larger ecosystems or to promote their brand within broader gadget market,” the analyst house added.

Apple was the market leader in this category, IDC said, maintaining a solid lead in the holiday quarter and driving growth both through its lower-priced 9.7in iPad as well as its newly refreshed iPad Pro products.

Superloop’s CyberHound tackles kids’ screen addiction in exclusive deal for Circle by Disney

Circle with Disney allows parents to manage their children’s screen time and filter content on any device, including smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

The Circle Home device pairs wirelessly with the home wi-fi network to allow parents to manage connected devices, and can be controlled with an iOS or Android app.

Circle Go is an app that uses a virtual private network to extend the home wi-fi settings to children’s mobile devices over both 4G connections and third-party wi-fi connections.

Features include time limits, including limits for specific apps such as Facebook; internet filtering that can be based on age ranges and target specific apps and websites; and rewards, such as a one-off time limit extension or a “late BedTime”.

The platform will initially retail for $99 and will be sold exclusively at CyberSafeHouse.com, operated by CyberHound and Circle.

Reseller jailed for selling dodgy tablets in indigenous communities

The owner of a Northern Territory reseller has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after being convicted of “unconscionable conduct” against Indigenous customers, many of whom were sick or facing addictions

According to the Australian Investment and Securities Commission, Scammers  targeted Indigenous consumers at Royal Darwin Hospital and its surrounding communities to sell tablets and offer loans to at least 600 customers.

told customers the tablets were Apple iPads and required additional payment for warranties when they were actually cheap Android Nextbook tablets that retail for US$59.99. During the transaction, the scamemrs would obtain the customer’s online bank account details and transfer money to himself that was much more than the agreed amount.

ASIC claimed that the majority of customers only spoke English as a second language and would have had a poor understanding of the commercial transactions they entered into.

The scammer had already agreed to stop its sales and practices and pay a fine of $20,000 to be used by the ACCC to redress affected customers.

Along with his prison sentence, Anni has also been banned from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services, and has been disqualified from managing corporations for five years following his release.

Apple Shipped a Record 18M Smartwatches in 2017

Apple shipped more than 18 million smartwatches in 2017, up 54 percent compared to the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, the Cupertino tech giant shipped 8 million smartwatches, which Canalys said is “the highest ever number of shipments in a single quarter, not just for Apple, but for any wearable vendor.”

apple pushed “just under 9 million” Series 3 units last year, accounting for nearly half of all Apple Watch shipments in 2017.

The cellular version of the Apple Watch was in strong demand in the US, Japan, and Australia, where all major operators stocked it in time for the holiday season,” Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke said in a statement.

Apple Watch Series 3 battery life takes a big hit when using LTE,” PCMag’s Victoria Song wrote in the review. “But it’s one of the best attempts at a truly standalone smartwatch we’ve seen if you’re willing to deal with those trade-offs.”

Tesla and Australia will turn 50,000 homes into a virtual solar power plant

South Australia has announced that it will create a network of thousands of solar-powered homes, using Tesla solar panels and Powerwall batteries, Reuters reports. Initial phases of the plan are already underway and will eventually expand to as many as 50,000 homes, creating the “world’s largest virtual power plant,” according to premier Jay Weatherill.

Installation of the 5kW solar panels and Tesla batteries has already begun on 1,100 public housing properties, with 24,000 more to follow. After that, the program will be opened up to as many as 50,000 South Australian homes over the next four years.

The panels and batteries are being supplied at no cost to homeowners, backed by a multi-million-dollar grant and a loan from a taxpayer renewable energy fund. The program will be financed through the sale of excess energy generated by the solar power grid.

The government has already set up a registration site for Australians who want to be part of the program. “Virtual power plants allow families to take control of their power bills, while providing greater security for the energy network,” said John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council.

WAn update to WordPress’ content delivery platform issued this week introduced a bug that prevents WordPress from updating automatically to any new versions in the future.

The company’s version 4.9.3 maintenance release pushed out earlier this week contained fixes for 34 bugs, but also broke the software’s ability to auto-update to future versions

WordPress update breaks future updates

A bug went undetected during the 4.9.3 development cycle, and was only discovered hours after 4.9.3’s release. The bug causes a PHP Fatal error to be triggered when WordPress attempts to update itself,” WordPress said.

While the company jumped on the issue and published version 4.9.4 the following day as an emergency fix, users will need to install the update manually.

Space car cruises further than expected towards asteroid belt

THE car that Elon Musk’s SpaceX shot into space yesterday has actually overshot its target and is now rocketing towards the asteroid belt beyond Mars’ orbit.

The car was only meant to reach as far as Mars, with the plan that it would come close to the planet without colliding with it.

Mr Musk tweeted overnight that the Roadster had exceeded the red planet’s orbit and had continued towards the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, a more distant trajectory than anticipated, almost reaching the orbit of dwarf planet Ceres.

Even if the vehicle and its dummy passenger miraculously manage to make it through the asteroids intact, there’s still bad news.

Indiana University chemist William Carroll told Live Science that the real danger for the car is that its plastic and carbon-fibre body will be torn apart by the harsh radiation of the sun and cosmic rays.

“All of the organics will be subjected to degradation by the various kinds of radiation that you will run into there,” he said.

“Those organics, in that environment, I wouldn’t give them a year.”

 

JASON

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http://www.smh.com.au/technology/smartphone-apps/apple-music-may-soon-become-the-most-popular-music-streaming-service-in-the-us-20180208-p4yzof.html

In the race for global music streaming supremacy, the gap between Spotify and Apple Music is getting smaller.

Apple Music is growing its American subscriber base at a faster rate than Sweden-based Spotify, and may usurp Spotify as the most popular music streaming service as soon as mid-2018

But globally, Apple Music still has a long way to go. Spotify has more than 70 million global subscribers, whereas Apple Music told WSJ it now has 36 million subscribers, up from 30 million in September.

Apple Music — which comes preloaded on all Apple devices — has been growing at 5 per cent in subscribers in the United States every month. Spotify, in contrast, has a 2 per cent monthly subscriber growth rate.

Both Apple Music and Spotify offer a trial period before their regular paid subscription models. Apple Music’s trial period lasts three months, while Spotify’s is 30 days.

Apple Music has three to four times more users in the trial period than Spotify, boosting its overall listenership numbers in the United States past Spotify.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/telstra-opens-5g-innovation-centre-on-gold-coast-20180205-p4yzgq.html

Mobile networks are no longer just aimed at people chasing fast download speeds. Instead autonomous drones, self-driving cars and other smart devices will benefit most from Australia’s new super-fast 5G networks launching next year.

Swarms of smart drones are set to patrol Australia’s beaches, taking advantage of 5G’s multi-gigabit data speeds to work in unison and stream high-definition video back to land, where artificial intelligence will scan for swimmers in distress and watch for sharks.

While individual Little Ripper Rescue drones equipped with video cameras are already used by lifeguards on the Far North Coast and Sydney’s northern beaches, swarms of drones would see their combined video streams swamp today’s 4G mobile networks, says Telstra networks chief Mike Wright.

“If we were only concerned about connecting people then we could almost stop at 4G, but the real strength of 5G is connecting all these different smart devices,” Wright says.

“These rescue drones are the perfect example. Great ideas like this, which are technically possible on 4G, will finally become a practical reality on 5G.”

Telstra opened a 5G Innovation Centre on Monday, as part of a $60 million investment in the Gold Coast’s Southport Exchange, where it will test next generation mobile technologies in Australian conditions. Overall the telco is investing $5 billion over three years to upgrade and expand its mobile network across the country as well as to acquire 5G spectrum.

The 5G network will rely on two wireless bands, 3.6GHz and 26GHz, with devices seamlessly roaming between them. While the higher frequencies offer faster speeds, the lower frequencies reach further and are better at passing through solid objects like walls.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40527994/now-google-might-make-a-game-console-and-game-streaming-service

Google could try to get serious about gaming with a rumored console and game-streaming service, according to the Information. The service, codenamed “Yeti,” would stream modern games over the internet instead of processing them locally, allowing them to run weaker hardware such as Google’s Chromecast dongles.

Several other companies, including Nvidia and Sony, already offer their own game-streaming services, but the problems are always the same: Publishers tend to support these services half-heartedly or not at all, and even with an excellent internet connection, the experience isn’t as responsive or dependable as a powerful home console. It’s unclear how Google might solve those problems, but the company is reportedly considering a holiday 2018 launch.

As for a full-blown game console, the details are hazy, but Ars Technica points out that Google recently hired former Xbox and Playstation executive Phil Harrison. Google also has a capable platform already in Android TV, which supports most major streaming-video apps, has its own library of cheap and free games, and works with Google Assistant voice controls. Google hasn’t released its own Android TV hardware since late 2014, but perhaps the company has noticed the enthusiasm around Nvidia’s Shield TV set-top box and has decided to get back onboard

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/05/facebook-wants-to-open-up-its-videos-platform-to-more-online-influencers-and-advertisers-.html

Facebook is talking about expanding its TV-like service, Watch, into a rival to Google‘s YouTube by opening the platform to more individual creators, according to several people familiar with the plans. This would increase the amount of long-form video content that Facebook can sell ads against, and could reverse a decline in the time users are spending on the site.

Facebook wants to allow more people to create their own shows on Watch, according to three media agencies who asked they remain anonymous because the conversations are private. Instead of buying rights to these shows, however, Facebook wants to create a system where creators can upload their shows for free, then earn a cut of the revenue from ads placed on that content — similar to how YouTube pays its online creators. Another source with knowledge of the situation said Facebook’s ultimate goal is to create a sustainable ad-supported video platform, where it won’t have to pay for the majority of content.f

Creators are hungry for other video platforms that can earn them more revenue after YouTube made it harder to earn advertising money on its platform. Amazon has also talked to advertising agencies about creating more ad-supported video initiatives.

More broadly, the move continues Watch’s encroachment into YouTube’s territory. Currently not everyone on Watch makes advertising revenue. Facebook pays some media, production companies and creators for rights for their shows, ranging from $10,000 to $500,000 per episode depending on the length and exclusivity, according to four companies who have Watch deals. Some shows are uploaded for free on a “partner” basis.