Episode 580 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Myer to resell Amazon’s Echo Spot

 

Amazon’s new Echo Spot as it arrives on Australian shores later this month.

 

The new smart speaker comes in a smaller design compared to Amazon’s other voice controlled devices, and includes a circular display screen to complement Alexa,

 

“See the weather, watch video news briefings, glance at your alarm clock, make video calls, and more—we think customers in Australia will find lots of places for Echo Spot in their homes.” Alexa Australia and New Zealand country manager Sylvia Ding said.

 

The Echo Spot will be available in-store and shipped out to customers on 26 April, with pre-orders starting today on Amazon Australia for $199.

 

The printer that HP launched into space is up and running

Last year NASA, the US space agency, began working with HP on a customised version of the HP OfficeJet 5740 to be used in zero gravity by scientists and researchers on the ISS.

Designing a printer to work in zero gravity came with a unique set of challenges. According to HP, the ISS goes through two reams of paper a month, which is used to print procedural and mission critical information such as emergency e-books, inventory return trajectories, timelines and personal items like photographs.

 

One of the major challenges was ink, which could easily leak without gravity and damage other equipment on the station. The Envy ISS uses a unique waste ink system to clean the print heads, ensuring wasted ink is gathered on absorbent pads without gravity.

 

The printer is also built from flame retardant plastic to survive any adverse conditions and has no glass, which could become dangerous if broken. The input and output trays allow for unattended operation so printed paper can’t get loose on the station. It can also print from multiple orientations.

The printer was launched on the SpaceX CRS-14 rocket on 2 April. NASA manager of ISS computer resources Stephen Hunter told partners at the HP’s annual Australian partner conference, HP Evolution, in Melbourne this week that the printer had started operating as of Wednesday.

The Envy ISS printer replaced an old Epson 800 printer on the ISS which had been used on the ISS and space shuttles since 1996.

 

Donkey Kong champion loses title for ‘using emulator’

 

The Donkey Kong world champion has been stripped of a record he set for the 1981 arcade classic following claims he did not use an original machine.

Twin Galaxies, which tracks video games records, believes that Billy Mitchell’s 1,047,200 score on the original Donkey Kong was achieved using an emulator.

 

Twin Galaxies was alerted by Donkey Kong forum moderator Jeremy Young.

Mr Young suspected that images seen in a video of Mr Mitchell’s Donkey Kong world record run were impossible to generate on an arcade machine.

He believed that the game must have been played on an emulator.

Twin Galaxies then did its its own investigations, which led it to conclude that Mr Mitchell had not used the original arcade machine.

In a post on its findings, Twin Galaxies said: “Based on the complete body of evidence presented in this official dispute thread, Twin Galaxies administrative staff has unanimously decided to remove all of Billy Mitchell’s scores as well as ban him from participating in our competitive leaderboards.

“We have notified Guinness World Records of our decision.”

 

As well as conducting its own investigation, Twin Galaxies said it had taken into account at least two different third-party inquiries which came to “identical conclusions”.

It concluded: “With this ruling, Twin Galaxies can no longer recognise Billy Mitchell as the first million-point Donkey Kong record holder. “

It said that record would now be bestowed on another gamer, Steve Wiebe.