Episode 581 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Apple recalls certain MacBook Pro models

initiating a battery replacement program for certain 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops because the batteries are prone to expanding.

The recall affects models of the MacBook Pro that stem from the 2016 redesign, but only impacts entry-level models that don’t feature the Touch Bar


The company said it would replace affected batteries for free, and users can determine if their MacBook Pro is eligible by entering the serial number into Apple’s page for the replacement program.


Google gun emoji becomes water pistol


Apple led the way in 2016 in the wake of a series of shootings in the US.

It was criticised at the time for deviating from the emoji standard, which ensures the symbols carry the same meaning across rival manufacturers’ devices and apps.

Facebook says it intends to follow suit but Microsoft has not yet commented.


Google’s update is expected to appear in Android 9.0 – the next version of its mobile operating system.


Spotify tests filter to block swearing in songs


The feature has been introduced on its iPhone and iPad apps – six years after being requested on its online forums.


Apple Music already have password-protected parental controls to skip explicit tracks.


The new setting, which was first introduced at the start of April, greys out explicit songs and prevents them from playing, but it doesn’t replace them with clean versions.


only available to Premium users, does not have a Pin code and can be changed by anyone with access to the device.


Microsoft confirms Spring Creators Update crash bug

The latest in Microsoft’s string of feature updates for the Windows 10 operating system, the Spring Creators Update was originally expected to release to the public on April 10th. On the very day, though, rumours spread of a serious last-minute show-stopping bug that had caused Microsoft to pull the release, and a week on the company has confirmed that is indeed the case while simultaneously downplaying its severity.


not, however, indicated when it will be cleared for general release as the Spring Creators Update.


Melbourne IT to rebrand as Arq Group

one of the country’s best-known domain vendors, will be rebranding itself as the Arq Group to reflect its diversion into other IT sectors, accompanying which will be an increase in staff numbers by 270


The domain and hosting business covers SMB customers and includes a handful of brands the company has acquired such as WebCentral, Netregistry, WME, Domainz and TPP, as well as Melbourne IT. The SMB business accounts for approximately $100 million in revenue and has 300 staff.


A statement from the company said, since its founding in 1996, it had been just a domains and hosting service.

But now, having expanded to a consultancy covering Web design, digital marketing, security, mobile, analytics, and cloud-based solutions, the need was felt for a name that reflected its broad expertise.

The name change is still subject to shareholder approval, which will be resolved at the company’s next annual general meeting on 28 May.




The Drupal open source content management system team has announced another highly critical flaw in the CMS that runs some high-profile websites, among them the White House and some 450 Australian Government sites.

The announcement said the vulnerability, within multiple subsystems, could be exploited to execute code remotely on systems running Drupal 7.x and 8.x, adding a few hours after initial publication that it was being exploited in the wild.

The Australian Government sites run a customised version of Drupal known as govCMS which has been built by the Boston-based open source firm Acquia.

“This potentially allows attackers to exploit multiple attack vectors on a Drupal site, which could result in the site being compromised,” the advisory said, without spelling out any of the technical details.

It said the vulnerability was related to a highly critical flaw, announced on 28 March, and now being exploited in the wild. No details were released by the Drupal project about that bug either, but the Israeli security firm Check Point provided a detailed analysis on 12 April.

There was an indication of panic among the Drupal team, with the announcement saying: “If you are unable to update immediately, or if you are running a Drupal distribution that does not yet include this security release, you can attempt to apply the patch below to fix the vulnerability until you are able to update completely.


When Google finally launches its rumored YouTube Remix platform this year, one of its other services will be put to rest. According to a reliable source, Google Play Music will be replaced as Google’s go-to music service with YouTube Remix. Not only that, but users will be forced off of Play Music by the end of 2018 and onto Remix.

Fast forward to this March where YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, confirmed some details of YouTube Remix during a chat at SXSW. He didn’t fully dive into pricing or launch, but did acknowledge that it would provide “the best of Google Play Music’s context server” and YouTube’s, “breadth and depth of catalogue.” He continued by saying that it’s OK that they are “late” with this launch because they are “making an enormous investment to launch a product that you will be proud of.”

Our source echoed Cohen’s comparison of YouTube Remix being based around recommendations, with smarter playlists, music depending on the time of day, where you are, that sort of thing. Google Play Music picked all of that up back at the end of 2016.

Our source didn’t elaborate on how Play Music will die, only that Google will do a forced adoption of Remix by the end of this year. That’ll likely mean heavy notifications within Play Music that the end is near. I’d imagine that your playlists and libraries will somehow sync or carry over to Remix, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


The Belgian Gaming Commission has determined that randomized loot boxes in at least three games count as “games of chance,” and publishers could therefore be subject to fines and prison sentences under the country’s gaming legislation.


A statement by Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens (machine translation) identifies loot boxes in Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as meeting the criteria for that “game of chance” definition: i.e., “there is a game element [where] a bet can lead to profit or loss and chance has a role in the game.” The Commission also looked at Star Wars: Battlefront II and determined that the recent changes EA made to the game means it “no longer technically forms a game of chance.”


Beyond that simple definition, the Gaming Commission expressed concern over games that draw in players with an “emotional profit forecast” of randomized goods, where players “buy an advantage with real money without knowing what benefit it would be.” The fact that these games don’t disclose the odds of receiving specific in-game items is also worrisome, the Commission said.


The three games noted above must remove their loot boxes or be in criminal violation of the country’s gaming legislation, Geens writes. That law carries penalties of up to €800,000 and five years in prison, which can be doubled if “minors are involved.” But Geens says he wants to start a “dialogue” with loot box providers to “see who should take responsibility where.”


“Paying loot boxes are not an innocent part of video games that present themselves as games of skill,” Gaming Commission Director Peter Naessens added in a statement. “Players are tempted and misled, and none of the protective measures for gambling are applied.”


Last year, Amazon unveiled a service called Amazon Key that lets delivery people into your home to drop off packages. Now, the tech giant wants to do the same thing with your car. Amazon announced a new service that gives it couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. “Amazon wants to use the connected technologies embedded in many modern vehicles today” to gain entry, reports The Verge. “The company is launching this new service in partnership with two major automakers — General Motors and Volvo — and will be rolling out in 37 cities in the U.S. starting today.” From the report:

Amazon has been beta testing the new service in California and Washington state for the past six months. To start out, the service will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers. It’s also limited to owners of GM and Volvo vehicles, model year 2015 or newer, with active OnStar and Volvo on Call accounts. Amazon says it plans to add other automobile brands over time. Packages that weigh over 50 pounds, are larger than 26 x 21 x 16 inches in size, require a signature, are valued over $1,300, or come from a third-party seller also are not eligible for in-car delivery.


To access the new delivery service, you need to add your car to your Amazon Key app and include a description of the vehicle, so Amazon’s couriers will be able to locate it. The car will need to be parked within a certain radius of an address used for Amazon deliveries, so either home or work. Driveways, parking lots, parking garages, and street parking are all eligible locations, just as long as it’s not at some random address across town. To find your car, Amazon’s couriers will have access to its GPS location and license plate number, as well as an image of the car.


Telstra has been fined $10 million in the Federal Court for signing its mobile customers up to be charged directly for third-party online content without their knowledge or agreement.


Up to 100,000 Telstra customers were signed up to its Premium Direct Billing (PDB) service by default, and paid extra charges on their mobile bills.


The PDB service allowed Telstra customers to purchase digital content from third-party developers, such as games and ringtones, outside the usual app marketplaces such as Google Play.


But Telstra PDB subscribers were charged even if they did not know they had been signed up, or if they used the service unintentionally.


In March, the ACCC took Telstra to the Federal Court, where the company admitted it made misleading or deceptive representations to customers, because it never adequately informed them that PDB was a default setting on their accounts.


But Telstra’s fine is just a fraction of the $61.7 million in net revenue Telstra made from the PDB service up till October last year.


Justice Moshinsky said that in his judgement Telstra’s conduct was at the serious end of the spectrum.