Episode 582 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Telstra, Vodafone follow Optus by offering up unlimited data smartphone plans

Telstra’s mobile plan costs $69 per month on a 12-month plan and includes unlimited data with uncapped download speeds for the first 40GB. After that, users can still use data, but it will be capped at 1.5Mbps, which Telstra said would be “fast enough” to stream video and music.


Vodafone has three similar plans all with unlimited data. The cheapest plan costs $60 per month with 30 GB of uncapped download speeds before also being capped at 1.5Mbps. The other two plans cost $80 per month for 60 GB uncapped download speeds, and $100 per month for 100 GB uncapped.


One of the key differences between the two telco’s plans is that Vodafone will also bundle in a smartphone, Telstra’s plan is BYO phone only.


Telstra launches mobile repeater to improve coverage

Telstra has launched its Go Repeater antenna to help users receive improved 3G and 4G mobile coverage where needed.


The antenna will cater to users in regional areas, those who travel between areas of patchy coverage, or who work in offices or live in residences where indoor signal may be weaker or lacking.


Operating on Telstra’s 3G, 4G and 4GX network, the device receives mobile signals through an external antenna, which then enhances and retransmits the signal to an indoor or in-vehicle antenna to extend coverage.

It is available as either a stationary antenna for use in residential and commercial premises or a portable version for users wanting to improve coverage on the go, like in a car, truck or boat.

Customers can avail of the Telstra Go Repeater on a monthly repayment plan or purchase the device outright, at $648 for the stationary version or $720 for the portable version. The stationary version, however, will require an external antenna at an additional cost.



five biggest things coming in the latest Windows 10 update

The update, which comes out twice a year, is breaking with the naming scheme of the two “Creators Update” releases of 2017. Instead, the company is calling this release the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.


Delivery optimisation

The new capabilities will enable a single device to download an update, and then deliver that update to other devices over the local network.


The April 2018 Update will introduce a feature for monitoring the status of delivery optimisation using Windows Analytics. two data points that can be monitored will include the number of devices enabled and the amount of bandwidth saved.


Device management

For easier management of devices, Microsoft said that its Windows AutoPilot solution will include an enrollment status page as part of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. The page will allow IT “to ensure policies, settings, and apps can be provisioned on the device during that out-of-box experience before the user gets to the desktop and begins interacting with the device,” Now IT can ensure every device is compliant and secure before it is used.



Timeline works by enabling Windows 10 PCs to show users a record of what they’ve been doing at any point in the past 30 days. It also works for resuming Microsoft Edge and Office 365 activities – allowing users to resume their work when they switch from a smartphone to a PC – including if they’re using those applications on an iOS or Android device.


Focus assist

Focus Assist can also be set to come on every day at a certain time, and can be tailored to make exceptions for messages from certain key people. Users then get a summary of their notifications, emails and updates once they’ve emerged out of Focus Assist mode.


Edge updates

Edge will now include a way to mute and un-mute tabs that are playing audio, while books and PDFs in Edge will now be able to go full-screen to limit distractions


a new “clutter-free” printing option that enables users to print out web pages in a “cleaner” format; a secure auto-fill feature for automatically adding address and payment information into shopping sites; and a new Grammar Tools button to aid reading comprehension by breaking words on a page into syllables and highlighting the different parts of speech (nouns, verbs and adjectives).


Xiaomi launches $10bn Hong Kong stock market listing



Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has filed to list on Hong Kong stock market, in a move that is expected to raise up to $10bn (£7.5bn).

The stock market flotation will be the world’s biggest debut in 2018, and the largest since fellow China tech giant Alibaba’s raised $25bn in 2014.

Xiaomi has bounced back after admitting last year it had grown too quickly.


As well as China, it is a major player in India where it rivals Samsung to be the most the popular handset maker.

Last year the Xiaomi moved into the Spain market and reports suggest it is also looking to get into the US to take on Apple.


Besides smartphones, Xiaomi makes other internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, including air purifiers and rice cookers. Currently most of its profits come from internet services, and it has set up apps offering music and other entertainment, in a similar business model to that of Chinese rival Tencent.





Facebook has announced it will add a dating service to its growing list of new products.


The announcement came Tuesday at Facebook’s F8 conference in San Jose, California. The yearly event is for app developers and is a place for the company to show off its latest products and services.


Facebook has considered adding a dating app for years. But founder Mark Zuckerberg said he felt now is the right time to begin the service. He said that currently, 1 in 3 marriages in the United States starts with an internet relationship. About 200 million people on Facebook identify themselves as single.


Zuckerberg said the new service would be “coming soon.” He noted that the service will aim to help users build long-term relationships, “not just hookups.”


“And if we’re focused on helping people build meaningful relationships, then this is perhaps the most meaningful of all.”


He added that the dating service will appear within the Facebook app, but users will have complete control over whether they want to use it. People can choose to enter a dating profile. But this will be separate from an individual’s main Facebook profile, and will not be seen by users’ friends.


And Zuckerberg pleased the crowd when he announced the launch of Facebook’s new Oculus Go virtual reality (VR) glasses. He said the devices would be available immediately. Prices for the device start at $199.


The glasses are designed to make people feel as though they are in a particular place, without physically being there. The crowd cheered loudly when Zuckerberg announced that everybody at F8 would receive an Oculus Go for free.



Google is secretly building a social-gaming startup, part of its effort to create fledgling companies within the internet-search giant.


The founder and co-owner of the new firm, called Arcade, is Michael Sayman, according to people familiar with the matter. Sayman is the 21-year-old wunderkind who started as a Facebook Inc. intern at age 17 and left that company for Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year. Arcade’s first app, slated to debut this summer, will have some elements of a trivia game.


A Google spokesperson confirmed the existence of Arcade, saying it was “focused on mobile gaming with friends,” without elaborating on specific products. “It’s a very early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.” The effort is part of Area 120, a division where select employees can work on small startups that live inside Google.


Arcade’s games have no tie-in with existing social networks. Users create accounts with their phone numbers, one of the people said. Google is considering it a social-media investment because once a game gets to a certain size, it’s something of a social network by itself, this person said. Google scaled back its ambitions in social media after its Facebook clone, Google Plus, failed to take off. Still, the search giant has kept toying with forms of social networks, such as app experiments like this, to keep younger mobile internet users hooked on the company’s products.



The Federal Trade Commission put six companies on notice today, telling them in a warning letter that their warranty practices violate federal law. If you buy a car with a warranty, take it a repair shop to fix it, then have to return the car to the manufacturer, the car company isn’t legally allowed to deny the return because you took your car to another shop. The same is true of any consumer device that costs more than $5, though many manufacturers want you to think otherwise.


Companies such as Sony and Microsoft pepper the edges of their game consoles with warning labels telling customers that breaking the seal voids the warranty. That’s illegal. Thanks to the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, no manufacturer is allowed to put repair restrictions on a device it offers a warranty on. Dozens of companies do it anyway, and the FTC has put them on notice. Apple, meanwhile, routinely tells customers not to use third party repair companies, and aftermarket parts regularly break iPhones due to software updates.


“The letters warn that FTC staff has concerns about the companies’ statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact,” the FTC wrote in a press release. “Unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties. Similarly, such statements may be deceptive under the FTC Act.”



If you’re a user of Xmarks, there’s some bad news for you — the service is closing down in a month’s time. The bookmark syncing tool, which is available as an addon for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, is to be shuttered on May 1.


Very little fuss is being made about the closure by the company behind it — something which is perhaps indicative of the level of interest there is in the service these days. A banner at the top of the Xmarks website reads: “LogMeIn is retiring Xmarks from its line of products as of May 1, 2018. After this date, you will no longer have access to Xmarks.”


Emails have also been sent out to registered users notifying them of the impending closure:


On May 1, 2018, we will be shutting down Xmarks. Your account will remain active until then. After this date, your bookmarks should remain available in any previously accessed browser, but they will no longer sync and your Xmarks account will be deactivated. There will be no impact to your LastPass Premium account. In addition, any remaining balance previously paid towards Xmarks will be applied as a credit towards your LastPass Premium account.


At LastPass, we’ve staked our claim in password management, and providing our community with a high level of password security. After careful consideration and evaluation, we have decided to discontinue the Xmarks solution so that we can continue to focus on offering the best possible password vaulting to our community.