Episode 612 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Microsoft confirms yet another Windows 10 October Update bug

Microsoft has confirmed that another Windows 10 October Update bug has been identified, citing issues with Windows Media Player and a number of Win32 applications.


Users won’t be able to use the Seek Bar in Windows Media Player when playing specific files, while Win32 applications like Notepad cannot be set as the default for certain app and file type combinations.

“Microsoft is working on a resolution and estimates a solution will be available in late November 2018,” a Microsoft support document read.


Microsoft’s market cap catches up with Apple

Just four months after Apple breached the US$1 trillion mark, the iPhone maker has lost its lead as Wall Street’s most valuable company and is on the verge of being replaced by Microsoft.


Buoyed by a broad rebound in US stocks on Monday, Microsoft jumped 3.11 percent to US$106.28, pushing its market capitalisation up to a record US$816 billion at mid-day. At the same time, shares of Apple rose 0.63 percent, leaving its stock market value at US$823 billion.


Global demand for smartphones has slowed in recent years, making it more difficult for Apple to increase its revenue.


Apple’s market capitalisation overtook Microsoft’s in 2010 as the maker of Windows software struggled with slow demand for personal computers, due in part to the explosion of smartphones driven by the iPhone.


Google makes Apple’s Siri talk to its Assistant

Google’s found a way to make Apple’s Siri drive its competitor to Siri and by doing so made its hardware more accessible to iPhone and iPad owners and far more attractive to Australians.


iOS 12 added a new feature called Siri Shortcuts that lets Apple’s voice assistant drive other apps on iPhones and iPads. Google has had an iOS app for its Assistant for many months but earlier this week added support for Siri shortcuts.


Doing so means that Siri users can utter the command “Siri, OK Google” and Siri will get the Google Assistant app ready to respond to voice commands.


To make matters even more complex, Siri les you customise the phrase you use to open an app, so users could set “Siri, Open Cortana” as the phrase to drive the Google Assistant app.


Amazon will let Aussies back on its US website

Amazon said it will stop blocking Australians from shopping on its much larger US site after a customer backlash, dumping an unpopular policy the retail giant had said was necessary to comply with Australian tax law.


The online giant had blocked shoppers in July from placing orders on its US website after Australia applied a 10 percent tax to imported online goods worth less than $1000.


Australia had been the first market where the world’s second-most valuable company responded to a sales tax by shutting out customers based on where they lived.

Independent analysts said in July that the Australian website offered a range of products roughly one ninth the size of Amazon.com in the United States.


Apple in court over 30% app commission


Apple is facing the US Supreme Court to defend the commission it makes on iPhone app sales.

The company takes a 30% commission on every sale and is accused by a group of consumers of breaching anti-trust laws because there is no alternative place to buy an iPhone app.

Apple says it does not own or sell the apps.

The court must decide whether there is a case if there is no direct link between Apple and the app buyers.

While app developers set their own prices, Apple collects the payments.

Apple is appealing against a previous decision made by a lower court. The case began in 2011 and was revived last year.

Apple says if the legal action is allowed to proceed, it could affect other technology giants as well – Google and Microsoft, for example, also take 30% commission on app sales.


Window washing drone takes flight



A huge drone that can wash buildings and put out fires is being developed in Latvia. The Aerones drone weighs about 55kg (121lbs) and is tethered to the ground with a hose.

The company says it can clean buildings 20 times faster than humans and fly higher than firefighter ladders can reach. When 5G mobile connectivity arrives it will be able to stream high-definition video to operators on the ground, Aerones says.


70 Percent Chance Elon Musk Is Moving to Mars


Elon Musk may not be around for much longer as he intends to travel to Mars, a journey he thinks will most likely be a one way trip.


As Engadget reports, the SpaceX CEO recently carried out an exclusive interview with Axios on HBO during which he was asked how likely it is he will travel to Mars. Musk responds with a firm “70 percent” based on a number of breakthroughs he’s “really fired up about.” That suggests SpaceX has solved some of the bigger problems relating to not only getting a human to Mars, but allowing them to survive there.


He makes it clear the visit would most likely be moving there permanently and that the cost of a ticket would be in the ball park of $200,000. When the interviewer suggests it sounds like “an escape hatch for rich people,” Musk is quick to rubbish the claim. He points out the risk of dying is much higher both getting to and once on the red planet. If you do land successfully then life there is non-stop work.


Joes Podcast Notes



What is Google Fi and How does it work?



  • Google Fi is like a phone carrier only operated by Google instead. It works by giving you mobile data service on various mobile networks like at the moment its only for US and on (T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular).
  • Your phone will then intelligently switch between those different carriers as needed — it also uses a Wi-Fi network to make calls and send texts whenever it’s available.
  • Google Fi’s billing is as follows – The plan is $20 per month for unlimited talk and texting, and then there is a flat rate of $10 per gigabyte of data up to a max of $60.00 and if you hit 15 gigabytes of data you get capped to 256 kbps speed or pay a further $10 and get another gig
  • Google Fi works with a special SIM card — and a little software on your phone — that can authenticate cellular providers, and switch between them on the fly.


  • On the Pixel for example the integrated eSIM lets you use Google Fi without a physical SIM card — freeing up your SIM slot to be used for another carrier’s network should you need it.
  • In addition to the three traditional mobile networks, Google Fi also leans heavily on Wi-Fi whenever possible, whether you’re around a known network or not. As you move around, your phone will use the “Wi-Fi assistant” to constantly search for and connect to open Wi-Fi networks, using a database of known good networks that can provide a solid connection. Whenever your phone connects to Wi-Fi, the connection is routed through a VPN for your safety — and you won’t notice anything different in the phone experience, except you’re no longer paying for mobile data.
  • Google Fi works internationally in over 170 countries around the world with. Data used internationally is charged the exact same as it is at home no additional cost for data use or texting.
  • Starting in late November 2018, Google Fi works with any unlocked phone. With a spare SIM slot or with a eSim… Yes even the iPhone.


Windows 7 retirement timeline countdown



  • In less than 14 months, Microsoft’s popular Windows 7 operating system runs out of general support, a deadline that’s pushing businesses to move up to Windows 10.
  • These are the dates to pencil in as the transition to 10 gathers steam.
  • Microsoft has set the end of general support – that’s all the patches to quash vulnerabilities – as from Jan. 14, 2020.
  • But until 2020 there is some things going to happen in between.
  • Starting with the February 2019 monthly updates, Microsoft will introduce support for the replacement of SHA-2 to Windows 7.
  • In April 2019 Windows 7 PCs will not receive security fixes after this date unless they have been modified to accept updates signed with the SHA-2 algorithm.
  • In July 2019 Enterprises using WSUS 3.0 (Windows Server Update Services) SP2 must have added SHA-2 support by this date to continue delivering updates (of any kind, to any Microsoft software) to employees’ PCs.
  • On December 14th 2019 – Microsoft may start forcing Windows 7 Users an on-screen nag reminding them of the upcoming Jan. 14, 2020, retirement deadline and urging them to upgrade to Windows 10.
  • On Jan 14 2020 – Microsoft will deliver the final free security update to Windows 7 PCs on this date.
  • After Jan 20 2010 – Microsoft will continue to craft security patches for Windows 7 after the operating system’s retirement date.
    Those fixes will not be offered to the general public or for free to corporate customers. Rather, Microsoft will sell what it calls “Windows 7 Extended Security Updates” (ESU) to businesses running Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise, and then only if those OSes were obtained via a volume licensing deal.
  • April 2021 and beyond – Microsoft will probably rehash a move it made with Windows XP after Windows 7’s public support expires: Continue to provide antivirus (AV) signatures for its home-grown Security Essentials software.
  • Also Google will almost certainly produce security updates for Chrome after Microsoft stops servicing the OS. (Millions of machines running the browser could be vulnerable to exploitation otherwise.)


The new WPA3 Wi-Fi security protocols will be strengthened




  • The Wi-Fi Alliance has introduced the first major security improvement to Wi-Fi in about 14 years. Calling it WPA3. The most significant additions to this new security protocol are greater protection for simple passwords, individualized encryption for personal and open networks, and even more secure encryption for enterprise networks.
  • One of the new features is called Wi-Fi Easy Connect. Wi-Fi Easy Connect is an optional feature announced recently that will likely be seen with many WPA3-Personal devices, which may replace or be used in addition to the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) feature that came with WPA/WPA2. Wi-Fi Easy Connect is being designed to make it easier to connect display-less and IoT devices to Wi-Fi. This may include a button method similar to WPS, but may also add additional methods, like scanning a QR code of the device from a smartphone in order to securely connect the device.


  • Wi-Fi Enhanced Open, an optional feature that allows for seamless encryption on open Wi-Fi hotspot networks. Wi-Fi Enhanced Open prevents users from snooping on each other’s web traffic or performing other attacks, like session hijacking. It does all this in the background, without the users having to enter any password or do anything different than simply connecting like we’ve been used to on open networks.
  • Something to note tho is – even if a user buys a WPA3-capable laptop or smartphone, keep in mind that the network must also support WPA3 in order to obtain any of the security improvements, although the WPA3 device will still be backward compatible and be able to connect to WPA2 networks.


A new phone-like device from Microsoft



  • In July 2017, Microsoft appeared to finally close the door on the windows phone and the vice president of Windows Experience Joe Belfiore – announced in a tweet that Microsoft wouldn’t be adding new features or hardware to the Windows Phone.
  • End of story? Perhaps not. Plenty of reports from reliable sources say the company is hard at work on a new device, code-named Andromeda, that will likely include telephony capabilities. Leaked company documents call it “a new pocketable Surface device form factor.”
  • It’s not clear yet what features Andromeda will have. It may fold like a book…. and have a pen for digital ink input. It may include two screens. It will certainly be based on Windows 10.
  • It’s believed that Microsoft won’t position the new Andromeda device as a smartphone. But no matter how the company markets it, the device will probably still have built-in capabilities for doing what a phone does — making and receiving phone calls.




Big Mouth Billy Bass that works with Amazon Alexa



  • You can now buy a Big Mouth Billy Bass that works with Amazon Alexa. The fish’s lips will even sync up with what Alexa is saying. It costs $US40 from Amazon.
  • Once the plastic fish is hooked up to an Amazon Echo, it can respond to Alexa voice commands, dance to the beat of songs from Amazon Music, and it even syncs its fishy lips with Alexa’s words.
    Because it supports Alexa commands, you can ask the fish about the weather, news, or random facts.