Episode 623 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Update Google Chrome Right Now

A security flaw in Google Chrome was under active attack last week; although Google’s most recent Chrome update (hopefully) automatically fixed the problem in your browser, it’s important that you double-check that you’re running the newest version (72.0.3626.121).

 

open the browser and select “About Google Chrome,” which you’ll find in the Help section within its primary drop-down menu. Your browser should then automatically update for you if there’s a more recent version to download.

 

Melbourne Council opposes Apple Store in Federation Square

Apple’s ambition to replace a building in Melbourne’s Federation Square with one of its stores has suffered a reversal after the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee resolved to oppose the project.

 

Apple plans to build a global flagship store in the Square, but to do so must demolish the existing “Yarra Building”. That structure can’t be touched without signoff from Heritage Victoria, which is soon to consider the matter.

 

decision doesn’t mean the end for the Apple store, as Heritage Victoria still has a decision to make. Apple has also already redesigned the building in an effort to find a design more acceptable

 

****** so no final decision as yet – bit of watch this space

https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-council/committees-meetings/meeting-archive/pages/Future-Melbourne-Committee-5-March-2019.aspx

 

Microsoft disbands Band wearable business

The Microsoft Band is finally being put to rest, three years after production ceased.

 

Microsoft announced that it would end support for its two wearable devices on 31 May when it shuts down its Microsoft Health Dashboard, along with associated applications and services.

 

Anyone that still owns a Microsoft Band can still use it after 31 May, but functionality will be limited and features that relied on the cloud or the phone app will no longer work.

 

Customers with a Band 1 device will receive US$79.99 and Band 2 users will receive U$175. Microsoft will send out refund instructions to eligible customers.

 

Microsoft will also delete all data stored in the Health Dashboard on 31 May, but customers can export their data until then. Customers can also import their Band data to another service or wearable where supported.

 

 

 

Officeworks buys Sydney-based PC repairs and tech support provider Geeks2U

Geeks2U provides hardware and software repairs, security solutions, wireless and wired networking services, virus and spyware prevention and removal, data backup and recovery solutions for PCs and Macs.

Officeworks managing director Sarah Hunter said the acquisition was part of the office supplies retailer’s strategy to expand its offerings to “better meet customers’ needs” and complement its existing products and services.

 

In December last year, Officeworks started reselling NBN services through its ‘Accord with Officeworks’ branding, offering both personal and business plans.

In 2016, the company reached an agreement with managed services provider CSG to offer device-as-a-service in 2016.

 

 

Microsoft to start selling Windows 7 add-on support from April

 

Microsoft plans to start selling its Windows 7 add-on support beginning 1 April.

Labeled “Extended Security Updates” (ESU), the post-retirement support will give enterprise customers more time to purge their environments of Windows 7.

From Windows 7’s 14 January 2020 end of support, ESU will provide security fixes for uncovered or reported vulnerabilities in the OS.

Patches will be issued only for bugs rated “Critical” or “Important” by Microsoft, the top two rankings in a four-step scoring system.

 

Costs for ESU will start out low – US$25 or US$50 per year per device – but will double each year, ending at US$100 or US$200 per device for the third and final year

 

Joes Podcast Notes for

07/03/2019

The Galaxy S10 and LG G8 are the latest phones to get T-Mobile’s spam-fighting call verification

https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/6/18253407/galaxy-s10-lg-g8-t-mobile-call-verification-spam-robocalls

 

    • T-Mobile an American Service provide announced today that it’s expanding its robocall-fighting Caller Verified feature to five new phones, the Galaxy S10, and S10 Plus, along with the forthcoming LG G8 ThinQ – Those phones join the Note 9, Galaxy S9, and S9 Plus in supporting Caller Verified Calls, which displays a message that an incoming call is coming from a verified person, and not a VoIP internet spammer.
    • T-Mobile’s implementation relies on the STIR/SHAKEN authentication method (STIR: which stands for – Secure Telephone Identity Revisited and SHAKEN: Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs). This method uses a certificate system that’s similar to how browsers confirm that a website is real to confirm that the call is coming from a real phone. (Caller Verified is different to other screening technologies, like Name and number ID)
    • STIR/SHAKEN isn’t a perfect solution to ending spam calls. It can’t tell you which calls are VoIP spam, only which ones it knows for sure aren’t.

 

  • IT’S NOT A PERFECT SOLUTION TO MONITOR SPAM CALLS, BUT AT LEAST IT’S SOMETHING.

 

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Fitbit’s new $160 Versa Lite Smartwatch

https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/6/18251931/fitbit-versa-lite-ace-2-inspire-hr-smartwatch-fitness-tracker-announce

 

  • The new Fitbit’s Versa Lite is a stripped-down version of its entry-level smartwatch –  The new Versa Lite starts at $160 and comes in a couple of colors like purple and blue.
  • Despite the name, it’s not physically any smaller or thinner than the original Versa smartwatch. The Lite retains the same “squircle”-shaped screen with the same-sized bezels, it runs on Fitbit OS, and it offers sleep and exercise trackers. It won’t, however, be offered with Wi-Fi, NFC, music playback, swimming laps or floor climb counts.
  • Because there’s no music playing mode, it also loses the volume buttons on the right side.
  • Although the Versa was already designed to be an entry-level smartwatch, Fitbit hopes this version targets those who are more “price-conscious” or don’t need the full fitness functionalities, It also downloads software updates as it syncs with your smartphone
  • I got myself another smartwatch this week, nothing flash,

but it does the job. – so far works good…check out the link below if interested.

https://www.gearbest.com/smart-watches/pp_009982333023.html

 

Google gives Android developers new tools to make money from users who won’t pay

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/06/google-gives-android-developers-new-tools-to-make-money-from-users-who-wont-pay/

 

  • Google  today is introducing a new way for Android developers to generate revenue from their mobile applications. And no, it’s not subscription-related. Instead, the company is launching a new monetization option for apps called “Rewarded Products.” This new rewarded products will allow non-paying app users to contribute to an app’s revenue stream by sacrificing their time, but not their money.
  • The first product will be rewarded video, where users can opt to watch a video ad in exchange for in-game currency, virtual goods or other benefits. The feature may make developers happy, but it remains to be seen how users will react.
  • Google’s example of the rewarded product in action is meant to showcase a best-design practice, now one would think something along the lines of— A video interrupts gameplay between levels with a full-screen takeover.
  • Watching Rewarded videos has worked for some apps in the past where users have come to expect a free product and that could also include free-to-play games or other services where subscribing is an option, not a requirement.

 

 

 

Don’t buy a foldable smartphone in 2019

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/foldable-smartphones-prices-risks-2019-3

 

  • The most exciting new technology of 2019, so far, has to be the foldable smartphone.
  • The biggest phone makers in the world, including Samsung and Huawei, unveiled their first foldable phones last month.
    While these new phone designs are certainly exciting, it really makes the most sense to wait at least a year before buying one.
  • Everyone’s talking about foldable smartphones right now.
    But just because these new phone designs will soon be available for public consumption, it doesn’t mean you should be one of the first to rush in.
    Here’s why.In late February, there was lots of announcements from smartphone makers about their plans to release foldable smartphones in 2019. Samsung went first at Unpacked 2019, and surprising the crowd that was expecting to see the new Galaxy S10 range of phones, and then by preceding to  announce the new Galaxy Fold, a foldable smartphone that starts at $US1,980.”
  • That same weekend, at Mobile World Congress, Huawei — the second largest smartphone maker in the world, next to Samsung — unveiled its foldable Mate X. That phone will cost a whopping $US2,600 when it becomes available later this year. Then
    several Chinese companies, including TCL and Oppo, have shown off prototypes of foldable phones too, with plans to release fully functional models in the coming years if there’s a big enough of demand for them.
  • Still, as great as these phones are likely to be, it’s best you don’t buy a foldable smartphone in 2019. It makes sense to wait — for several reasons.
  • First of all, these phones are asking for a lot of money up front — roughly two to three times what you’d pay for a high-end smartphone. Keep in mind, all of these phones are running the same software underneath.
  • Secondly, we don’t know what the repair process will be like for these phones. Given the high cost of the phone to start, would you also be ok being phoneless, potentially for several weeks, as you ship your phone to the manufacturer and wait for it to return?… let’s say for a broken screen or warranty work.
  • Being something new it’s impossible to foresee what kinds of problems or issues foldable phones may experience — maybe the hinge breaks, or one of the many cameras malfunctions — but you probably don’t want to be the guinea pig, especially given how much you’re paying for the phone up front.- This goes for anything of the 1st  version , its always better to get the 2nd or third version , by that time the issues and bugs should be ironed out.