Episode 628 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Google’s drone delivery service takes off in Canberra

Google’s drone service made its first air delivery in North Canberra earlier this week after getting approval from the country’s civil aviation authority.


limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin and would gradually expand to customers in Harrison and Gungahlin.

Google said “Wing has been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities,”



Labor’s NBN policy calls for re-wiring of 750,000 homes

ALP) has launched a new National Broadband Network (NBN) policy, with the headline item being a pledge to re-wire 750,000 homes using fibre-to-the-node connections.

Labor’s advanced that plan because doing so will “Improve speeds and reliability” for those homes. The policy calls for NBN Co to do the re-wiring work at no cost to households, and says “This will reduce dropouts and improve speeds for broadband services in up to 750,000 Fibre to the Node households.”

The policy announcement was not accompanied by costings for the domestic re-wiring, or other elements of the plan.


Microsoft pauses Windows 10 upgrades, advises admins to prepare for May release


The changes will land in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, which was previously expected to emerge in April 2019.

Once the release lands for the rest of us, Microsoft has again hit the pause button by letting you do the same on the upgrade. In the past, Windows 10 has gone and upgraded itself when it saw fit to do so. Which often meant a PC would become unusable for an hour or so, much to users’ annoyance

Hence Microsoft’s addition of features “making it possible for all users to pause both feature and monthly updates for up to 35 days (seven days at a time, up to five times). Once the 35-day pause period is reached, users will need to update their device before pausing again.”



Melbourne rejects flagship Apple Store

Apple hoped to build a global flagship store in the city’s iconic Federation Square. To do so, it applied to demolish the existing “Yarra Building”, which Apple said just couldn’t accommodate its hoped-for store and other facilities that it only installs in super-sized flagship stores.

Melbourne residents didn’t like Apple’s plan and lobbied hard to prevent the store’s construction.

Anti-store activists relied on the fact that the Yarra Building can’t be touched without sign-off by Heritage Victoria.

Heritage Victoria has rejected Apple’s plans on grounds that replacing the Yarra Building “would result in unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square.”

The document goes on to say that Apple’s proposed building is too big, out of character with the rest of the Square and eats into public space. Heritage Victoria added that the likely economic benefits of the Store don’t outweigh the damage done to Federation Square.



Illegally downloaded ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes expose you to viruses that hijack your computer

Hackers are disguising viruses as illegal downloads ahead of the show’s hotly anticipated final season, which airs this week.

Security researchers from Kaspersky Lab say cybercriminals often use popular TV shows to spread viruses – and “Game of Thrones” is their weapon of choice.

A whopping 17% of all infected pirated content in 2018 was disguised as Game of Thrones downloads, with nearly 21,000 users attacked.

This number is especially impressive when you consider the show did not release any new episodes last year.

More than 126,000 users downloaded malware instead of TV shows in 2018, researchers found.




McDonalds tells customers to show ID as card fraud bites… again

n a bid to reduce the weight of fraud losses caused by scammers obtaining free burgers using dodgy payment cards.

The company has started putting signs up warning diners they could be randomly selected for ID checks “due to some recent fraudulent credit card usage”, a move that suggests its point of sale payment systems have again become vulnerable to ravenous crooks.


A decade ago it was the main vector in a $4 million card sting in Perth busted by Western Australian Police.

In 2009 a fraud ring surreptitiously swapped-out McDonalds payment terminals and replaced them with nearly identical compromised substitutes that grabbed bank debit card mag-stripe numbers – and PINs – that were then transferred to blank cards to raid bank accounts.

because some merchants opted for a trade-off of faster transaction processing times that skipped individual authorisation below a certain dollar value, typically $10 to $20.

Because fast food is essentially not re-saleable – unlike alcohol, nappies, batteries, cosmetics and fuel – it was downgraded in terms of the fraud risk.

What is widely known is that very low value card transactions are sometimes used by carders to validate which stolen or cloned cards work or don’t work.





First Australia – Hong Kong data cable to be built

Singapore-based H2 Cable company signed up Subcom to supply and install a data circuit spanning Sydney to Hong Kong, and onwards to the United States.

On the Sydney to Hong Kong leg, H2 will have a capacity of 15 tbps per fibre pair with an onwards connection to China. The Hong Kong to US link will have 12.9 tbps per fibre pair, with a single-end feeding capability of more than 13,000 kilometres.

The cable will have branching units so that spurs can be added to reach Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Guam, Queensland, and Hawaii.

The H2 cable will land at Coogee Beach in Sydney, and near the LAX airport in Los Angeles. A landing site in Hong Kong is yet to be confirmed,


Joes Podcast Notes for


PlayStation users can now change their PSN names



  • Sony is letting PlayStation users change thier usernames. For some users they will be able to do it now and for some it’s coming soon. You will be able to do it either directly on the PS4 console or through a web browser.
  • Apparently it’s easy to change, but there’s a catch. The first name change is free. After that, if you decide that you’d like to change it again, it’ll cost you $9.99 each time. But if you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber, it’s only $4.99 for each repeat name adjustments.
  • Sony claims that your old usernames will still belong to you, and if you choose to, you can roll back to a previous PSN name for free…When changing it there’s an option to display your prior name next to your new one for a period of 30 days to help the adjustment process of having a new name for both you and your PSN friends.


  • Sony has published lists of games that either have experienced no issues, or games with with known issues and games with known critical type of issues… Link in Show notes. It’s a good idea to check that out before doing anything.
  • If a game does have issues, you could experience minor issues, like your previous PSN name popping up in-game instead of your new one, to somewhat more extreme problems, like your saved data and leaderboard status may not carry over to your new name, and you might also lose access to paid Downloadable content (DLC)


(No this isn’t a april fools joke)

Sony says that reverting back to your old PSN name should resolve most name change issues, although, once again, it makes no guarantee about that either…

I’m no gamer, but if you don’t want to risk losing your data and whatever else you got saved on PSN…  If I was you I’d check out the link and think twice before changing your PSN name, especially for games before April 2018.



Microsoft reveals all the Google things it removed in its Chromium Edge browser



  • Microsoft has released preview versions of its Chromium-powered Edge browser today. Some early adoptors say that they have noticed it’s very stable and performs surprisingly well. It even performs better than Google’s own Chrome browser on Windows 10, despite being built on the same Chromium open-source project.
  • While it’s early days for the Microsoft’s new Edge browser , the company has revealed all of the Google services it has either replaced or removed from its new Chromium-powered browser to optimize its performance.


  • I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet personally but apparently Microsoft has removed or replaced more than 50 of Google’s own services that come as part of Chromium, this including things like ad blocking, Google Now, Google Cloud Messaging, and Chrome OS-related services.
  • Microsoft is also working on ARM support for Chromium, alongside with some other enhancements, PDF docs, battery life improvements, smooth scrolling, editing, layout options, development tools, and also web authentication.
  • Microsoft also notes that “building Edge on Chromium was a relatively smooth process,” and that it has made hundreds of changes to Chromium to produce its Edge version with more than 300 merges so far.
  • Microsoft is also developing versions that will run on Windows 8, Windows 7, and macOS.


Google turns your Android phone into a security key



  • Your Android  phone could soon replace your hardware security key to provide two-factor authentication access to your accounts. Google announced at its Cloud Next conference, that it has developed a Bluetooth-based protocol that will be able to talk to its Chrome browser and provide a standards-based second factor  for access to its services, similar to what modern security keys do now.
  • Normally second factor comes to you in the form of a push notification, a text message or through some sort of  authentication app like the Google Authenticator….. When using those methods there’s always the risk of somebody intercepting those numbers or phishing your account and then quickly using your second factor to log in.
  • Because a physical security key also ensures that you are on the right site before it exchanges the key, it’s almost impossible to phish this second factor. The key simply isn’t going to produce a token on the wrong site.
  • Now Google is using the same standard here, just with different hardware type. The phishing protection remains intact when you now use your phone too.
  • The use of Bluetooth security keys isn’t a new thing, but of course Google’s own Titan keys include a Bluetooth version where the user has to connect the key and to the device first. Google, now says that it has done away with all this thanks to a new protocol that uses Bluetooth but don’t really use the usual Bluetooth connection setup process. Sadly, though, the company didn’t quite go into details as to how this would work.
  • Google did say tho that this new feature will work with all Android 7+ devices that have Bluetooth and location services enabled. The Pixel 3 phones, which include Google’s Titan M tamper-resistant security chipin it, get some extra protection, but the company is mostly positioning this as a bonus and not a necessity.
  • As far as the setup goes, the whole process isn’t all that different from setting up a security key (and you’ll still want to have a second or third key handy in case you ever lose or destroy your phone). You’ll be able to use this new feature for both work and private Google accounts too.
  • For now, this also only works in combination with Google’s Own Chrome Browser, but Google hopes to integrate this feature into other browsers, as well. It’s has only been a week or two since Google has enabled support for logging into its own service with security keys on Edge and Firefox.