Episode 634- Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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NAB purges almost 2000 ATMs

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has quietly purged 1943 automatic teller machines (ATMs)

NAB’s financial statements reveal it now has just 926 ATMs in Australia as of 31st March 2019. That compares 2869 in March 2018 and 2695 in September 2018

Westpac’s interim H1 FY 2019 results state it culled 350 ATMs in the last half year, a number it stated was a 12 percent of reduction of its fleet. Westpac’s 2018 annual report states it pulled 400

 

ACCC hauls Sony to court for refusing Playstation refunds

Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe broke Australian consumer law by telling customers they could not get a refund for faulty PlayStation games

Sony Corp, violated Australian consumer law by telling customers it did not have to give them refunds for faulty games that had been downloaded, or more than 14 days since purchase

also told customers it could not provide refunds unless the game developer, a separate entity, confirmed the product was irreparably faulty, the regulator said.

When Sony did agree to a refund, it told customers it could do so only with store credits rather than cash, it added.

“Consumer guarantees do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded as we allege Sony Europe told consumers, and refunds must be given in the form of original payment unless a consumer chooses to receive it in store credit.”

a Sony support person allegedly told a customer who wanted to return the game “Hitman”, that there was “actually no way for us to refund it”.

“It’s not actually a game. It’s a licence for a game, and we buy that from the publisher,” the person was quoted as saying.

 

 

 

Telstra picks $129 and 160GB as 5G plan sweet spot

Telstra has revealed the plans it will offer for its first 5G phone, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G

All plans come with unlimited calls and texts. But the $129 plan also includes 2GB of roaming data.

The plans launch this week, when the Galaxy S10 5G debuts.

Telstra will also offer plans for small businesses, and that those plans will include data sharing across a fleet of handsets.

Telstra has also said that 5G won’t cost extra for the next year, but that it will eventually become a $15/month extra.

 

 

Canva hacked – user details accessed, but passwords safe

Australian graphic-design-as-a-service company Canva has alerted its users to an attack that has seen “a number of our community’s usernames and email addresses … accessed.”

The attack was detected on Saturday, Australian time. The company’s letter to users also adds “The hackers also obtained passwords in their encrypted form (for technical people: all passwords were salted and hashed with bcrypt). This means that our user passwords remain unreadable by external parties.”

But the company is sufficiently concerned by the incident to recommend ” … in line with best practices we recommend that you change yourCanva password”.

Canva has over 130 million users and is one of Australia’s most prominent technology companies

also spent part of the weekend fighting a bug that left some users unable to download artwork they created with the service, according to the Canva status page.

 

 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to face leadership vote

 

A vote calling for Mark Zuckerberg to stand down as Facebook’s chairman is expected to take place at the company’s annual general meeting this week.

Mr Zuckerberg is both Facebook’s chief executive and the chairman of its board of directors.

Those calling for him to step down as chairman say this would help him focus on running the company.

Mr Zuckerberg is very unlikely to lose the vote, because he owns 60% of the company’s shares.

However, the percentage of shareholders who vote against him could indicate how much faith they have in his leadership.

Trillium Asset Management owns about $7m (£5.5m) worth of Facebook shares, and works with other businesses that control “hundreds of millions” of dollars worth of the company’s shares.

The company is one of those advocating for Mr Zuckerberg to step down.

“He’s holding down two full-time jobs in one of the most high-profile companies in the world right now. And if he can focus on being the CEO, and let somebody else focus on being independent board chair, that would be a much better situation,” said Jonas Kron, senior vice-president at Trillium.

 

 

Malware-ridden laptop artwork sold for $1.3m

https://thepersistenceofchaos.com/

A laptop packed with six types of dangerous malware has been sold for $1.3m (£1.03m) in an online auction.

The artwork titled The Persistence of Chaos was a joint project between artist Guo O Dong and cyber-security company Deep Instinct.

An anonymous bidder bought the 11-year-old Samsung notebook containing the malware.

Among the malware loaded on the PC was the infamous ILOVEYOU virus from 2000, which infected computers at the Houses of Parliament, as well as other institutions.

Also included was the WannaCry ransomware that struck organisations around the world in 2017.

Because the sale of malware is restricted in the US, whoever purchases the laptop will receive it only once its ports and internet capabilities have been “functionally disabled”, according to the auction web page.

 

Alexa Skill Aimed at Assisting Alzheimer’s Patients

https://voicebot.ai/2019/05/23/alexa-skill-aimed-at-assisting-alzheimers-patients-launches-in-the-uk/

  • A new Alexa skill is available in the UK to help people with early-stage dementia maintain independence. The My Carer Alexa skill allows users to set reminders for daily tasks, like doctors appointments or preparing meals
  • A Skill for an in-home voice assistant can help patients with Alzheimer’s /  Dementia to maintain thier own independence with memory loss and forgetting routine tasks such as turning off the oven or taking prescribed medicines. Those things that are simple for most people become daily challenges for Dementia sufferers, and are critical for the safety and health of anyone living alone.
  • The My Carer Alexa skill can be programmed to remind patients of these tasks as well as help them recall facts about their family or friends. It can be programmed by the patient or a caregiver and is another example of how new voice assistant use cases are emerging beyond simple interactions related to music and the weather.

 

 

Smart Hearables Are Coming

https://voicebot.ai/2019/05/16/watch-out-watches-smart-hearables-are-coming/

 

  • Apart from smart watches there is something new round the corner and that is smart hearables, earphones and even hearing aids.
  • Wireless headphones are now able to monitor heart rate, body temperature, respiration, and activity. In fact, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that inside the ear may be a better place to monitor these factors than on the wrist…well your doctor certainly thinks so.
  • The LiNX Quattro, which is the First AI Voice Control Smart Hearing Aid which was launched at CES19, will pair with an Android or iOS app and allow the wearer to control the hearing aid by voice commands. For example, a user can say “turn up the volume” in one ear or to adjust filters for ambient noise.
  • Another use for them is detecting head movement in support of things like 3D-audio, and for a 3D music experience for gaming. As you move or walk, you hear sound that adjusts to where you are facing, delivering a more realistic VR experience. If you’re playing a game, you don’t just see the scene shifting as you move your head, sounds also change along with your orientation.
  • Obviously, there is not a lot of horsepower within the earbuds or headsets, so Communication is via a Bluetooth connection to your phone. They will be aiming for at least 12 hours between charges, so you can wear them all day.

 

Apple starts collecting data for

Apple Maps

https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/27/apple-starts-collecting-data-for-apple-maps-in-canada/

 

  • Last year, Apple announced that it was in the process of rebuilding Apple Maps from the ground up. And you can already see some improvements in parts of the U.S. with more detailed maps, better representations of pedestrian and green areas, more accurate building shapes, etc.
  • The Apple Car is currently in Canada and has issued a short statement on its website and in various newspapers announcing Apple Maps plans in Canada. The company plans to drive around the country with cars equipped with a ton of sensors in order to improve Apple Maps.
  • The company isn’t just doing the bare minimum as its cars are equipped with a GPS rig, four LiDAR arrays and eight cameras shooting high-resolution images.
  • For now, Apple says it’s all about improving data quality. But the company could also leverage this data to launch new features, such as like a Google Street View, cycling directions and maybe turn-by-turn directions using augmented reality. Apple is working on the new version of Apple Maps but without telling the world about it — there is actual cars on the road collecting the data needed.