Episode 636- Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Uber selects Melbourne to test flying taxi service

the first international test site for the group’s planned flying taxi service.

previously chosen Dubai as the first test site outside the United States for its UberAIR service but reopened its request for proposals last month after launch delays in Dubai

Uber said it will begin test flights of the pilotless aircraft in Melbourne and US cities Dallas and Los Angles in 2020 before commercial operations begin in 2023.

The test flights will transport passengers from one of seven Westfield shopping centres in Melbourne to the city’s main international airport. The 19km journey from the central business district to the airport is expected to take 10 minutes by air, compared with the 25 minutes it usually takes by car.

The electric, on-demand air taxis can be ordered by customers through smartphone apps in the same way Uber’s road-based taxi alternatives are hailed. Uber’s planned air fleet includes electric jet-powered vehicles – part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft – running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take-off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the list of challenges for Uber was a long one:


  • The company would have to get a safety certification for the new battery-operated aircraft — which does not exist yet
  • The airspace they would use would have to be managed by authorities
  • The people operating the aircraft would need specialised training
  • Infrastructure for the mini-airports does not yet exist

The regional general manager of Uber Eats, Jodie Auster, conceded the days of pilotless flight were a long way off.

“There’s a lot of work to do. An urban ridesharing network in the sky does not happen overnight. It’s going to take some time,” she said.



Microsoft unveils next Xbox

next-generation Xbox console, known as “Project Scarlett,” which is set to hit store shelves during late 2020.

The device will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X console and be powered by an Advanced Micro Devices chip, the company said during its Xbox E3 conference in Los Angeles.

The console will show up to 120 frames per second, or twice the average TV, and include a solid-state drive, Microsoft said, allowing games to load much faster than on its older mechanical hard drives.

The latest version of Microsoft’s popular “Halo” videogame will be launched along with the new console.

Microsoft said its game-streaming service “Project xCloud” would go into preview in October.

A new feature will allow users to stream games directly from their own Xbox consoles, instead of Microsoft’s servers, the company said.

“Two months ago we connected all Xbox developers to Project xCloud,” Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s executive vice president for gaming, said. “Now, the console streaming service will “turn your Xbox One into your own personal and free xCloud server.”



Miller Lite beer can is also a video game controller

MillerCoors getting into gaming at E3 2019 with the introduction of the Cantroller, a full can of Miller Lite that’s also a Bluetooth gamepad. It’ll be on display and available to win in honorable combat with Eric Andre in Los Angeles this week,

it is a Miller Lite can, filled with light beer straight from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The game controls are on the other side of the can, all arranged with flat membrane buttons that don’t affect the profile of the can itself. It’s as simple as you can get, just a direction pad and four face buttons in a Nintendo A/B/X/Y configuration, with Start and Select buttons. The direction pad and Start and Select buttons are all completely flat and click inwards, while the face buttons are slightly raised. The battery pack and Bluetooth transmitter is mounted on the bottom of the can, with a small ribbon cable running to the membrane panel with the controls.

This isn’t a retail product, and Miller only made 200 for distribution. The only way to get a Cantroller was to win it in battle last week, at an event held by Miller Lite.

PCmag review

I tried it out with the Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Collection on Steam, and I can say it definitely works as a gamepad! I played Sonic the Hedgehog with a beer can. It wasn’t comfortable, because membrane controls are second only to touch-screen controls in terms of bad platforming inputs, but it worked. It even showed up in the Windows Bluetooth menu as “Miller Lite Can,” which is hilarious.

No, this isn’t a good controller. Of course it isn’t a good controller. Look at it! It has only a few buttons, and it’s a beer can. I also can’t recommend drinking the beer inside, because to avoid any sticky, stale beer smell you’ll want to rinse it out after, and I don’t think the electronics’ bare ribbon cable and open micro USB port are IP-rated. But it’s still an amazing controller, because it’s so strange and unique.




‘Have I Been Pwned’ looks for a new owner

Have I Been Pwned, the data breach repository run by Australia’s Troy Hunt, is working with KPMG to try and find an organisation to acquire it.

“It’s time to go from that one guy doing what he can in his available time to a better-resourced and better-funded structure that’s able to do way more than what I ever could on my own,” he said.

There’s a whole heap of organisations out there that don’t know they’ve been breached simply because I haven’t had the bandwidth to deal with it all,” Hunt said.

He wanted consumer searches of whether email addresses had been caught up in data breaches to remain free.

“The service became this successful because I made sure there were no barriers in the way for people searching their data and I absolutely, positively want that to remain the status quo,” he said.

Hunt also said he intended to be “part of the acquisition – that is some company gets me along with the project.”




Huawei’s alternative OS said to be 60% faster than Android



  • When the US restricted companies from working with Huawei – This was seen by many as part of the on-going trade war with China – one of the big names that was mentioned was Google….With a potential ban on future access to the Android OS, so the phone companies attention swung to Huawei’s plan B – usings its own operating system.
  • Huawei’s HongMeng OS – possibly to be called Ark OS when it comes out to the market – has been demonstrated and shown to be around 60 per cent faster than Google’s Android OS.
  • Oppo and Vivo – two huge vendors in China – have “sent teams to test the new system”. Currently, all these manufacturers use Google’s Android with their own products and services. Between these three companies – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo – you have a huge slice of the Chinese market as well as global markets, especially in Asia and there’s also been a report from The China Daily that HongMeng OS has shipped on to over 1 million devices, which are being circulated for testing.
  • HongMeng OS is reported to work with all Android apps, but include increased options for the protection of personal data. Huawei is also said to be encouraging app developers to use its own AppGallery, to provide an alternative avenue to Google’s Play Store.
  • It looks like the Chinese company has no intention of taking the US ban lying down. Development of an alternative to Android seems well underway. Currently, Huawei only has support from Google until August – and with the Huawei Mate 30 in the pipeline, it’s going to be an interesting few months.


LaLiga’s app listened in on fans to catch bars illegally streaming soccer


  • Spain’s data protection agency has fined the country’s soccer league, LaLiga, €250,000 (about $280,000) id say thats US dollars for allegedly violating EU data privacy and transparency laws.
  • The app, which is used for keeping track of games and stats, was using the phone’s microphone and GPS to track bars illegally streaming soccer games.
  • Using a Shazam-like technology, the app would record audio to identify soccer games, and use the geolocation of the phone to locate which bars were streaming without licenses.
  • The league claims that the app does ask for permission to access the phone’s microphone and location, and that the data which is received as a code, not in audio format  is only used to detect LaLiga streams. The League says the app does explain this in the terms of service – that by giving the app permission, users are consenting to LaLiga using their phones to detect fraudulent behavior, like pirated soccer games.
  • The Spanish data protection agency claims that the app didn’t make this clear enough, and has ordered LaLiga to take down the app by June the 30th…. The league planing to appeal the sanction, claiming that the agency doesn’t fully understand the app’s technology.


Google is ending integration between Google Photos and Drive



  • Google has been offered syncing between Google Photos and Google Drive for a while now, but it’s putting an end to that in the name of simplicity.  Google says “We’ve heard feedback that the connection between these two services is confusing so next month they will be making some changes to make it less confusing for google photos and google drive.
  1. When the change takes effect in July, photos and videos you add to Drive won’t automatically appear in Photos and vice versa.
  2. Also file deletions won’t sync between the two. “This change is designed to help prevent accidental deletion of items across both products.
  • Google will offer a way for people to copy images or videos from thier Drive over to Photos with a new “upload from Drive” option coming to the Google Photos website. However, you’ll then have two versions of the same file without any link between them.
  • Google warns that this might cause headaches when it comes to your cloud storage, since if the copied item is original quality, it’ll eat up space in both places. That’s not great for storage tho.
  • If you still want some content in both places, the best workaround seems to be using Google’s Backup and Sync app for Windows or Mac. The company notes that “items uploaded using Backup and Sync in original quality to both services will count only once towards your quota.”


  • Google stresses that nothing will be automatically deleted in July when it cuts off this cross integration. “Any photos or videos from Drive in Photos that you have uploaded prior to this change will remain in Photos. If you have a ‘Google Photos’ folder in Drive, it will remain in Drive, but will no longer update automatically.


Facebook will pay you to let it track what you do on your phone



  • Some people might remember that the app Facebook Research, was shut down due to controversies when the app was marketed to teens, and on the iPhone, it actually relied on a special certificate that allowed the app to gain a much deeper access to your iphone, which was in violation of Apple’s rules. It was shut down in January.
  • Now once again Facebook will begin paying people to monitor how they use their phone through a new app called Study.
  • The app Study will monitor which apps are installed on a person’s phone, the time spent using those apps, the country you’re in, and additional app data that could reveal specific features you’re using, among other things. Facebook says it won’t see any specific content like messages, passwords, and websites you visit.
  • The launch of Study shows that Facebook clearly feels that it still needs this data on how people are using their phones, and also that Facebook has learned a thing or two from the last controversy.


  • Study will only be available to people 18 and up; and it’ll only be available on Android, where deeper phone access can be granted by each user; and it will open with a series of screens describing what type of data the app collects and how it’ll be used.
  • Users age will be verified by referencing thier age on their Facebook account; participants will also have to have a PayPal account to get paid. Facebook says it will reference other data it knows about you when analyzing data from the app, but data from the app won’t otherwise be linked to your account or used to target ads to you.
  • Facebook doesn’t say how much it’ll pay people to use the app, but a blog post says that “all research participants are compensated.” It will launch in the US and India and not everyone will be able to sign up for Study….. The company will target you through an ad campaign, and if you see one, you can click on it to sign up.


32GB DDR4 UDIMMs are Coming



  • Unregistered 32GB DDR4 DIMMs will be widely available later this year, as manufacturers ramp up production and vendors prepare to release their products. According to reports from Tom’s Hardware and Anandtech with a supply of 16Gb DRAM chips—which are integrated to create 32GB memory modules.
  • The availability of standard DIMMs will ease supply constraints for that form factor as well, which will benefit users of small form-factor PCs and laptops limited to 1 or 2 SODIMM slots.
  • Before upgrading, check Intel’s website to ensure your system is compatible with higher speed and density RAM. While Intel’s documentation covers theoretical limits, Some older motherboards may not support higher density RAM, or may require a BIOS update to enable support.
  • The availability of 32GB UDIMMs will benefit designers, particularly photo and video editors, as well as users of CAD software, which often quite RAM-hungry.