Episode 639- Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Police charge man with telco sabotage

A 24-year-old Wollongong is alleged to have committed “30 offences relating to malicious damage to telecommunications infrastructure across the Illawarra and South West Sydney regions,” Police said in a statement issued today.

The alleged offences took place in April, in Wollongong and south-western Sydney.

Police allege “the man cut the cabling within telecommunications infrastructure, which caused EFTPOS facilities in neighbouring commercial businesses to become immobilised.

“The man then made a number of fraudulent purchases while EFTPOS services were offline.”

“The man was charged with 30 offences relating to these matters, including intentionally/recklessly destroy/damage property, tamper with facility owned by carrier to hinder operation and dishonestly obtain property by deception.”

The matter will now move to Wollongong Local Court on 20 August 2019 and Police inquiries are continuing.

 

ACCC sues Samsung over slippery mobile phone ads

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken Samsung to court over advertising for the supposed water resistance of some of its mobile phones.

The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

The ACCC statement also says it is aware of instances when Samsung “… denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.”

 

Microsoft slashes Windows 10 update times

Microsoft has again varied the way it will update Windows 10.

The changes have been announced ahead of Windows 10 19H2, the major update due in September 2019.

For users of the May Update to Windows 10, “updating to the new release will have a far faster update experience because the update will install like a monthly update”

Users of other Windows 10 versions will get the current experience – an hour or more of Windows re-installing and re-booting itself.

 

Apple design chief Jony Ive to leave and start own firm

Ive spent nearly three decades at Apple, playing a leading role in the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s to the iPhone, regarded by many business experts as one of the most successful consumer products of all time.

“It’s the most significant departure of somebody who was a core part of the growth story” under Jobs, said Ben Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies.

ve joined Apple in 1992 and led Apple’s design teams since 1996. He took up his current role as chief design officer in 2015.

 

Apple said it will be among the primary clients of Ive’s new design company for a range of projects.

Ive’s new company will be called LoveFrom, the Financial Times reported, quoting Ive as saying it would be based in California “for now”. Ive told the newspaper he would work on Apple priorities wearable technology and healthcare in addition to unspecified “personal passions”. LoveFrom will have other clients beside Apple.

 

Wikipedia founder calls for social media strike

 

The call to strike has been issued by Dr Larry Sanger – a co-founder of the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia.

In his call to action, Dr Sanger said the strike – from 4 to 5 July – would show the “massive demand” for change.

However, some people have questioned how much impact the strike will have.

Those taking part will avoid social networks on those two days to show they have a “serious grievance” against the services.

Those striking are also being asked to sign the Declaration of Digital Independence drafted by Dr Sanger.

The Declaration calls for social networks to be decentralised and turned into systems that respect the rights of free speech, privacy and security.

 

 

Five Jony Ive designs you probably don’t know

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48799162

1. Toilet and sink

Image copyright

TANGERINE

One of Sir Jonathan’s first jobs after leaving Newcastle Polytechnic was at the London design agency Tangerine.

While there, he was asked to work on a number of products – including microwaves and a comb aimed at hairdressers: the Brian Drumm Flatliner. However, he also designed a toilet and basin.

His work was not well-received by his client Ideal Standard, however. In a 2014 interview with Time magazine, Sir Jonathan recalled how his client – sporting a Red Nose Day plastic nose – joked about how his work was overly modern and expensive.

2. Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (Tam)

Image copyright

WOLFGANG STIEF/FLICKR

Image caption

The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh – or Tam, for short

In 1997, Apple released an unusual computer to mark the firm’s 20th birthday – the Tam.

It was a limited edition product, aimed at wealthy users who were prepared to pay $7,499 at launch (roughly $12,000 today, or £9,400).

In a promotional video released at the time, Sir Jonathan commented on the various design quirks of the Tam.

“While it doesn’t have answers for all the questions it asks, I think it’s a consequential, it’s an important product,” he said.

“I think it gives a new face, a new meaning, to technology that has changed at an enormous pace.”

But the Tam did not fare particularly well. About six months after release, its price was cut to $3,500, which helped to improve sales. Remaining stock sold out at retailers when the price was lowered further, to $1,995 in March 1998.

3. Leica camera

Image copyright

GETTY IMAGES

Image caption

One of the world’s most expensive cameras?

In 2013, Ive collaborated with designer Marc Newson to create a one-off Leica Digital Rangefinder camera with a sleek aluminium body.

More than 500 models and 1,000 prototype parts were made during the production of the single, special edition device.

It was auctioned to raise money for the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Sotheby’s records that the buyer paid $1.8m.

4. Hockey puck mouse

Image copyright

GETTY IMAGES

Image caption

They look great – but many found them difficult to use

The 1998 iMac G3 personal computer with its bold, translucent coloured shell was very well received – unfortunately the same cannot be said for its USB mouse accessory.

Its circular design was derided as being awkward to use and, with no obvious top or bottom, knowing that the mouse was pointing in the right direction when moving it was difficult.

The iMac G3 itself was very successful, however, and eventually came in 13 different colour schemes. That included the special edition psychedelic “flower power” design.

5. All-diamond ring

Image copyright

SOTHEBY’S

Image caption

The ring made entirely from diamond was co-designed by Jony Ive

This was another charitable collaboration with Marc Newson, but an even weirder one.

Last year, the pair announced a ring made entirely from meticulously cut diamond.

The ring, with its thousands of facets cut by laser-guided water jet, was to be crafted specially for the highest bidder.

It sold for $250,000 in December.

 

Iran seizes 1,000 Bitcoin mining machines after power spike

Authorities in Iran have seized roughly 1,000 Bitcoin mining machines from two former factories, according to state TV reports.

The action was taken following a spike in electricity consumption.

Demand for power rose by 7% in June and cryptocurrency mining was thought to be the main cause, an energy ministry spokesman told local state-run media.

One researcher said Bitcoin was gaining more and more attention in Iran as a potential means of storing wealth.

 

“Two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt,” Arash Navab, an electricity official, told state television.

By providing computing power for validating transactions on that network, mining machine owners are rewarded with newly generated coins, making it a potentially lucrative exercise – especially when done on a large scale.

 

Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Nazi images shown in first for Germany

For the first time since a long-time ban was overturned last year, a game featuring Nazi symbols and characters is about to come out in Germany.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be released on 26 July.

Previously, German editions of Wolfenstein games changed Hitler’s name and replaced swastikas.

But thanks to rules being relaxed last year, German gamers will now get to play the uncensored international version when it’s released next month.

 

Two different versions of the game will be released in Germany: an international one which will feature the swastika and a German one which won’t.

In an online FAQ, the makers of the game confirmed that edition will be “fully sanitized.”

They’d developed two different versions because they weren’t sure the ban would end in time for the scheduled release date.

 

German law considers symbols like the swastika and gestures such as the Nazi salute “symbols of anti-constitutional organisations.”

Displaying them publicly is illegal.

A previous title in the Wolfenstein series, The New Colossus, featured Adolf Hitler as a character.

But in the German release, his title had been changed from “Führer” to “chancellor” and, most notably, his trademark moustache had disappeared.

 

 

 

Joes Podcast Notes for 

04/07/2019

Tracking Pixels and Superhuman App

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/3/20681508/tracking-pixel-email-spying-superhuman-web-beacon-open-tracking-read-receipts-location

 

  • When you sent an email using this $30-a-month invite-only app, it automatically tracked every time a recipient looks at that email, and then even showed you their location. That’s because it uses hidden pixel trackers.

 

 

  • What is a tracking pixel and can I use it to destroy my enemies?
  • You know how every image on the internet is stored on a server, and your computer automatically downloads them as you browse? Well Some Years ago, some genius figured out that your computer’s image requests can let those same servers track your activity across the web — and when it comes to email, they can even let the sender see when you’ve opened a given message just by sneaking in an image.
  • It’s pretty simple how it works : when you open the email, you automatically download an image with a hidden pixel in it, and that image request immediately lets the server know that you’ve opened it.
  • The Wikipedia page says that pixels are also known as web beacons, web bugs, tracking bugs, web tags, page tags, pixel tags, 1 x 1 GIFs, and clear GIFs. With email, sometimes the overall concept known as “open tracking.” “Read receipts” are a related idea.
  • You probably haven’t seen a tracking pixel, at least not with your naked eyes, because they can literally be a single 1 x 1 pixel image buried somewhere in an email or webpage and they’re often completely invisible, because they’re transparent. They might actually be embedded in that image of the sender’s signature — or even the fancy font they’re using. Really, anything that sends a request to a remote server can be used as a tracking tool.

 

  • Messenger read receipts are like tracking pixels if they weren’t trying to be so sneaky. Both the sender and the recipient can clearly see whether their own messages are being read or ignored. And if you’re texting a friend or relative, you might be within your rights, socially speaking, to nudge them if they haven’t responded in a while.
  • But with a Superhuman app and the like, we’re talking about letting a perfect stranger have the power to send you an email out of the blue, and force you to give up your location every time you read that email, all without you knowing.
  • Some classic examples of abuse is

If someone knows when you’re home and when you’re away, robberies become a bit easier. 

Spammers and phishers can use the technique to know which email subject lines got you to click.

  • Is there a way to block these pixels? and the like, There’s good news for Gmail users: Google reroutes every image request through its own proxy servers. Tracking pixels will still know when you’ve read an email, but they generally can’t sniff out your location or get your advertising profile because they can’t see your IP or cookies. (They see Google’s IP instead.)
  • You can also turn off automatic image loading in many email clients, but then, well, your email won’t automatically load images. Here’s our guide on how to set that up. There are also browser extensions like Ugly Email and PixelBlock that try to sniff out pixel trackers before you open an email, and remove them entirely.
  • Who Else Doe This – Well There’s a Facebook Pixel, a Google Tag Manager, and an Amazon pixel just for starts, though most of those are used on the web, not email. On the email side of things, it’s estimated that the lion’s share of newsletter services (example: MailChimp) have basic tracking by default. Tracking pixels are generally considered part of how things are done online, just like tracking cookies that keep a record of which websites you’ve visited.

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon can be held liable for defective third-party products on its platform

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/3/20681301/amazon-federal-circuit-ruling-liability-defective-products

 

  • In late 2014, a woman named Heather Oberdorf ordered a dog collar from a Marketplace seller, but it broke on a walk, sending the leash flying and permanently blinding her in one eye. The seller hasn’t been found, but Oberdorf sued Amazon, accusing the company of negligence. A district court in Pennsylvania found that Amazon couldn’t be sued because it wasn’t a “seller” under the law.
  • But Oberdorf appealed the ruling, and today, the appeals court largely found in her favor. In the ruling, the appeals court said Amazon could be held liable for its role in the sales chain. The court also ruled that Amazon is protected for “speech” on its platform, but wasn’t necessarily protected for the sale of goods in the real world.
  • The Court said – While Amazon does sells goods itself, it also allows vendors to sell their products through its Marketplace platform, taking a cut in the process.

Well there you go , if you cannot get in contact with the seller anymore

Go after Amazon instead.

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_This Week on New and upcoming Gadgets_ 

 

Canon is Crowdfunding a Tiny Clippable Camera that connects to your phone

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/7/3/20680982/canon-ivy-rec-camera-indiegogo

 

  • Canon is turning to Indiegogo to crowdfund the Ivy Rec, It’s a tiny outdoor camera built into a keychain. It’s about the size of a USB flash drive, and it wirelessly connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to the companion CanonMini Cam App to show a live preview on your phone. The empty square space of the clip doubles as a viewfinder, and there’s a single dial on the back that lets you switch between modes.
  •  The Ivy Rec has a 13-megapixel 1/3-inch CMOS sensor that can record 1080p / 60 fps video, and it’s waterproof up to 30 minutes for depths of up to three feet. With no pricing information yet, it’s hard to say if it’ll be worth getting it or not, so it would depend on price i guess. 
  • Canon says the camera is shockproof and great for the outdoors, so it could be useful if you clip it onto your backpack while you ride a bike. Or maybe clip it onto your dog or cat’s collar so you can see the world from your pet’s POV.

 

If you like to feature your product or service on 

The Aussie Tech Heads Podcast send an email to joe@aussietechheads.com.au