Issue 524

Monday, 20th November 2017

In This Issue


More Tesla Roadster & Semi stuff

Now that we've had a weekend to digest Tesla's Friday afternoon announcements, here's some more details. The semi-trailer has gathered interest from trucking companies like Ryder, JB Hunt and grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Meijer and Loblaws who have put in small orders. Price and specific cargo capacity is unknown and it won't be out until late 2019/early 2020. The Roadster, on paper, has blistering stats (Elon reckons there'll be an option to make it even faster), but also won't be out until 2020 and will cost at least US$200,000. The paper stats aren't even bullshit, with experts agreeing that the Roadster can totally meet its promises. Personally, I just hope this is isn't just a big distraction from the fact the Model 3 is way below its production targets.

Apple won't ship HomePod in 2017 & got thoroughly sucked in con artist Belle Gibson

Apple has announced that the HomePod speaker will not be shipping in December 2017 like they initially planned. The speaker with Siri inside will be on sale some time in early 2018. No reason was given as to why. Related only by the fact Apple is involved, is this story in the SMH about Apple and convicted con artist Belle Gibson's relationship. Emails between Belle and Apple have been made public and they show how Apple really didn't want to believe Belle was dodgy as they were keen to promote her lame app, even going as far to say critics are simply haters. Only until the public backlash reached fever pitch did Apple suddenly drop her like a hot potato.

Germany bans kids smartwatches because they can be used as remote listening devices

The German government has told parents that have purchased their kids smartwatches, to destroy them immediately. Under German law, any device that can remotely listen in to a conversation is illegal and heaps of these smartwatches aimed at kids have a feature where parents can use an app on their smartphone to activate the mic in their child's watch at any time. Parents were even using this feature to listen to teachers in the classroom their kids are in. There's also the chance these things can be hacked and some pervert can listen to to a kid's convo, but the German ban is purely interpreting an existing law they have about no covert surveillance devices. They're (rightfully) kinda touchy about that stuff.

John Draper, aka Captain Crunch, is a sex pest

If you're familiar with Silicon Valley folklore, the name Captain Crunch probably means something to you. He inspired Woz & Jobs to make little phone hacking devices that got them free calls in their youth, before starting Apple. John Draper is his real name and he's now a confirmed sex pest. Heaps of men have come out as having experienced unwanted sexual advances from Draper over the past 40 years. Shit was so bad, that "volunteers who worked the annual DEF CON hacking conventions in Las Vegas recalled that one of their responsibilities was to separate Draper from his teenage followers". Thinking of all the people hurt by this guy while his activities were covered up makes me sick.

1.8 billion online posts hoarded by the US DoD exposed by a misconfigured S3 bucket

Last week I mentioned two cases of private info getting leaked due to a misconfigured S3 bucket. Today we have the mother of all S3 misconfigs - 1.8 billion scraped online posts made over 8 years, collected by "VendorX", a company contracted by the US Department of Defence to gather intelligence. UpGuard is the company that noticed this open wide S3 bucket and have written a detailed blog post of their findings. Most of the data is Facebook and Twitter posts, but even soccer and video game forums were sucked up and added to this database. It's like the government had a backup of the internet, so even if you deleted something, they'd still have a copy.

Not News, But Still Cool

If you weren't afraid of killer robots, you will be after watching this video

This video from a group trying to ban autonomous weapons is pretty damn disturbing. It demonstrates a future where mini drones with face recognition become so cheap, that it's possible to strap an explosive device on them and use them as weapons in huge swarms to take out anyone that meets your criteria. This sort of thing is going to happen sooner rather than later according to the "Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapons" group. The tech to make this happen already exists, it's just a matter of making it more affordable - an unfortunately inevitable scenario.

Comparing Google Maps, Apple Maps & Waze

My mate Pete has a great article up on Choice comparing Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze. Most of you are probably familiar with each one, but Pete does a great job explaining the pros and cons of each app and explaining all the nifty features they have that you might not even be aware of. Personally, I use Google Maps as I find the POI and traffic info more accurate, but I should use Waze more often, particularly if I already know where I'm doing and don't necessarily need directions, but more a heads up if there's anything I need to be aware of on the way.

Cheap Xbox TV tuners, game consoles, iPads, Google hardware, mech kbs & LIFX bulbs

EB has $12 TV tuners for the Xbox One. Target will have a big gaming sale in a few days, with Xbox One S and Minecraft for $269 and a PS4 for $299, along with loads of cheap games. Harvey Norman has a sale starting tomorrow, with some bargains like an iPad 32GB for $398 (get OW to price match it to $378) Chromecast & Home Mini combo for $106 or the Logitech G810 mech keyboard for $108. Those LIFX wi-fi lightbulbs some of you are keen on are on sale too.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!