Issue 536

Wednesday, 6th December 2017

In This Issue


Windows 10 on ARM chips is now a thing you can buy & use

Microsoft has announced the availability of devices with Qualcomm made ARM SoCs that run Windows 10 - the ASUS NovaGo and HP ENVY x2. The main advantage of Windows 10 on ARM is a much smaller logic board, which results in a bigger battery. Combine the lower power use of an ARM SoC with a big battery and you've got "up to 30 days of standby and up to 22 hours of active use". The downside is most Windows apps are designed for x86 CPUs, so any non-native apps will run emulated, apparently this works really well. I can't wait to get one of these to review and see the emulation speed for myself.

Google & Facebook excluded from updated copyright safe harbour law

When used in the context of copyright, safe harbour laws give websites immunity from the dumb things their users do. If I use a Telstra connection to download a TV show, the copyright owner of that TV show can't sue Telstra for enabling me. Google and Facebook want these same protections, but the Australian government's latest amendment to copyright law left them out as they added "safeguards to institutions in the disability, education, library, archive and cultural sector" as long as those groups "demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to deal with copyright infringement by users of their online platforms". Rights holders are pleased, Google and Facebook are not.

Android 8.1 is out and so is Android Go, a version for low-end devices

Android 8.1 is out and brings a "Neural Networks API, which allows applications to take advantage of hardware acceleration, reducing latency and network loads", some "Pixel Visual Core co-processing technology for advanced machine learning algorithms and image processing tools" and lots of small bug fixes. Check with your phone maker if it's actually gonna get 8.1 any time soon. Google also announced Android Go, an optimised version of Android for low-end devices (e.g: under 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage), primarily for developing countries. Dunno which devices will get it, but it's a thing OEMs can use.

The SEC shuts down scam ICO, PlexCoin

The SEC is shutting down PlexCoin, a dodgy initial coin offering that has nothing to do with the awesome media library software. PlexCoin managed to raise $15m in just a few months, saying it will deliver a "1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days". What PlexCoin actually aims to do, is dubious as all the website explains is that PlexCoin has a mission "to broaden the possibilities of uses and to increase the number of users by simplifying the process of managing cryptocurrency to the maximum" - to the max! The SEC has frozen the assets of "recidivist Quebec securities law violator, Dominic Lacroix" and his partner while the SEC's Cyber Unit investigates this "full-fledged cyber scam".

TPG to build Adelaide's 10-gigabit fibre network

The City of Adelaide has announced that TPG is going to install a 10-gigabit network around the CBD and North Adelaide. TPG will own and operate the network, with the council chipping in some cash to make it happen. Roll-out will begin early next year. There's a few more details in this PDF from the council. Will be interesting to see what sort of price is attached to this, but the fact it's even available is fantastic. The South Australian government is subsidising ISPs to reach more areas outside the Adelaide CBD with gigabit fibre too. I'm surprised more states and cities haven't leveraged the NBN's garbage fire situation and rolled out their own networks to support tech-based businesses.

Not News, But Still Cool

Large scale study to see if apps can assist in detecting & treating mental health issues in teens

Researchers from UNSW, Deakin, ANU, Syd & Melb Uni, Uni SA, Macquarie and The Black Dog Institute are undertaking the largest clinical study ever to see if apps can be used to "flag the onset of depressive symptoms in young people". The study will also "examine whether cognitive behavioural therapy based apps are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, eating disorders, suicide risk and psychotic symptoms". So far all this stuff has been tried in very small groups - rolling it out to over 20,000 teens means we get a better sense of its effectiveness on the community. God speed to them.

Tech journos getting paid to slip favourable articles about companies on big websites

The Outline has exposed the dirty world of tech writing payola. PR companies are blatantly asking writers who contribute to big publications like Wired, Huffington post or Forbes, to write positive articles about their clients in return money. Failing that, the PR companies are happy to sling some cash for mentions about their clients in articles about a particular topic. Sometimes it's less subtle, with writers getting heavy influence on a certain topic from a PR, but writing it themselves to a relatively high standard, but getting paid twice - once from the outlet and the other from PR. I must be shit at my job, as nobody ever offers me money for content.

Cheap 65" 4K TV, Jaycar shipping, 5% off site-wide at JB, Dell monitors & Google Play credit

Aldi will be selling a 65" 4K TV for $799 on the 16th of December. Jaycar's online store has free delivery for the next few days. JB Hi-Fi has 5% off store wide (except Apple, Miele, mobile phones & gift cards) today only if you're an Instant Deals member. Dell's factory outlet store has refurbished U2415 monitors for $234. There's a few other UltraSharp monitors too if you're interested in something else. Coles has 20% off Google Play gift cards this week.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!