Author: Raj Deut

Today we’re excited to announce what we began to plan more than two years ago: the 1.1.1.1 App with Warp performance and security technology. We built Warp from the ground up to thrive in the harsh conditions of the modern mobile Internet.

A year ago Cloudflare gave the internet the most secure, fast and more importantly, free DNS service for us all to use pledging to have user security and privacy at the forefront of their service.

Continuing with that train of thought they’ve announced a new service, which will further work towards personal privacy online with the introduction of a free VPN service.

Called “Warp“, the VPN makes use of the relatively new WireGuard system. Designed to offer a higher level of security whilst being faster to setup and easier to maintain, Cloudflare have taken WireGuard and have begun incorporating it into their “1.1.1.1” app.

Unlike the general use case for VPNs in Australia (ie. to change your location to watch US Netflix shows) Warp wont let you choose a location, nor is it designed to skirt geoblocking rules. Instead the idea is to reroute your traffic to make it faster whilst encrypting your data automatically when it can.

Unlike other pseudo VPNs cough Facebook cough Google cough, Cloudflare records no identifiable user data nor do they have any user tracking that’s onsold to advertisers. They will be offering a paid version of Warp called Warp+ however that’s designed to fund the new system. Warp+ will take advantage of Cloudflare’s enterprise Argo routing tech, that should theoretically boost your online experience even more.

While I don’t think many need the advantages of Warp+ here in Australia, having a VPN that provides more security without compromising speed (and potentially boosting it) is a major win.

You can join the waiting list (I hate this method of rollout BTW) for the new Warp service by installing the iOS or Android version of the 1.1.1.1 app and clicking on Warp. A desktop version of Warp for Mac & Windows will be released soon.

Source: Introducing Warp: Fixing Mobile Internet Performance and Security

After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.

Despite mention of the AirPower printed on the side of the new 2019 AirPods box Apple have officially (and [email protected]#king finally) announced the AirPower will not be released.

In what is a strange move for Apple the AirPower mat was announced at an Apple event before its development had been completed. Now two years on its more evident than ever the product never really got over the hurdle of safely incorporating three different charging methods into one device.

Apple now say they’re fully committed to the more well-adopted and standards based wireless charging methods such as Qi, which is used on the iPhone X & new AirPods case. We can only hope that next year’s Apple Watch also adopts the same method and does away with the need for any bespoke Apple charging products.

 

Image: The Daily Dot

…the European Parliament passed a directive to overhaul copyright law in the European Union and put more pressure on the likes of Google, Facebook, and Instagram to keep copyrighted material like photos and videos off their platforms.

Touted to bring copyright law into the digital the age many believe recently passed laws put forward in the European Parliament are a gigantic affront to our online freedoms.

Article 11 of the new legislation is being described as a “link tax”, allowing publishers charge platforms for using or displaying portions of their content. The change would result in the removal of any pre-amble from search results for news content heavily diminishing the quality of any news related search within the EU. It’s not the first time it’s been tried before. Both Spain & Germany have introduced a similar link tax on their own and both times it’s failed miserably.

Image: Google

Of larger concern is Article 13 (later changed to Article 17) known as the “meme-killer” in which the onus for copyright protection is placed on the service facilitating its publishing on the internet. This, many believe, will mean the implementation of upload filters to look for and remove any potentially copyright infringing content before it’s served.

Websites that make use of or have a high volume of meme content such as Reddit could cease to exist in the EU under such heavy legislation and the costs of implementing such systems prohibit tech growth within the EU.

Now passed it’s up to each EU member nation to draft and implement their own interpretation of the legislation within 24 months.

Source: Europe’s New Copyright Law Could Be Bad for Memes | WIRED

Image: BTCmanager.com

A Lithuanian man pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of money laundering, after tricking employees of Alphabet’s Google unit and Facebook into wiring more than $100 million into bank accounts he controlled as part of multiple business email compromise (BEC) fraud attacks spanning from at least in or around 2013 through in or about 2015.

Credit where credit is due. This is by far one of the most astoundingly simple cases of fleecing cash from gigantic corporations I’ve ever seen. The fact it’s was carried out against two of the largest tech companies in the world is just the icing on the cake.

Described as a “blatant scheme” by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, the man simply registered a company in Lithuania with the same name as an Asian hardware supplier and started sending the two companies invoices.

Clearly fooled, both Google & Facebook then went on to pay over US$120m to the man’s shell company between 2013 and 2015.

Since caught he’s surrendered nearly US$50m back to the US and pleaded guilty to wire fraud. The man now faces up to 30 years in prison.

Source: Lithuanian Pleads Guilty to Stealing $100 Million From Google, Facebook

Living under a rock? Apple held what I’m sure they’re calling their event of a lifetime with a slew of Hollywood elite in attendance both on stage and in the crowd. From Ron Howard to JJ Abrams to the Aquaman guy, Spielberg, Oprah and more it was a who’s who that only Apple could amass for such an occasion.

Effectively announcing their own film and TV studio Apple unveiled their first (real) foray into the video entertainment space under the banner of “Apple TV +”, a streaming service that would be baked into the new Apple TV app available in over 100 countries (likely including Australia) around October this year. No pricing was offered during the presentation rather it capitalised on the star quality available and highlighted some of the shows they’ve been producing, which will launch with the service.

Shows covered a wide range of viewer demographics including Spielberg’s already known about Amazing Stories return, a “behind the camera” dramatised look at the relationships of men and women on morning TV shows spearheaded by Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Aniston called The Morning Show and of course Oprah returning to “TV” with two documentary series and a live version of her book club show.

Apple TV App

In addition to the new Apple TV + service the hardware we once new as Apple TV has been effectively digitised into a one stop video app that will not only host Apple’s new content but serve as a hub for all of your digital subscriptions (if you’re an American). The app will also be coming to a wider range of TVs with Apple announcing new installs coming for LG, Vizio and others.

A new a la carte menu effectively allows you to subscribe to the content you want – right down to the granular channel level of your cable provider – and NOT be stuck with “bundles” of unwanted content at elevated pricing.

Cable and digital providers such as dish, Amazon Video, Hulu and more can also be linked into the app and provide a single hub interface to search and browse through all of your available to stream content.

There was no word on finer details and availability but I’d expect this to be heavily US focused for the near and distant futures.

Apple Card

I was not expecting Apple to get into the credit card business. I don’t think anyone was really. But they have and it’s different but it’s something that when examined in detail is just bringing products and services that most first world countries already have available as a part of credit services.

The Apple Card experience looks to me that they’ve taken Up Banking’s approach and just dropped the savings account part. Transactions are listed in the updated Wallet app along with a series of nice graphs and more relevant data as to where you purchased something from instead of the obfuscated incorporated name behind the cafe you just bought a coffee from.

Subscribers will receive a physical card also, a titanium, laser-etched one at that, which I assume has a magnetic strip in it still and only makes me wonder if they contacted Billy McFarland of Fyre Festival fame to obtain the tech used in his metal credit card company prior.

The funniest part of this presentation was Tim Cook speaking to a map where Apple had supposedly introduced the wonders of Apple Pay to with Australia showing a 99% adoption rate. Little does the world know that had nothing to do with Apple Pay.

News +

The announcement of Apple’s News + service was also largely expected and for the most part exactly what the rumours portrayed it to be. An all you can eat buffet of magazine and newspaper subscriptions with some digital ones like TechCrunch and The Skimm thrown in too.

Tent-poled by the inclusion of The Washington Street Journal and the LA Times the News + service will only be available to the US and Canada initially priced at US$9.99/month.

The service can be shared amongst family members and in my mind for its killer feature has NO advertising or tracking. It’s sad that’s such a big deal in 2019.

The demoed issues of National Geographic showed off the many formatting options available to publishers whom are about to embark on the platform including video covers of their issues and the ability to style the articles with the customary fonts and colours. A lot of it reminded me of Adobe’s publishing platform back when the iPad was first released and all the wonderful things magazines could do but ultimately found too hard and just let Apple’s scrapers do the work for you.

No word on an Aussie release, nor any inclusion of Australian media publishers such as News or Fairfax.

Now with more talk time, voice-activated Siri access — and a new Wireless Charging Case — AirPods deliver an unparalleled wireless headphone experience.

If you can’t make an AirPower pad, change the products you’re supposed to charge on them so you can. I think that’s Apple’s new philosophy as we head into day 3 of Apple’s hardware-refresh-a-poolza.

Apple’s new A$319 AirPods with their now Qi compatible Wireless Charging case also introduce a new “H1” chip that boasts an extra hour of talk time, faster connection speed and “Hey Siri” activation support.

The new “H” for Headphone chips represent a new line of Apple’s ever-expanding chip lineup and will be iterated upon now made specifically for headphones. The “W” line that was used before will remain too but be used exclusively in Apple’s watches.

The new 2019 AirPods can also be bought without the Wireless Charging case (Why?) for A$249 and for those of you with an existing set you can buy just the case for A$129.

All of these are available for purchase now and will be shipping from Monday next week.

As for the AirPower pad… there are rumours swirling we may finally see that next week, now that they only have to deal with two types of charging instead of three.

Source: AirPods – Apple (AU)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai […] introduced the Stadia service during a special keynote at GDC this morning. Describing it as a platform for everyone, Pichai talked up Google’s ambitions to stream games to all types of devices.

The service, which is notably NOT coming to Australia when it launches later this year, will allow gamers to stream AAA titles to a slew devices ranging from your laptop or PC to a Chromecast connected TV.

Announced just a couple weeks after Microsoft’s xCloud project, “Stadia” is an almost identical product with added lofty statements such as 4K, 60fps, HDR surround at launch and an expectation to hit 8K 120fps down the road.

Stadia will make use of Google’s vast data centre & cloud network, which it hopes will give it an edge in the race to cloud console streaming war that is now heavily ramping up.

Games can be played using either existing PC connectable controllers, mice, & keyboards or using Stadia’s own controller. The Stadia controller also doubles as a Google Assistant device and directly connects to the Stadia service via WiFi identifying whatever screen you’re playing on, meaning you can literally just pack the controller and take your gaming anywhere.

Game wise the only titles announced for the service are Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which was used in the service’s beta, and Bethesda’s Doom Eternal.

No information is available as to the service’s cost at this stage but one thing is for sure and that’s the universal loathing of Google’s chosen name for the service.

Source: Google unveils Stadia cloud gaming service at GDC 2019 – The Verge

In an attempt to fool us all into thinking they’re still a hardware company Apple have trotted out the revised corpse of another long-lost product, the iPad Mini.

The new iPad Mini makes use of the same A12 Bionic chip you’ll find inside of the iPhone XS & iPhone XR. It now also includes a Retina display with True Tone and claims top spot across all of Apple’s devices when it comes to pixel density with 326 DPI.

The Apple Pencil will now also work with the iPad Mini, should you be inclined, but make sure you’re using the old 1st generation version as the newer one isn’t compatible. Weird.

Available to order now the new iPad Mini starts at A$599 for the WiFi 64GB version and goes up to A$1019 (why didn’t they just make it A$999, seriously) for the LTE, 256GB version.

In addition to the iPad Mini the iPad Air was updated to use the same A12 Bionic chip but also receives a bump in screen size going from 9.7″ to 10.5″ making the Air all but identical to the Mini but for screen size.

The 2019 iPad Air starts from A$779 (64GB, WiFi) and goes up to A$1,199 (256GB, LTE).

Both the Air & Mini will ship Monday March 25th, a day ahead of Apple’s giant video service reveal.

Basic users have a three device limit as of March 2019.
Plus and Professional users can link unlimited devices.

Similar to Evernote, Dropbox now limits the number of devices you can sync your files to.

Dropbox have said they’ll honour existing device registrations for free users with more than three devices, but if you accidentally deregister one it wont be allowed back.

Clearly a change (made very quietly) to entice users to start paying for the service, but could the move mean the company ends up in a similar position to Evernote?

I was already looking at alternatives; this could very well be the nail in the coffin.

Source: Is there a limit to the number of devices I can link to my account? – Dropbox Help