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The latest news

Aston Martin delivers promised EV – Rapide E

Tags: tech

What’s a few extra hundred-grand when you’re already spending A$120+ on a Tesla right?

Aston Martin’s Rapide E is the delivery of a promise made years ago by the UK sports car manufacturer before being tangled up with LeEco and having their promised delivery date of 2018 skip on by.

Today they set things straight, announcing the limited run of 155 Rapide E’s will begin production through a new partnership with Formula 1 manufacturer Williams.

The Rapide E, which is heavily designed after its combustion counterpart, is rear drive and powered by twin electric motors that produce a lazy 950Nm of torque.

It’ll go from 0 – 60mph in just under 4 seconds, which at the price tag expected to adjoin it, pales in comparison to a P100D equipped Tesla Model S that’ll do it in just over 2. But then a Tesla is no Aston Martin and they’ve gone and included CarPlay and Android Auto when Tesla wont touch that so might be worth it after all.

Source: Rapide E – The first All-Electric Aston Martin | Aston Martin

Sony reveal PS5 details ahead of notable E3 absence

Tags: gaming, tech

Don’t expect it anytime in 2019, but the next PlayStation console is well on its way—and it’s packing ray-tracing support and a loadtime-killing solid-state hard drive.

The console wars are about to fire up for another generation kids.

With E3 just over a month away and details of one of Microsoft’s new consoles coming out less than 24 hours ago Sony have deemed it time to offer an exclusive to Wired detailing just how fantastic their yet to be named (it’ll be the PS5) console is going to be.

Mark Cerny, the PS4’s system architect cum game designer (he’s behind Knack & Marble Madness – one of those was good) is returning to spearhead the PR train revealing details most people could’ve surmised themselves.

The new PS5 will include backwards compatibility, a true first for the Sony console, 8K support (if you can throw A$10k at a TV), an AMD Ryzen 7nm Zen 2 based CPU as well as an AMD Radeon Navi GPU, a new 3D audio system and faster SSD system (probably PCIe 4.0 based) that was demonstrated loading a previously 15 second long section of last year’s Spider-Man in 0.8 seconds.

It seems like one of the major points Cerny was making centred around the new console’s ray-tracing abilities that he attributes to only being available in US$10k+ systems and a first for consoles when it comes to the PS5. Raytracing is a hard sell and something that engine makers will need to incorporate and support, which I’m sure Sony are working hard on to achieve, but just ask Nvidia how well that marketing tactic has gone with their RTX 20 Series launched last year. (Spoiler alert – not well)

Lastly the console is definitely not coming out until 2020 and even then not likely until October/November for the holidays. It will still have some form of physical media and for those of you thinking Death Stranding is coming out soon, they make a strong point it’s likely to be a PS5 launch title but you’ll get a shittier PS4 version as well to make you want to upgrade.

Source: Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony’s Next-Gen PlayStation

Recent Changes Spell Trouble for Australia’s Tech Sector

Tags:

Over the past year, the technology industry in Australia has seen growth that has outpaced the expectations of citizens and analysts alike, fed by startups tapping into the nation’s underutilized labour force and reskilling them via the wide availability of online courses in the marketplace. The burgeoning sector is reshaping an economy long dominated by old-line industries like mining and manufacturing. For a while, it seemed that the sky was the limit, but now a slew of legal and regulatory changes imposed by Parliament threatens to undercut much of the progress made in recent years. Here’s what’s happening to Australia’s tech sector, and what the results may be.

New Encryption Regulations

In December, Australia’s Parliament passed a bill that would compel technology companies to create a backdoor into their encrypted communication services. In the run-up to the bill’s passage, nearly every major global technology firm came out in opposition to the new law, arguing that it was unnecessarily vague and broad. The fear was that it would create fatal flaws in encryption that malicious actors would then exploit. Recently, tech industry group StartupAUS asked the government to reconsider the law, in a submission to Parliament backed by big-name players Atlassian, Canva, Blackbird Ventures, and others. They insist that the law is loaded with the potential for harm to the local industry, and could create unintended consequences beyond what lawmakers intended.

Tax Incentive Crackdowns

The encryption bill isn’t the only recent government-dealt blow to the tech sector. Around the same time, the government began a crackdown on technology businesses that take advantage of a tax scheme meant to fuel research and development. Some of Australia’s biggest tech firms have been issued demands for repayment of previously claimed tax breaks, amounting to millions of dollars in clawbacks and fines. Already, the move has caused business groups to warn that it could prompt a mass exodus of tech R&D operations from the country, harming future growth.

The End of the Innovation Ministry

In another sign of waning support for tech, the government also eliminated the minister of innovation from the cabinet. That robs the tech industry of high-level advocacy in the government, which some fear will allow for even more harmful changes to occur. So far, industry leaders have decried the move, and analysts see it as yet another blow to the nation’s short-lived and poorly-received innovation agenda of 2015.

What’s Next

Judging by the steady drumbeat of bad news for Australia’s tech sector, it seems as though much of the optimism generated over the past few years has dissipated. It’s still too soon to tell how badly the government’s recent moves will affect the sector as a whole, but the outlook isn’t exactly great. That isn’t good news at a time that the broader Australian economy seems to be slowing, and will need growth engines like the technology industry to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, for Aussies who depend on the new innovation economy, only time will tell.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

The last of the new trilogy – and potentially Star Wars for a while – with Disney’s Bob Iger saying they’ll be taking a break from the franchise after Episode IX lands this December.

How do we feel about that name? “The Rise of Skywalker”, yay or nay?

PlayStation will finally let you change that gamertag you regret choosing

Tags: gaming

We’re excited to announce that the online ID change feature on PSN is officially launching to all PlayStation 4 owners later today.

It’s taken eight years but Sony will finally let you change that PSN ID you chose back in high school and have regretted for the past half a decade or so.

The first change is free but after that it’ll set you back A$13.99 (or A$6.99 for PS+ members).

While I’m glad I can continue to consolidate my ID’s across all platforms I think the bigger take away from this is that if after eight years of constant pressure from their customers can bring change there’s still (potentially) hope for Twitter to add an edit button.

More information and details about what you can and can’t do with the ID change are available on the PlayStation blog.

Google’s “Wing” drones start delivering products in Canberra

Tags: australia, tech

Today, we are excited to be launching our first air delivery service in North Canberra . Our service allows customers to order a range of items such as fresh food, hot coffee or over-the-counter chemist items on our mobile app, and have them delivered directly to their homes by drone in minutes.

Initially a Google X-Moonshot project like Waymo & Loom, Wing has been running trials for over 18 months and completed nearly 3000 test deliveries.

Available to residents in Grace, Palmerston & Franklin Wing drones will embark on a world first in delivering goods after receiving CASA approval today.

Initially product offerings will be slim, with launch partners including Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, Drummond Golf and Capital Chemist. More are expected and a callout to local businesses has been raised as the service continues to grow to other ACT suburbs such as Harrison and Gungahlin.

Interestingly the drones flightpath and a large part  of the approval by CASA require them to avoid major roads and aren’t allowed to cross them or get too close to people whilst flying, hence the extravagant winch system.

Customers whom sign up to use the service will also be required to undergo training on how to receive a delivery as a part of the regulatory requirements.

Source: Wing launches commercial air delivery service in Canberra

Sonos & Ikea partnership bears fruit – Meet Symfonisk

Tags: tech

Sonos has collaborated with IKEA on SYMFONISK, a range of speakers designed to democratize the home sound system. Combining our expertise in sound and technology with IKEA’s knowledge of home furnishing, SYMFONISK seamlessly fits into the home to enhance everyday life and integrates with the Sonos system.

A table lamp and a bookshelf speaker that doubles as a shelf. That’s the two new products out of the Sonos & Ikea partnership due to launch in August.

Each of the two new speakers are fully compatible Sonos speakers including the recently added AirPlay2 support. Essentially variants of the Sonos One speaker the new Ikea models can also be used in a 5.1 surround setup with either the Sonos Beam or Playbar.

Aesthetically the speakers will match most modern homes and whilst the lamp doesn’t include a smart bulb, could be easily retrofitted.

The bookshelf speaker is the most versatile of the two in terms of placement. It can be hung in a kitchen on a utensil rack, laid perfectly into the squares of their popular Kallax bookshelf, hung as a shelf of its own or just plugged in and placed anywhere you desire.

Priced at €179 for the lamp and €99 for the bookshelf version there is no word on available in Australia at this point but look out for more information soon.

Source: SYMFONISK: Stereo Furniture by Sonos and IKEA | Sonos

Heritage Victoria kills Apple’s Melbourne Federation Square plans

Tags: australia

Plans to build an Apple store at Federation Square will not go ahead, after heritage authorities refused an application to demolish an existing part of the square.

After a roller coaster ride of events, Apple’s plans to build a new flagship store in Melbourne’s Federation Square it have all come crashing to an end.

Apple have confirmed they will not proceed with their plans after Heritage Victoria’s refusal to allow the demolition of an existing structure.

Whilst the blocking of the build will undoubtably be a win for many who saw it as the commercialisation of a public space, it will leave many lamenting the fact Melbourne remains without a CBD based Apple store.

Source: Apple store plans shelved after heritage authorities say ‘no’

Beats’ new Powerbeats Pro earbuds are everything the AirPods should be (almost)

Tags: tech

Beats have soft-announced their new H1 equipped Powerbeats Pro headphones, launching a website and adding them to their parent company’s (Apple) online store but not enabling that “Buy” button.

The new Powerbeats Pro look almost identical to the highly reviewed Powerbeats 3 with the cable between the buds removed and some slight bulk added to their main arm to allow for new sensors, controls and a larger battery that outdoes Apple’s 2019 AirPods, which is, ultimately, not a hard feat.

The Powerbeats Pro, like all wireless buds these days, make use of a charging case that sadly (likely due to their overlords influence) uses a lightning port to power them and in their one downside compared to the new AirPods, lack wireless charging.

Thankfully you wont have to make use of the case nearly as often as the AirPods’ dental floss container as the Powerbeats Pro rock in with a solid 9 hour battery life.

For those whom find the AirPods to never just quite fit (that’s me if you hadn’t guessed), or anyone wanting a high quality, in-ear audio experience the Powerbeats Pro look like a solid fit.

Supposedly on sale next month the new Powerbeats Pro will set you back A$349.

Source: Introducing Powerbeats Pro – Beats

Cloudflare adds a fast & free VPN to their secure DNS service

Tags: tech

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