Not into ads? Neither are we. Join our Patreon and get rid of them!    Already a patron? Log in now to hide them.

The latest news

The new Amazon Fire TV Cube is great… for Americans

Tags: tech

Fire TV Cube is a hands-free 4K Ultra HD streaming media player with Alexa, allowing you to control your TV from across the room. Just ask Alexa to turn on the TV, dim the lights, and play what you want to watch from over 500,000 movies and TV episodes.

The Cube is essentially a mashing of an Echo speaker with Amazon’s Fire TV stick & a universal remote to control your TV & cable box.

Unfortunately for us Aussies Fire TV is a North American thing and the Cube is the same. It’s a shame because the new product has a lot of promise and in having it plugged into your TV means you get contextual responses similar to the Echo Show but then at the same time doesn’t require the TV to be running and works as a regular Echo also.

The new Fire TV Cube is on sale now and ships June 21 for US$119.99 to North American customers only.

Sonos’ new “Beam” soundbar makes its long awaited debut

Tags: tech
Source: The Verge

Sonos has unveiled a new soundbar speaker that, in an industry first, will be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.

Significantly cheaper than the original Playbar the new Beam will retail for A$599 and be available in July.

Other differences include the smart speaker capabilities (obviously) as well as the input on the rear being a single HDMI port instead of toslink/optical in. It does come with an adaptor however to convert HDMI to optical should your setup not support the HDMI remote control functions and you don’t want to waste/use a HDMI port on your TV or receiver.

The new Beam, reportedly has a solid level of sound quality however anecdotally the Playbar remains king.

Sadly the new version also doesn’t include support for Dolby Atmos, which many have been holding out for. It appears the battle for a lower cost has won out in order to see Sonos engrain itself in more consumers’ lives.

As impressive and as nice as it is to see the new product emerge I’ll likely be giving it a miss. Not hitting the mark on Atmos and providing a sound quality that doesn’t improve on my existing Playbar doesn’t coerce me to up/down-grade. Event Sonos’ own creative lead Jedd Derderian doesn’t think you should stating that “[Sonos] don’t believe in the replacement cycle…”, suggesting users buy the Beam to add on to their current setups instead of replace what they have.

For more details check out our good mate Peter Well’s article on the launch for SMH or check out The Verge’s exclusive in-depth hands on.

Source: Sonos announces Beam, a lounge room speaker it says can do it all

NBN Co’s own little Gamergate

Tags: australia, gaming

NBN Co is adamant its CEO did not blame online gamers for causing congestion on fixed wireless.

Yeah but you did mate.

Days before Bill Morrow specifically identified gamers as being heavy users of the NBN that in turn are causing congestion and issues for other users on the network.

In a statement to a parliamentary hearing Mr Morrow said “While people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process”.

As the NBN PR team are now all too painfully aware, gaming uses little to no bandwidth in comparison to the average Netflix user and have been heavily back peddling since.

Today in a statement from NBN Co the company suggests that Morrow merely used them as an example of a “heavy user” and not the root cause in contrast to his specific remarks.

In the same hearing Morrow is quoted as saying a few more gems stating that, “No-one designs a network to where everybody uses it at the same exact time” and falling back to innovations such as the iPhone as being something no one could predict in the failing network.

Ironically “innovation” was the catch-cry of the currently elected government who’s switch to a multi-technology-mix ensures building a network for today and NOT tomorrow, effectively predicting the endorsement of the CEO’s sentiment.

Source: NBN Co hits back on gamer claims: Bill Morrow ‘didn’t blame’ anyone – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The new Asus ZenBook Pro’s touchpad has a screen

Tags: tech
Image: The Verge

Unveiled at Computex 2018, the Asus ZenBook Pro is the new pinnacle of Asus’ premium laptop range, and it comes with an attention-grabbing new feature: a smartphone-sized touchscreen in the place of the regular touchpad.

They’re calling it the “ScreenPad”. The Verge has a full hands on preview and their reviewer describes it as being “not terrible” it’s hardly a glowing endorsement.

The ScreenPad is controlled via a cursor and not just a tap and activate sort of deal, which when you think about it makes sense because it’s still being used as your mouse/touchpad.

I’ll reserve judgement until I get hands on myself and hats off to ASUS for innovating. At least they didn’t remove a bunch of keys that people rely on to do it!

Source: Asus replaced the new ZenBook Pro’s touchpad with a touchscreen – The Verge

Victorian government launches huge Melbourne Esports Open event

Tags: australia, gaming

Victoria will be home to the biggest esport event in the country when it hosts the inaugural Melbourne Esports Open in September.

Announced in a press release yesterday the newly formed Melbourne Esports Open is a partnership between the Victorian government TEG Live & ESL.

The new event is expected to cater to 10,000 fans a day when it’s held over the first weekend of September at Melbourne & Olympic Parks.

Games to be played are still to be advised however Melbourne’s Herald Sun has indicated we can expect to see competitions for League of Legends, Overwatch and Fortnite.

Melbourne has always claimed to be the “sporting capital of Australia” so it stands to reason they should put a definitive stamp on esports as well.

For more details on the event check out their new website and stay tuned to their official social media channels.

Source: Melbourne Esports Open

Microsoft is buying GitHub

Tags: tech
Image: The Next Web

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire GitHub Inc., the code repository company popular with many software developers, and could announce the deal as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Didn’t see that one coming, but then Microsoft is apparently the top contributor to GitHub with over 1000 employees pushing to it.

GitHub was last valued at a lazy US$2b back in 2015 and is reported to have an estimated annual income of $200m.

Searching for a new CEO for 9 months now the company has, in true Silicon Valley fashion, never been profitable and a buyout by Microsoft (or anyone) would be a solid win.

As for developers whom make use of the wildly popular service religiously the shift to Microsoft may not be as well received. However with advents of tools such as VisualCode and other initiatives led by MS CEO Satya Nadella the company has made huge inroads into restoring developer faith of late.

Source: Microsoft Is Said to Have Agreed to Acquire Coding Site GitHub – Bloomberg

Leaks confirm Fortnite is Nintendo Switch bound

Tags: gaming
Source: 4Chan

Fortnite, the massively popular battle royale shooter, is reportedly coming to Nintendo’s Switch console soon.

Just like James & I were talking about on the pod this week, it looks like it’s all but confirmed that Fortnite will be announced for the Nintendo Switch at E3.

The leaked photo of Nintendo’s E3 lineup showed up on 4Chan overnight with as well as a Korean games rating appearing for the title on the Switch platform.

Source: Fortnite is reportedly coming to the Nintendo Switch – The Verge

ASUS announces crypto-mining-motherboard with support for 20 GPUs

Tags: tech

ASUS is excited to announce the new H370 Mining Master motherboard that increases density with support for up to 20 graphics cards, simplifies connectivity by letting USB riser cables plug directly into the PCB, and reduces downtime by making problems easier to diagnose.

They say it right on the box “Mining Master”, this board is a beast.

On show at Computex in a custom mining rig and on sale in Q3 of this calendar year the H370 is sure to be a favourite amongst crypto miners worldwide.

Pricing TBA.

Source: ASUS Announces H370 Mining Master Motherboard

Apple to focus on ‘Digital Health’ at WWDC

Tags: tech

Apple engineers have been working on an initiative dubbed Digital Health, a series of tools to help users monitor how much time they spend on their devices and inside of certain applications.

Whatever Google can do, we can do better…

Apple very rapidly returning to old ways becoming the reactor instead of the innovator.

To quote Matthew Machonhay, “Time is a flat circle”.

Source: Apple Is Set to Unveil AR Upgrade, Software to Manage iPhone Use – Bloomberg

Australians to lose access to Amazon’s US store

Tags: australia, tech

Australians will be blocked from shopping on Amazon’s international websites and restricted to using its smaller local platform as the e-commerce giant responds to the government’s new GST rules on online purchases.

Of course old mate Gerry Harvey had plenty to say on the self imposed  redirection that Amazon announced yesterday.

“They’ve done the dirty on the government. They’ve done the dirty on the public.” cried Mr Harvey, no doubt with his head angled towards the sky and his fist pumping in rage.

Not only will Australians be unable to access the US (or any other) Amazon store should they gain access through other technical methods will be unable to ship their items to Australian addresses.

The end result is access to an awfully poor selection of items in the current store at inflated prices four times or more above the cost of buying it from the US and shipping it here currently.

The new redirection will start July 1st at the same time as the government’s new GST collection rules for overseas vendors begin.

Source: Amazon to block US website for Australian shoppers over GST rules