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Things are about to kick off – What to expect from upcoming Apple, Google, Samsung & other’s events

It looks like the tech world has decided to hold off on their party planning for the first month of 2019 and instead scheduled everything over the coming month.

There’s going to be a lot to cover but to give you all an idea of what to expect and whether or not you should be waking up at god knows what hour to watch said event here’s a brief breakdown of what’s coming. (more…)

The end of “endgame” & gaming as a relationship

Tags: gaming

David Polfeldt - The Division 2

We made a conscious decision to rethink the live-phase. Instead of thinking of it as ‘games as a service’ we redefined it as ‘games as a relationship’.

Blatant self-promotion this one. Roast me if you will 🙂

Recently Ubisoft Australia gave me the amazing opportunity to interview Massive Entertainment managing director, David Polfeldt.

Developers of The Division franchise, Polfeldt talks about how the studio changed its entire development strategy after the release of the original and how their new relationship with gamers goes towards shaping the content they produce.

It was a fascinating chat and a great opportunity that I’m quite proud of.

Source: The End Of “Endgame” And Gaming As A Relationship

EA’s Apex Legends hits 25m meanwhile Anthem employs Neill Blomkamp to stay relevant

Tags: gaming

What were EA thinking?

Two studios with two different games and two vastly different marketing budgets releasing within days of one another. EA has cooked up some sort of David vs Goliath battle pitting two of its own studios, underdog Respawn and triple A story-tellers Bioware, against one another.

Why EA thought it would be a good idea to release the rock solid, stable and highly addictive behemoth that Apex Legends has become just weeks ahead of Anthem I’ll never know, but they have, and they did, so here we are.

Today in a continued effort to show off the millions being poured into the marketing budget of EA’s champion, Anthem, we get a live action trailer directed “from” Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame. The trailer, produced by Blomkamp’s Oats Studio, is of course beautiful to look at but I fear leads the game further down a path already well trodden by Destiny’s shit-show of a storyline.

With that said Bioware are lauded to be the magicians of story telling in the gaming world so if anyone can make it work it should be them.

A closer look at Apple’s proposed redesign for Melbourne’s Federation Square

Apple’s proposed flagship store at Melbourne’s Federation Square drew intense criticism when announced by the Victorian government back in 2017. Concerns over a largely government funded public space holding an extremely commercial retail enterprise did not sit well with many individuals. Nor did its design, which when announced, looked more akin to an 80’s style Pizza Hut restaurant than the architectural glamour and refurbishment normally associated with Apple’s retail arm.

A year and a half later and the store appears to be continuing with further planning documents submitted for the demolition of the existing structure and the Victorian Heritage Council hearing the case and impact of doing so. As a part of this new phase they’re open for public comment ahead of their hearing and are available on the council’s website for viewing.

The building has been completely redefined with the pagoda style facade replace by Apple’s customary glass walls. The store now more closely resembles another of Apple’s six flagship stores in the Manhattan based Apple “cube” store. The building is also to remain a four storey structure however its footprint has been reduced allowing for more public traffic and space to surround it.

apple store melbourne open

The new design also incorporates large double storey sliding metal panels that will be used to shelter the store from its prominent east & west facing sides. These metal shields will help alleviate a great deal of the harsh sun the store is destined to bare as it will have little surrounding it for protection at that height.

Remaining from the original plans is the surrounding balcony, which will allow visitors an uninterrupted view of the Yarra River, the opposing Alexandra Gardens and Melbourne’s Southbank precinct.

apple store federation square

Heavy opposition for the venture remains with a new fake crowdfunding campaign created to buy the estimated A$40m site proposed for the store. The campaign is designed to demonstrate the opposition of now over 2,000 protestors whom deem the addition to Federation Square a blight on what was originally designed to be a public space. There is also great outcry and concern for the displacement of the occupants of its current tenant The Koorie Heritage Trust, whom have relocated across the road to Flinders St ironically close to where an existing Apple reseller was located before it moved late in 2018.

Sonos wants to be inside your walls

Tags: tech

Sonos and Sonance partner to create custom-installed speakers that disappear into your ceiling, pulse with the power of Sonos Amp, and self-optimise for the room using Sonos Trueplay tuning software.

Sonos, everyone’s (or at least James Croft’s & mine) favourite in-home speaker system has announced a new partnership with Sonance today.I’d never heard of them personally and despite having a name that’s all too close to Sonos they also manufacture high-end invisible speaker systems people like to install in walls & ceilings.

The new “Sonos by Sonance Architectural” range includes an in-wall, ceiling and outdoor speaker that are designed to work harmoniously in the Sonos system.

In reality the new speakers appear to be naught more than a partnership in sales & name. Each of the speakers requires that you also add the not-so-cheap Sonos Amp (A$999) that allow the Sonance Architecturals to connect to your system. This is in fact the main reason to buy the Sonos Amp, to allow you to connect any speaker and not just ones Sonos have formulated a partnership with.

To further prove the point, the new speakers are also void of any voice services meaning they wont work with Amazon’s Alexa or (one day) with Google Assistant.

In-Ceiling speaker pair – A$899 (Feb 26th, 2019)
In-Wall speaker pair – A$899 (Feb 26th, 2019)
Outdoor speaker pair – A$1,199 (TBA)
Sonos Amp – A$999 (Available now)

Here are your new emojis for 2019

Unicode Emoji 12.0 was officially announced today. Included in the release are 59 new emojis including mechanical body parts, an otter, sloth, waffle, ice cube and more.

In addition to the new emojis 171 variants will be added to existing characters to offer a wider selection skin tones.

The new standard is scheduled for release March 5th where smartphone manufacturers and operating system providers can incorporate the full standard in all its 2019 glory.

You can check out a full list, as well as provided imagery of what you can expect the new emoji to look like here.


Apple revokes Google’s enterprise certificate too

Tags: tech

It looks like Facebook weren’t the only ones being naughty when it comes to side-loading tracking apps onto people’s iPhones. Google too had their own version of a tracking app called “Screenwise Meter”, which after Facebook’s came to light was closed down by the company who also issued an apology.

“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program. This was a mistake, and we apologize.”

Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Apple, whom after making a very poignant stand yesterday over Facebook had no choice in the matter but to revoke Google’s as well or else be seen as playing favourites.

The Screenwise Meter app offered gift cards and vouchers to users that installed the app and like Facebook was tracking user data over a VPN in clear breach of Apple’s Enterprise Agreement.

LIFX bulbs appear to be riddled with security holes

The team over at Limited Results have published a paper detailing not one but three quite alarming security vulnerabilities found in their limited time with a LIFX Mini bulb.

The easily accessible hardware contains WiFi passwords in plain text, easily readable keys and no security settings at all.

The team advised LIFX of the issues in May of 2018 requesting PGP keys to detail the security issues but received no response. They then sent a report in plain email in October where the company agreed to investigate and action the issues before the would be disclosed publicly in 90 days.

LIFX have issued no statement as to the validity or fix for any issue listed as yet.

UPDATE: LIFX have responded to the research findings on their website’s privacy & security page. It states that all high & moderate issues brought to light by the Limited Results researcher have been resolved in a firmware release and that it should be applied immediately. The fix encrypts sensitive data and introduces other security measures.

For those who own the products LIFX advise changing any passwords that would’ve been stored prior to firmware patch being applied (ie. Update your WiFi password) to ensure your network’s safety.

Source: Pwn the LIFX Mini white – Limited Results

Apple revokes Facebook’s iOS enterprise distribution certificates

Tags: apple, tech

They did it, Apple has finally showed some teeth!

Facebook, developer of some of the most installed apps on all iOS devices, have had their iOS enterprise distribution certificates revoked after blatantly breaching their enterprise agreement with Apple.

Apple who’ve long campaigned as the champion of user privacy have taken action in the wake of the latest Facebook privacy scandal. Details emerged yesterday that that Facebook were installing a “research” app codenamed “Atlas” onto paid participants phones. Running since 2016 the app has the ability to collect data from any instant message app, media sent to anyone, ongoing location information and more.

Despite Facebook releasing a statement saying they would close the program after it went public yesterday Apple have taken steps to ensure they stay true to their word by revoking their method of distribution. The side effect of doing so is that all of the apps that made use of the same certificates and did not breach the agreement by being loaded onto internal staff’s devices only no longer launch.

Internally Facebook distribute apps for users to arrange travel as well, of course, early builds of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Whilst revoking the certificates doesn’t deny Facebook the ability to load apps via other methods it does make it exponentially harder for them to do it at scale.

Apple’s actions will certainly disrupt Facebook today but are far from the company’s apps being removed completely, which I fear other developers (had they done similar) would likely suffer.

A slap on the wrist it may be, it’s nice to Apple back themselves when it comes to privacy.

Disable FaceTime NOW!

The bug lets you call anyone with FaceTime, and immediately hear [and see] the audio [and video] coming from their phone — before the person on the other end has accepted or rejected the incoming call. Apple says the issue will be addressed in a software update “later this week”.

Settings > FaceTime > Disable.

Probably the worst bug (or the FBI’s favourite feature) for Apple to date.

Source: Major iPhone FaceTime bug lets you hear the audio of the person you are calling … before they pick up – 9to5Mac