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

Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite is now completely waterproof

Tags: tech

 

New Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The thinnest, lightest Kindle Paperwhite yet.

Naturally Amazon would release a new Kindle Paperwhite just weeks after I’d purchased a new one. It’s more expensive though so there’s some slight relief there… I guess?

Thinner (by 1mm) and now completely waterproof it retains the same “paperwhite” 300 ppi 6″ touchscreen as its predecessor. It does blur the lines between itself at Amazon’s flagship reader “Oasis” which now only differs through its design and physical buttons for page turning.

Available immediately the new Paperwhite is available in three versions:

  • 8GB Wi-Fi – A$199
  • 32GB Wi-Fi – A$249
  • 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE – A$369

Source: All-new Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof with twice the Storage (8GB) – Amazon AU

There’s a new, confusing, tiny Palm phone out today

…it’s a tiny phone to keep you from using your big phone, but it could do all the things your big one can do if you wanted (but you shouldn’t because the whole idea is to get you to be a little less obsessed with your phone). It’s like a phone for your phone.

First of all, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Palm of old beyond the name printed on the back of the phone.

Second, it’s limited to Verizon customers in the US only at this stage, and sold as an add-on to an existing phone plan. Kind of like having a cellular version of the Apple Watch is here in Aus.

Third, it’s a smaller smartphone with weaker internals that lead to a terrible user-experience that’s for some reason supposed to encourage you to detach from your normal phone more.

I’m not sure they’ve got the marketing tact right on this one. I’d much rather invest in a Lite Phone to have for when I’m out running or at a festival or going out. The new Palm phone is just kinda weird. Good luck selling these at US$349 a pop!

Source: The new Palm is a tiny phone to keep you away from your phone – The Verge

A malicious message is bricking PS4s

Tags: gaming

Numerous PS4 owners on Reddit and across social media are warning of a message containing a string of characters that can reportedly cause Sony’s console to seize up and crash

Like the iPhone iMessage bug not long ago this latest occurrence of “messaging gone wild” sees users PS4s crash and in some cases brick due to the console freaking out over its contents.

Suggestions from the community, as Sony haven’t really said much about it yet, are to enable private messaging only – so only your friends can message you and deleting any messages received via the PSN companion app and not touching messages on your PlayStation.

Source: PlayStation 4 reportedly crashing due to malicious message – The Verge

PlayStation will finally let you change that ridiculous PSN name

Tags: gaming, tech

We’re happy to announce that we will soon begin testing the long-awaited feature that will allow users to change their PlayStation Network Online ID from their PlayStation 4 system.

In what is apparently a task tantamount to Moses parting the sea, Sony have officially announced that changing your ill-selected PlayStation Network name will finally be an option.

The name change will be rolling out to PS’s preview program participants over the next month and is expected to have a full release early in 2019.

A single change will be cost free but don’t be too flippant, subsequent changes will set you back US$5 if you’re a PS+ member or US$10 if you aren’t.

Say bye bye “Brownian“!

Source: PSN Online ID Change Feature Entering PlayStation Preview Program Soon – PlayStation.Blog

A Slate, a Hub & a Pixel. Google unveils its latest lineup

Tags: tech

Google’s worst kept secret, the Pixel 3, was finally unveiled last night. With literally every single spec and aspect of the new smartphone already “leaked” there’s not much for me to tell you that you don’t already know.

Both the standard and XL versions include a Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM, Bluetooth 5.0 and come with your choice of either 64GB or 128GB of storage. The XL has a bigger 6.3″ OLED over the smaller’s 5.3″ as well as upgraded optics in the phone’s camera and dual lenses on the front for “wide angle group selfies”.

Available in 3 colours (white, pink & blank) the Pixel 3 & 3 XL can be pre-ordered from the Google Store now and are expected to be delivered November 1st.

  • Pixel 3 64GB – A$1,199
  • Pixel 3 128GB – A$1,349
  • Pixel 3 XL 64GB – A$1,349
  • Pixel 3 XL 128GB – A$1,499

 


The Google Home Hub is the company’s version of Amazon’s now YouTube-gimped Echo Show. A 7″ screen complimented Google Home Mini the new Hub is designed to sit in a room like your bedroom or kitchen and bring both a voice assistant and visual display into your life.

What it’s note is a video calling or conferencing tool. Unlike it’s competitors the Hub has no cameras meaning that it’s cheaper but also less useful than others.

The Hub also ushers in a new “Home View” feature for Google that is a brief overview of your home and the connected smart devices you have available within the Google ecosystem.

Available October 22nd the new Google Home Hub will retail for $219 AUD.


Lastly Google are getting into the tablet business. The Google Slate is a 12.3″ 3000 x 2000 pixels “molecular display”, which is their equivalent of Apple’s retina.

The Slate is decked out with an Intel provided CPU and aims to directly compete with Microsoft’s Surface and somewhat with Apple’s iPad Pro. That big downside for Slate is it’s natural reliance on Chrome OS, which despite its classroom appeal suffers greatly in the big, bad world of productivity.

Pricing starts at US$599 for the base m3 CPU 4GB RAM & 32GB SSD up to US$1,599 for the i7, 16GB RAM & 256GB version. There’s also a keyboard attachment for US$199 and a stylus for US$99 to round out the offering.

Don’t get too excited though, Australia’s missing out on the Slate, it’s getting a release in the US, Canada & UK later this year with no word on availability down under.

Microsoft unveils ‘Project xCloud’ & screams “We’ve got streaming games too!”

Tags: gaming, tech

Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using. Project xCloud’s state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device…

Hot off the heels of Google’s Project Stream announcement last week Microsoft have come to the party, probably earlier than they’d have liked, in unveiling their game streaming solution “Project xCloud”.

Although the service was eluded to back at E3 in June of this year many believed it was to be fleshed out and announced in full at an Xbox event in Mexico City next month. Google I’m guessing have forced their hand.

Microsoft’s announcement focuses more on the hardware behind their service, which coincidentally has no delivery date or pricing or user specs at this point.

The company has essentially broken down an Xbox One S into its bare components and shoved as many as possible into a server mounted blade that will be the workhorse behind their streaming solution.

xCloud will be playable on a phone, tablet, computer or any MS approved device that will tap into their upcoming service. Control can be done either via a Bluetooth connected Xbox controller or via touch – but lets be honest, that’ll suck for the most part.

There are more questions than answers in Microsoft’s announcement and users aren’t able to try it out like they can Project Stream (if you’re in the US) but the one encouraging thing you can take away from their announcement video is that it will reportedly work over a 4G connection. That means even in Australia with our shitty, shitty internet it may be a possibility. Big emphasis on “MAY”.

Source: Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the center – The Official Microsoft Blog

Facebook’s “Portal” is the videophone of your nightmares

Tags: tech

Facebook has created a new way to videochat with your Facebook friends. It’s not an app, nor is it some awkward virtual-reality playpen. It’s a device called Portal, and it’s meant to sit in your living room and serve as a two-way conduit for conversations with faraway friends and family.

The company that invades your life in every way is today asking you to stick a stationary camera in your living room and pay for the pleasure.

I can only assume this is meant for people who A) have no concern for the privacy what-so-ever and B) don’t own a smartphone.

The Portal is available in two varieties, a larger 1080p version for US$349 and a smaller 720p for US$199. Both have AI built-in that Facebook claims is self-contained and does not send data back to the mothership that utilising the 140 degree camera can track the caller as you get up and walk around the room, zoomed in on the user.

While Facebook are hardly the first to bring a device like this to market, Amazon’s Echos do a similar thing, they are the ones I’m least likely to allow into my living room giving their practices and continual user data issues.

Source: Facebook Portal: Price, Specs, Release Date | WIRED

The LG V40 ThinQ smartphone has 5 cameras because why not?

In total, the V40 has five different cameras: three on the back, and two on the front, which give its camera system a level of versatility that other phones don’t offer. It’s not only an upgrade in the camera quality, it’s an upgrade in what you can actually capture with your phone’s camera.

Beside the 5 camera gimmick… yeah you heard me “gimmick” I said, the LG V40 introduces a new, larger battery (3,300mAh), solid 6.4″ OLED screen with thinner bezels than both the Note 9 & iPhone Xs Max.

Spec wise it’s got 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage  and comes with the pretty stock standard SnapDragon 845 CPU.

All in all it looks like a pretty solid effort from LG. The bigger issue is how slow they are with updates, which puts me off a bit.

Source: LG V40 ThinQ review: five cameras to change your perspective – The Verge

China hardware attack infiltrates over 30 US companies

Image: Bloomberg Businessweek

The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

The Bloomberg Businessweek report claims a tiny chip, smaller than the head of a pencil, was added to hardware manufactured in China by the US owned Super Micro Computer Inc.

The compromised hardware was then installed in systems used by large corporations such as Apple, Amazon and government contractors within the US leaving them open & vulnerable.

Apple & Amazon vehemently deny the report and refute that either of them contacted the FBI when the added chip was discovered.

Whilst Bloomberg have reported there’s no direct evidence that any data has been obtained through the addition of these malicious chips the full extent of exactly what they were doing and what has been extracted because of it may take years to come to light.

Definitely worth the read!

Source: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – Bloomberg

Microsoft announce new noise-cancelling Surface Headphones 

On the train or in the air, your music and calls sound spectacular on new Surface Headphones. With intuitive controls and active noise cancellation, listen in comfort and style all day.

Today’s Surface event was chock full of new details and updates on Microsoft’s Surface lineup but beyond making them black it’s largely just a spec bump and not that interesting.

What is interesting is the announcement of a new product for the company: Surface Headphones.

Apparently in development for 3 years the Surface Headphones have been developed to directly compete against the likes of Bose & the current king of the noise-cancelling mountain, Sony.

They have some interesting features akin to Sony such as  touch controls, a solid 15 hours of battery when used wirelessly and an app for customising your sound experience. Where they differ is in the precision control of the noise-cancelling level offering the ability to dial it up or down as much as you like.

Sadly they’re only going to be available in the US leading up to the holiday period and are retailing for US$399 – that’s a good A$600 here so hardly cheap!

The Verge were at the event and have a quick hands-on if you’re interesting in finding out more here.

Source: Meet the New Surface Headphones – The Smarter Way to Listen – Microsoft Surface