• Technogaze

    Gaze into the world of consumer electronics, gadgets and technology.

    From your hard disk to the cloud, Technogaze covers smartphones, tablets, computers and everything in between. Each week we'll discuss the latest news and go in-depth on the topics that matter most.

    If it runs on silicon, it's fair game for the Technogaze crew.

Recent Posts

  • Internet of Things, Finger Reader and China v Apple

    On Technogaze this week Mark, Raena, Dave and Michael looked at China accusing Apple of threatening its National Security with the location tracking capabilities of iOS devices. Meanwhile the US has been trying to get access to emails stored on mail servers located in Dublin that contain information on the criminal activities of a US citizen.

    The FBI have looked at the future of self driving cars.  Noting how this could help them in their surveillance activities but realising that self-driving bombs were now a possibility.  They did acknowledge that there would be a significant reduction in road traffic accidents.

    Dave spoke about the Internet of Things – a topic close to his heart.  We looked at aspects of home automation, health & fitness, enthusiast access and questions about data ownership.

    Amazon released more information about it’s plans to deliver goods via drones and they also came up with a novel approach to new French laws barring online retailers from offering free delivery on books.

    The Finnish city of Helsinki is launching a pilot program to encourage its citizens to use private cars less and instead to use public transport, taxis and car sharing.  A new prototype finger reader is allowing vision impaired to listen to printed words.

     
  • 3D printed blood vessels, dumping data from phone towers, solar energy in Australia

    In today’s episode Raena, Mark and Michael discussed the latest in tech including 3D printing blood vessels, and military equipment.  A New Zealand ISP has commenced offering a cloaking service – where customers can avoid geo-blocks on popular U.S. services like Hulu and Netflix.

    Russia’s been at it again, this time with laws passing their lower house of Parliament that require all data for Russian citizens to be stored on Russian soil.  Local Australian authorities have been accessing mobile phone tower data without any judicial oversight, and Facebook’s social experimentation is a little bit more prevalent than what we first thought.

    Contraception meets technology as well, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding research into an implant enabling women to choose when the slow release hormonal treatment is released.  We also discussed how solar energy may actually be the solution to Australia’s power consumption problems.

     

     
  • Solar Power in Germany, Cyberbullying setback in NY State, Facebook Experiments on us and Google IO in Detail

    Raena, Mark & Michael looked an an amazing achievement in Germany, where for two brief periods, half of its electricity requirements were derived from solar power. Meanwhile chip maker Adesto is hoping to be at the forefront of the Internet of Things with its new non-volatile memory chips that use up to 100 times less power than flash memory.  With such low power requirements these chips could power themselves by harnessing the energy from simple movement.

    Depending on your perspective, Free Speech took a battering in New York State, where an individuals right to be protected from Cyberbullying has been removed.  This happened after its highest court struck down Anti-cyberbullying laws, introduced in 2010, stating that these laws encroached on First Amendment rights to Free Speech.

    Facebook revealed that it conducted a mass mood manipulation experiment on 700,000 unsuspecting users.  It promoted negative or positive items in users news feeds to see what impact it had on a users mood.  It measured mood by looking at the content of subsequent posts.  Some Governments are looking into the legality of this experiment, but by in large the feedback from FB users was – underwhelming.

    More tinfoil revelations that the NSA is targeting subversives that search about details on the TOR network or who visit a popular Linux Journal online.  TOR was designed to allow internet users anonymous access and ironically was initially sponsored by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

    Bitcoin was legalised in the state of California with the repeal of a law that restricted trading to US Dollars only and in Australia, the ATO is still mulling over the tax status of the currency.  Whether it is classified as money or goods will have a profound impact on businesses trading in bitcoin and the delay in classification is potentially increasing risk for these traders.

    Jason joined us on the phone to give us a detailed look into Google I/O.  Android Wear, the new version of Android designed for wearable devices, was a large focus of the event.  Three watches will initially support this new version of Android with a lot of excitement around the Moto 360, the watch with the round screen.  Android Auto was announced as a means of integrating a cars display with your Android phone.  Using the processing power of the phone and casting the display to the car screen, local gestures on that screen will be sent back to the phone. Minimising the work that the in-car device has to do, will future protect it as people will change their phones more often than they change their cars.

    If you wanted an Oculus Rift, but find it hard to justify the cost, then Google Cardboard may be just what you were looking for.

     
  • My Ex Boyfriend The Space Tyrant gets green lit, Google IO, 25 years of the Internet in Australia

    In this episode, Mark, Raena, and Josh were joined by special guest Luke Miller.  Luke’s game “My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant” has been green-lit on Valve’s social gaming platform Steam.  This occurred after what could be described as an arduous year-long journey, where gamers’ comments, both good and bad, shone a light on the issues gay content presents in the gaming world. With Luke’s insight, we talked more broadly on Internet commenting, with extreme examples like this one.

    Google IO happened, and we discussed some of the stats and Android use presented in the keynote, and we touched on some of the new tech Google are looking to introduce on the Android platform.

    And finally we discussed what not to do in your victims home if you are a burglar.

     
  • The Aus govt going after pirates, price gouging in tech, Iran makes Facebook illegal

    In this episode, Michael, Mark, and Raena talked about recent revelations that the use of Facebook is now illegal in Iran.  We talked about the possibility of finally having mobile coverage in the Melbourne City Loop, and the use of drones to spy on sports tactics in the World Cup.

    In Aussie politics, we discussed the zombie policy of going after Australian copyright infringers, being brought back to life by the Attorney General George Brandis.  And big media is crying foul, pushing back on the prospect of legislating against increased pricing for digital product delivery, threatening to leave the country if such laws are put into place.

    Further research into teleportation is taking place, with some interesting outcomes, progressing us closer and closer to a world where we’ll one day be able to truly say “beam me up, Scotty”.

     
  • Supercritical solar power, Firefox phones, iPhone phishing, Dronies and Google tells you where to get off

    In this episode Mark, Raena, Johnny and Michael looked at the death of the Nokia brand as Microsoft fulfils its acquisition obligations and progressively drops the name Nokia from mobile devices.

    In more mobile news, we learnt that Apple is decreasing the likelihood of your device being tracked, with some interesting changes in iOS8 and how the software discovers wireless access points. Mozilla believes its $25 Firefox smartphones will be popular in Indonesia and India and Google Now tells you when to get off your train or bus – in some cities.

    Green tech was making the news with CSIRO claiming a world first in the use of solar mirror farms to create supercritical steam to generate power that could compete with coal and gas powered plants.  The tiny island of Annobon off the west coast of Africa is going 100% solar with panels on the island feeding battery cells to provide solar power around the clock.

    The Electronics Entertainment Expo, E3, was on last week with new game announcements and the re-release of some old favorites.  Halo 1-4 has been remastered with new graphics and a teaser for the upcoming Halo 5.  Splattoon, Sunset Overdrive and Dragon Age Inquisition had Raena and Johnny thinking about their Christmas wish lists.

    Two people thought responsible for the recent iPhone hijacking and subsequent ransom demands have been arrested.  It is now thought that social engineering techniques were used to obtain iCloud usernames and passwords.

    If you thought that selfies were the ultimate in capturing the real you, then you may have to have a rethink as dronies start to invade.

     
  • Apple WWDC round-up, China blocks Tiananmen searches, the CIA joins twitter

    Today Raena, Mark, and Michael discussed the latest in tech news, including the AFP collaborating with overseas agencies in breaking botnet rings, the Tasmanian Police are moving to mobile devices to enable paperless police cars, and Google has commenced fulfilling their obligations under EU law to enable citizens the “right to be forgotten”.

    Apple’s WWDC kicked off last week, and the seasonal fruit picking commenced with all the new goodies announced for the keynote.  Not least of which: tools for Apple developers to do home automation, enabling health information to be aggregated together on Apple devices, a new programming language called Swift, and a cool new feature called “Handoff” – to allow you to seamlessly swap from one form factor device to another.

    China popped their head into the IT news this week with their continued suppression of information about Tiananmen Square, with no let-up for the 25th anniversary of the massacre. China will also embark on their own OS, declaring that Windows 8 is insecure, and raising concerns that they do not have access to the source code; and the new OS will be Ubuntu Linux.

    And finally what may or may not be: the CIA’s first tweet.

     
  • Radiothon 2014, Koala cars, iPhone hijacking, Laser phones and Chromecast

    This week we had a very special Radiothon 2014 episode with Mark, Raena, Jason and Michael.  We chatted with our support admin volunteer Moshin about ‘That’s so JOY’ and what it means to him.

    On the tech side we looked at Google’s latest Koala car – well their prototype driverless cars (or is that driverless horseless carriages?) that is basically a box with two seats – no pedals, mirrors or steering wheel.  Google Chromecast finaly arrives in Australia and you can smarten up your TV to see videos, share your browser window and view photos.

    Hackers have taken advantage of Apple’s find my phone feature by hijacking some users iPhones.  Although unconfirmed, it would appear that they are taking advantage of people reusing passwords across multiple sites to lock the phone, demanding cash to make it usable again.  Please ensure that you don’t reuse passwords on different sites to minimise this type of hack.  Apple is also set to release its Smart Home platform at this weeks WWDC conference and there is confirmaiton that it has bought Beats Music & Electronics for $3billion USD in cash and stock swap.

    LG have released a new phone that uses lasers to get the camera to focus to give almost instantaneous response to its massive 13 megapixel resolution.  And buttons seem to be the rage with smarphone case maker Cliq seeking funding for configurable buttons on their case that don’t require battery power.

     
  • Catfishing, Complimentary Router Upgrades, Driverless Cars and Smart Roads

    Raena, Johnny and Michael were driving the Technogaze bus this week, looking at all things Tech.  eBay’s recent announcement of their hacked user database three months ago caught our eye with eBay advising all users to change their passwords.  Although no known attacks have occurred following the theft of the encrypted password database, it is another reminder not to use the same password across all your accounts.

    The Tailored Access Operations unit in the NSA has been providing free upgrades to some lucky router and server owners.  Intercepting packages from the manufacturer and then upgrading them with additional firmware – at no extra cost – is just part of the service.  Meanwhile, the NSA has been recording all mobile phone calls in the Bahamas as part of a piggy back operation lead by the DEA to capture drug traffickers and dealers.

    Catfishing is where someone pretends to be someone other than themselves to lure you to hand over money or for some other nefarious purpose.  Johnny, a catfishing victim himself, talked about techniques being used and how to find out whether you are being catfished or not.

    Driverless cars excited the whole team and we posed the question as to what an intelligent car would do should it be confronted the choice of saving your life as a passenger or several other lives in another car.  Asimov’s 3 laws of Robotics immediately sprung to mind:

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    Continuing on the automotive theme, we looked at Tesla’s foray into the Australian market and an exciting crowd-funding project that looks to put specially designed glass solar panels on roads, complete with computers and LEDs.  Harnessing the sun’s energy during the day, these smart roads can provide intelligent traffic management systems by indicating closed lanes dynamically and providing power back into the grid.

     
  • Heartbleed continues, Budget woes, Spy planes & drones, Bitcoin goes to University and iOS8 beside itself

    The beautiful Autumn weather didn’t stop RaenaMark Michael from gazing into the world of consumer electronics, gadgets, technology.

    Heartbleed continues to draw blood as some companies have SSL certificates reissued with the same key as their previously compromised certificate, negating the benefit of changing the certificate.  The recent budget ,although positive for medical research, was detrimental for a number of other industries – in particular gaming.  Luke Miller joined us on the phone to talk about the impact on the local gaming industry.

    The U2 spy plane has caused a ripple yet again, this time in US airspace as LAX and other airport flights were shut down for a number of hours over air traffic control issues.  Flying at a much lower altitude, the latest lightweight drone from French manufacturer Parrot sports a high resolution stabilised camera and an extended wifi coverage of 2km, albeit with a 12 minute battery life.  This new drone is controllable by an Oculus Rift VR headset.

    The Norwegian Army is also testingthe Oculus Rift to control armored vehicles to provide enhanced visibility for those times when the hatches are battened down.

    Bitcoin goes to University – a new MIT research project is providing MIT students with $100 in bitcoin to see how the peer-to-peer electronic payment system can be used in the University ecosystem where all members have easy access to it. Researchers are hoping that new and innovative payment practices may emerge that can be applied to other currencies or as a way to make bitcoin more readily accepted.

    Apple iOS 8 is expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2014 later this year and rumor has it that side-by-side apps will be supported on iPad.  Microsoft Surface and Samsung Android already support this feature and Apple may finally catch up on this front.  Larger screen iPhones with higher resolution are also on the cards.

    If you sometimes feel inundated with meaningless tweets, then Twitter’s latest feature roll out may be for you.  This allows you to mute or turnoff tweets (anonymously) from people you have followed, but your tweets will still reach them.

    Nostalgia reigned supreme for children of the mid-eighties when we looked at a new Acorn BBC Micro emulator from developer Matt Godbolt

     
 
 
 

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