Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 295

Show 295 – July 30, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael


Aussie Tech Heads Domains


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Apple Pay and tap and go payments have now replaced the Opal Card in NSW, without incurring extra fees.

You can now tap on and off your bus or train and get your bonuses like cheaper bus travel after getting off a train.  Also there won’t be any fees added on which has been the case for the last few months I believe.



Story 2

Apple receives two Emmy nominations for ‘Shot on iPhone’ and ‘Behind the Mac’ ad campaigns

9TO5Mac c/- Apple News tells us ~ The 71st annual Emmy Awards are coming up in September and nominations have been announced today. Two of Apple’s ads, both made with the TBWA ad agency, have been nominated for Outstanding Commercial 2019.

This year, the Emmys will be held on September 22. The news about nominations was announced on the Television Academy’s Emmys website. Apple’s two nominees for Outstanding Commercial are for Behind The Mac — Make Something Wonderful and Shot on iPhone XS — Don’t Mess With Mother.

There are only five commercials up for the award, so Apple receiving two nominations is impressive. The Mac and iPhone ads will be going up against commercials from Nike and Netflix.

Shot on iPhone XS — Don’t Mess With Mother is a minute-long ad featuring amazing shots of nature, wildlife, and insects from the latest iPhone flagship. It features “Last Rites” by Megadeth as the soundtrack.

Behind The Mac — Make Something Wonderful is another one-minute commercial that highlights people of all ages, including many famous creators, using their Macs in candid shots. The ad is done in black and white and features the song “Shy” by Hauschka.

Also James Corden has 5 nominations 4 being for: Short Form Variety Series for Carpool Karaoke: The Series, Writing for a Variety Special for Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live from Liverpool, Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within An Unscripted Program for The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019, and Interactive Program for The Late Late Show with James Corden


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Story 3 – Pic

Video shows why Apple doesn’t allow in-store replacement of swollen batteries

Ben Lovejoy – Jul. 26th 2019 5:50 am UTC

Again, 9TO5Mac c/- Apple News tells us ~ Apple carries out a number of iPhone repairs in-store these days, but there is one fault that stores are forbidden from touching, and that’s swollen batteries.

There’s just too high a risk that these will be accidentally punctured during disassembly or removal, and a video of a DIY attempt at replacing a swollen battery in an iPhone 5s provides a graphic illustration of this…

Reddit user tryagainin47seconds posted a video of a coworker attempting to dismantle an iPhone, which burst into flames. The most likely explanation is that the man punctured the battery.

The battery itself appears to have been third-party.

The man then stamps on the phone to extinguish the flames. While it worked on this occasion, that too is an incredibly risky thing to do. Lithium-ion battery fires burn fiercely at extremely high temperatures, and a very likely outcome is that it would simply burn through a shoe. Such fires are short-lived, so it may have burned itself out rather than been extinguished by stamping on it.

Another Redditor commented on this.

The fumes from lithium-ion fires are another hazard, so all told, you don’t want to go anywhere near messing with a swollen battery.

Although lithium-ion battery fires are rare (unless you bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 7), the sheer number of devices in use means that even a tiny percentage will result in a handful of fires each year.

The most recent example was an iPhone 6 owned by an 11-year-old girl that caught fire.

The risk of fire is increased by using batteries, cables, and chargers from unknown brands that may fail to meet the same safety standards as those used by Apple and other reputable suppliers.


Story 4 ~ Pics

Our Gaming Section

# Fortnite players on iOS bag 1,000 free V-Bucks for update bug ~ Pic

Cult of Mac tells us ~ Fortnite players on iOS have been gifted 1,000 V-Bucks by Epic Games as an apology for a recent bug.

Fans were unable to play the game after the recent 9.40.1 patch introduced a big glitch. The only fix initially was to delete Fortnite and reinstall gigabytes of data all over again.

The bug meant many Fortnite fans were unable to log into the game on iOS — and those who could experienced system crashes. Rather than rolling out another fix, Epic asked players to reinstall.

Another patch, version 9.40.2, was rolled out on iOS eventually. But by then frequent players had already gone through the trouble of downloading the game again.

Epic is now saying sorry with free V-Bucks and Battle Stars.

Grab your free V-Bucks today

“We apologise for the recent error you experienced with the v9.40.1 patch,” reads a message that greets players on iOS today. “Here are 15 Battle Stars and 1,000 V-Bucks as a gift to help make up for that.”

That’s a pretty generous gift when you consider that 1,000 V-Bucks would normally cost you $9.99 — or $12.99 if you buy them through the App Store. And Epic doesn’t give away free V-Bucks very often.

But not everyone gets them.

Some players will miss out

Epic is only awarding the freebies to iOS users who were affected by the 9.40.1 bug. So if you didn’t attempt to play Fortnite on iPhone or iPad before the issue was fixed, you’ll miss out.

To find out if you’re eligible, simply log into Fortnite on iOS today.

##  Team Rocket to Invade All Pokemon Go PokeStops This Weekend

Team Rocket will be taking over all of Pokemon Go’s PokeStops this weekend. Earlier this weekend, Team Rocket briefly took over Pokemon Go’s Twitter and YouTube account to tease an announcement for today. While players hoped that the tease might lead to Giovanni appearing in Pokemon Go as the game’s new antagonist, Team Rocket instead announced that they would take over all PokeStops from 4 PM to 5 PM local time. During this one hour mini-event, players can battle Team Rocket Grunts and capture Shadow Pokemon from any PokeStop.

Team Rocket Grunts have Pokemon that scale in difficulty based on the Level of the trainer they’re facing, so high level players will need to have a Master League team prepared before they start battling. Type effectiveness is also important, so players should make sure they have the right counters to use against a Team Rocket Grunt’s Shadow Pokemon.

Based on how aggressively Pokemon Go has pushed Team Rocket’s arrival, it looks like the villainous team is here to stay. The only question is whether players can just expect Team Rocket to periodically appear at PokeStops, or if they have some sort of bigger scheme in mind.

The Team Rocket Takeover occurs from 4 PM to 5 PM local time. Be sure to find an area with lots of PokeStops if you want to maximise your chances of capturing Shadow Pokemon.

### Forntite World Cup

A 16-year-old just won $3M playing in the Fortnite World Cup ~ Pic

CNet reported ~ More than 2 million people watched the best in the world compete for big money.

Battle royale game Fortnite has become a phenomenon. The free video game from developer Epic Games has generated billions of dollars and become an obsession for gamers of all ages. That surge in popularity has brought Fortnite tournaments for eager esports gamers to watch and compete in. The biggest of them all is the Fortnite World Cup, and the one who took it all on Sunday was Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.

The Fortnite World Cup Finals, with a $30 million prize pool, took place July 26 to 28 in New York City at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Who won the Fortnite World Cup

Sunday was the last day of the event and it was all about the solo tournament. Players from all across the globe who qualified in smaller tournaments competed, and it was 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf who won the $3 million first-place prize and the title of the best Fortnite player in the world.

Giersdorf started the day strong, winning the first of six games. In the next five games, he continued to place high and accumulate more eliminations, giving him the point lead. He kept the top spot throughout the day and had a commanding lead in the last game, where it seemed almost impossible for him to lose.

Twitch tracking site Githyp estimated 1.3 million people watched the Sunday finals via the video game streaming site. On YouTube, there were half a million tuning in for the event. There were also viewers on Microsoft’s streaming service Mixer, and players were able to watch the finals while playing Fortnite thanks to a new service from Epic.

Saturday was the duos tournament, and the European team of Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “Aqua” W. took the championship, winning $3 million. The players won two of the six games giving them the most points among the 50 teams competing.

Story 5

‘WannaCry hero’ Marcus Hutchins sentenced to supervised release

Engadget reports c/-Apple News ~ Marcus Hutchins’ efforts to stop the spread of WannaCry malware just helped him avoid prison time.  Judge JP Stadtmueller has sentenced Hutchins to a year of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to creating and distributing Kronos banking malware.  He was a teen when he committed the offenses, according to the judge, and he was “turning a corner” before he faced charges.  Hutchins acknowledged that he’d made “bad decisions” and that he had “no desire” to slip back into a life of online crime.

There could still be serious consequences.  Although Hutchins has been living in Los Angeles since the charges came to pass, Stadtmueller warned that the sentence will likely prevent the security researcher from re-entering the US.

This isn’t likely to satisfy people who argued Hutchins should avoid any punishment given his efforts.  It’s still good news for him, though, and may help the security industry at large.  On top of snapping up the kill switch domain that halted WannaCry, Hutchins has also conducted important research on botnets and malware infections.  He even livestreams some efforts to show how you can reverse-engineer malware and develop effective counters.  Those efforts will continue now that Hutchins is effectively free, even if there are conditions attached.


Story 6

What Happens When Our Smart Homes Enforce Moral Values?

Forbes c/- Apple News gives us some serious thinking to do ~ Discussions of censorship and content moderation tend to focus on the online world, especially the ways in which social media platforms decide what their users are permitted to see and say. Yet as our homes become increasingly digital and internet-connected, with everything from toasters to thermostats being connected to remote cloud services that control them, what happens as those devices increasingly come with terms of service that enforce certain moral values and permit their deactivation at the whim of their manufacturer?

After all, if Microsoft can terminate our use of Office 365 and stop us from logging into our Windows devices all  because we posted a pro-women’s rights document online in a country where such speech is illegal, how long will it be before our thermostat makes us endure 100F heat as retaliation for posting a negative online review about its manufacturer?

When it comes to the dangers of smart home devices, the public and policymaker focus has been almost exclusively on privacy concerns and cyber vulnerabilities. The idea of device manufacturers deliberately manipulating their devices to enforce corporate moral values is not even on the horizon of most of our societal conversations.

Yet if Microsoft is willing to define a set of acceptable speech guidelines for Office 365 that mean a Word document it disagrees with can lead to a user being permanently banned from both Office 365 and their Windows Account that logs them into their computer, how long will it be before other device manufacturers build such moral values into their own products?

Initially such rights are likely to come in the boilerplate legalese companies build into their product user agreements to mitigate their legal liabilities when things go wrong with their products. Yet once those rights are in place, there is nothing to stop companies from leveraging those rights for more nefarious purposes.

Much as Facebook attempted to restrict the use of its platform to criticise its business practices due to a disagreement over the use of its logo, so too could companies restrict the use of their products by those who criticise them.

Take the example of a user who posts a negative online review after their toaster breaks down one day after its warranty expires. A manufacturer whose terms of service bans negative posts about the company could easily retaliate by disabling the user’s others products from that manufacturer, potentially disabling their entire kitchen and holding their ability to cook hostage until they delete the negative post. In some jurisdictions this entire process might be absolutely legal.

What about an air conditioning company that wants to combat climate change? During heat waves it could remotely throttle the cooling of its units to reduce energy usage. Local governments might also collaborate with the company to enforce cooling restrictions during particularly hot days.

What happens when an elderly relative with a medical condition visits a home whose air conditioner is remotely turned off by the manufacturer to be “greener” during a heat wave and leads to their death? Could the company be charged with murder?

What about a city that remotely disables all televisions, speakers and other loud devices and sets all phone volumes to minimum after 8PM to enforce noise ordinances or disables all kitchen appliances from 7PM to 5AM to combat obesity?

What happens when our smartphone manufacturer decides we’re spending too much time on our screen instead of with our children so it turns off our phone for an hour or an oven that senses that we’re about to cook a pie that contains a high amount of sugar so refuses to cook it?

What about a social media platform that contracts with phone and television manufacturers to automatically turn off users’ devices to enforce a one-hour timeout for each “fake news” post they make on social media?

Conversely, what about a company that rejects the idea of climate change and penalises users who discuss climate change online by holding their washing machine hostage or turning down their thermostat in the middle of winter?

Imagine a government that wishes to silence its critics without impacting the rest of society. Power and internet outages affect all aspects of society indiscriminately and thus cannot be enforced for long stretches of time.

Instead, imagine if a repressive government could use a lawful court order to turn its nation’s devices against their users. Any social media post criticising the government would result in an automatic outage of all internet service to that user for 24 hours. A second offence might result in the user’s television and lights being turned off the for an entire day, or outages of other basic household devices.

While all of these examples might seem absurd today, they represent the logical extension of devices that are increasingly imbued with moral values remotely enforced by their manufacturers through their internet connectivity.

Moreover, they represent extensions of existing government behaviour across the world, but leveraging internet connectivity to automate what today is often a largely manual process, enabling its extension to an entire nation.

Putting this all together, as our smart homes are increasingly filled with internet-connected devices that can be remotely disabled and modified by their manufacturers, governments and companies will increasingly seek to leverage that power to coerce their populations into behaviours that align with their corporate and political values.

Governments are likely to lead the way, turning to such devices first to intervene during weather or power emergencies, but later to maintain order during protests. Even within the United States it is not hard to imagine local governments utilising court orders to mass disable phones, televisions, lights and other devices block by block to disperse protests with pinpoint precision.


Story 7

The Winners of the 12th Annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced.

The Washington Post reports ~ Selected from thousands of entries from more than 140 countries.

When the iPhone Photography Awards were launched in 2007, photo-capable telephones were still in their infancy — with very low resolution and heavy pixelation. That was the time when stylised filters were commonplace, and the idea of a professional photographer using an iPhone was considered a faux pas.

A lot has changed since then, and as this year’s winners in the iPhone Photography Awards show, the quality of images has come a long way. Kenan Aktulun, who created the awards, agreed: “This year’s entries come from a very personal place, with less technical experimentation and more focus on moments, emotions and stories,” he told In Sight.


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Story 8 – Pic

Australia Post a ‘trusted’ service provider for government identification

ZDNet tells ~ Australia Post’s digital identification service has been accredited by the federal government under its Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), giving the postal service the “trusted identity service provider” status as a result.

The government-owned entity had announced in May 2017 it wanted to create the federal government’s digital identity platform, saying at the time it would team up with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to create a proof of concept that integrates its ID system with the Commonwealth’s Digital Identity Framework.

Former Australia Post managing director and group CEO Ahmed Fahour said previously that he believed an identity solution, like Digital ID, would unlock significant benefits for everyday Australians interacting with government processes.

The remarks followed the postal service detailing its plan to run elections using blockchain-based technology.

The Australia Post Digital ID is the second identity provider to be accredited, with the federal government’s myGovID being the first.

“The introduction of Australia Post as a second identity provider into the digital identity system is one of the foundational steps needed for the system to develop into a true whole of economy solution,” Robert said.

Providing Australians with choice and control of who they share identity information with was one of the recommendations of the Financial Services Inquiry that we have delivered on,” he added.

The Australia Post Digital ID was officially launched in 2017. There are a handful of services that accept the identification platform, such as, Coinjar, Airtasker, and Credit Union Australia.

Australia Post’s Digital ID is currently approved for use in Victoria, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory.

In Victoria, locals are able to use the Digital ID as a proof-of-age card to enter a pub, using an on-screen animation that prevents replication and creates a temporary QR code that can be scanned to verify age.

People in the Northern Territory cannot use it to purchase takeaway alcohol, however.

Speaking at the Technology in Government conference in Canberra, Australia Post Digital ID general manager and founder Cameron Gough said the organisation was looking at bringing “real-world” ways people identify one another into a digital context — like LinkedIn.


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