Wednesday, 16 June, 2021
Power to enforce cybersecurity: The Australian Signals Directorate, our national spy agency, wants to see laws introduced to compel organisations to cooperate in the event of a hack or ransomware attack, after a recent incident saw a company refuse assistance and ultimately become reinfected within months of the first attack. ASD Director-General Rachel Noble told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security that the unspecified incident was a nationally-known case with a nationally-known company that had serious implications, but even two weeks into the incident they would only take general advice from the ASD. Noble believes improved legislation would give them power to demand better cybersecurity standards in the corporate world, halting weak attacks so that the government only has to worry about high level threats.
Amazon versus TWU: Australia’s transport union has accused Amazon of firing delivery drivers who spoke with union officials during a site inspection, and that further site visits have had union staff refused entry. In a Senate inquiry hearing last week, the union said it believes third-party Amazon Flex contract workers now fear reprisal for any public criticism of the tech giant’s work standards or processes. The visit in question took place last year at a NSW distribution centre. Amazon told InnovationAus that it has never terminated workers in connection with speaking to a union, and that it allowed dozens of union visits to its facilities in 2020. More widely, other unions have told the inquiry they feel Amazon is engaging in anti-union behaviour, a problem widely reported in recent years when its US workers made moves to unionise.
Crop waste is the new jet fuel: A Melbourne renewable energy company, AgBioEn, is working with La Trobe University and LAB3 to run trials for turning crop waste into bio diesels and jet-fuels, as well as into soil nutrients that can be ploughed back into fields to improve future crops. The trials are set to take place through the next three to four years, with an aim to produce 150 million litres of fuel per year through the process. On the technology side, LAB3 is assisting with the development of IoT devices and drones to test and monitor crops, with data and analytics running on Azure Cloud platforms.
Design to print with Canva + Snap: Australian DIY graphic design service Canva is teaming up with another Australian company, Snap Print and Design, to offer easy access to ordering prints through its platform from local Snap franchises. Options include business cards, brochures, stickers, posters and more. It’s an interesting alternative to many other online print services that deliver from overseas or require designs to be uploaded in specific design formats that many average users may not understand, so seeing an end-to-end solution come together with such a partnership is a noteworthy option to see in the market.
Stealth Sonos speakers sound special: IKEA has officially unveiled its latest collaboration with networked speaker company Sonos, with the rather dazzling new Symfonisk wall art speakers that simply look like art but can push big sound for any room. The speakers can be hung on any wall, with a fabric cover that is available in a range of art designs to choose from, both simple and bold. Like any Sonos speaker, they can join your wider network of speakers around the home and are controlled via an app, with essential play-pause and volume controls hidden behind the frame on one edge. Sadly, the speakers are available in Europe and North America starting July 15 but will not come to Australia until 2022. US pricing was announced at $199 per speaker with alternate art options selling for $19. Locally you can buy the IKEA Symfonisk bookshelf speaker and table lamp speaker for $149 and $269 respectively.
Farewell Runaway, Seeya Ana: Two big conclusions in the esports world today, one overseas and one here at home. In Korea, one of the earliest success stories in Overwatch, Runaway, has announced it is ending its participation in all Overwatch esports – it also recently shuttered its League of Legends team, with no other teams remaining in competitive esports. Locally, Australia’s own Dota superstar Ana has announced his retirement. This is the second retirement for the 21-year-old after exiting soon after winning his second title at The International in 2019. A recent return to his old team raised hopes of a potential third title, but he says this exit is ‘for good’. He remains one of the highest esports prize earners of all-time, with estimated earnings of close to US$6M.
Nintendo brings Dread to the end of E3: Finally, E3 has wrapped up today, with the final big virtual event seeing Nintendo reveal Metroid Dread, the first 2D experience in 19 years, a Legend of Zelda Game & Watch release in time for Christmas, an Advance Wars rework for Switch, plus new Warioware, Tekken’s Kazuya coming to Super Smash Bros, and a little more teasing about the Breath of the Wild sequel coming next year.
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First came facial recognition. Now, an early form of lip-reading AI is being deployed in hospitals, power plants, public transportation, and more.
The Gardens Between has found itself in the middle of intense criticism after reselling their game on a new, ethical blockchain NFT platform.
On this day...
1904: Happy Bloomsday! A James Joyce romance leads to this date becoming the date for the action of Ulysses.
“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”
Before the standard for ‘one metre’ became defined as the time for light to travel a distance in a vacuum, what alloy was used to measure the standard unit?
Yesterday’s answer: Nostromo
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