Also, statistics arising from the US launch of the PlayStation 4.
By Jason Imms on November 22, 2013 at 11:55 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of Winamp’s impending closure, reported delays to the Coalition’s NBN plans, and the ridiculous-looking Nasal Ranger olfactometer.
The llama has had enough: Winamp to shut down in December
Winamp, the ageing but popular media player will be shut down on December 20, according to an unceremonious site banner. Unable to compete with the modern competition, with their integrated storefronts and streaming services, it seems that the time of the heavily customisable local media player has come to an end. For a detailed look into Winamp’s death throes, check out the excellent ArsTechnica analysis, replete with interviews griping over AOL mismanagement, and tearful failed prophecies of success and greatness. (Update: You can reportedly still download Winamp here.)
Coalition node-based NBN rollout unlikely to start before 2015
The Coalition government’s proposed fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) solution for the National Broadband Network is unlikely to begin its rollout before 2015, an anonymous source told Technology Spectator. The FTTN network will require the installation of 50,000 to 60,000 street corner nodes across the country. According to Technology Spectator’s source, the best that NBN Co could hope to achieve is an installation rate of 200 nodes per week. Based on some simple arithmetic, the rollout could not be completed until 2021, at the earliest. The installation rate of 200 nodes per week is reportedly based on information received from British Telecom executive Mike Gavin, who recently visited Australia to advise NBN Co on their FTTN rollout.
PlayStation 4 has been released in the US: initial stats
Despite the fact that the Australian release of the PlayStation 4 is still a week away, the console has been in the hands of gamers in the US since November 15. Since the US release, numbers have started being reported on sales figures, build costs, and failure rates. Firstly, AllThingsD reports that the PS4 costs Sony $381, just $18 shy of the $399 US retail price, based on a teardown and analysis by research firm IHS. Sony has also revealed that more than one million PS4 consoles were sold during its first 24 hours of availability.
Of that one million, Sony has confirmed a less-than 1 percent failure rate, up from its original estimate of 0.4 percent. “There have been several issues reported, which leads us to believe there isn’t a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of PS4 units,” SCEA told TechRadar. “We also understand that some units were reportedly damaged during shipping. The number of affected PS4 systems is less than 1 percent, which represents a very small percentage of total units shipped to date and is within the expected range for a new product introduction.”
Removing fuel rods from Daiichi nuclear plant, Fukushima
Still recovering from the devastation wrought in Fukushima by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, workers at the Daiichi nuclear plant have undertaken the huge task of extracting radioactive fuel rods from a cooling pools inside one of the plant’s reactors. The video below gives a clear impression of the painstaking effort involved in each individual fuel rod’s extraction, a horrifying procedure when coupled with the knowledge that even a small misstep could have catastrophic ramifications. There are more than 1500 rods to be removed, with six teams of workers on two-hour rotations in an effort to reduce exposure to radiation. Each rod is removed at a rate of less than half an inch per second. Current estimates expect the project to take a full year to complete.
The Nasal Ranger is real and not a joke
Stop looking at your calendars, it definitely isn’t April 1st. Sensory testing and training company St. Croix Sensory has developed a product called the Nasal Ranger, an “olfactometer,” designed to give users the ability to determine whether or not any given odour is breaking air pollution laws. Possible uses for the device include garbage dump or industrial odour assessment, retail zoning air pollution assessment (perfumeries, coffee roasters, etc), and personal air pollution assessment for cigarettes or marijuana. The Nasal Ranger works by introducing a baseline gas into a sealed chamber, against which the user can compare an offending ambient odour fed into the chamber by the device. The user actually puts their nose into the device, and personally assesses the relative levels of odour by sniffing. It isn’t clear why the device can’t perform the assessment itself and deliver the results to a visual display, but if it did, it probably wouldn’t look anywhere near as ridiculous/amazing.