Plus, a Victorian man arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into prison via drone
By Jason Imms on March 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm
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 Google’s appeal to the government to improve content availability in Australia, Intel’s new super-fast optical cabling, and a ridiculous new concept coming to the wearable technology market.
Google Australia tells Malcolm Turnbull that piracy is about availability and pricing
TorrentFreak has unearthed a previously unreleased statement from Google Australia’s head of public policy Iarla Flynn, showing that Google believes that Australia’s piracy problem can be reduced by focusing on content pricing and availability. In response to a request for comment from Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, Flynn states that “there is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” and encourages the Australian government to “promote new business models and a free marketplace for legal purchasing of content.” Flynn’s final point of the letter closes with “we would be disappointed if the Government decided to go down the route of overly harsh regulation to combat piracy without considering the evidence from around the world that this would likely be costly for business to implement and with little effect.”
Intel crams 64 optical fibres into a single cable capable of 800Gbps
Intel has announced that it is working on a new data interconnect cable that is capable of 800Gbps data transfer rates in each direction, a significant improvement over the current standard for fibre-optic cabling which peaks at 10Gbps. The cable will make use of a proprietary connector dubbed MXC (which doesn’t stand for anything, apparently), which is slimmer, ruggedized, and can expose up to 4 rows of 16 fibres. Don’t expect to see these cables gracing your home networks any time soon, however. Intel are aiming this new cable tech squarely at datacentres and supercomputers for the foreseeable future.
Victorian man accused of using a drone to smuggle drugs into prison
Victoria police have arrested a man accused of using a drone to smuggle drugs into a prison at Ravenhall. According to Victoria police the man was attempting to use a quadcopter to deliver a small quantity of drugs to unknown recipients within the prison. The accused has been bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 17 March, 2014, charged with possession of a drug of dependence, and attempt to commit an indictable offence. “At the end of the day, if they can throw a tennis ball over the wall with drugs in them, and with staffing levels the way they are, it’s going to be very difficult to stop these drones,” David McCaulety of the Public Service Association told the Guardian.
HeadWatch is a headset-slash-smartwatch designed to solve a problem experienced by no-one
One of the legion of problems with smartwatches is the fact that you generally can’t use them to take calls, unless you want to look like Dick Tracey and have your conversations in a very public and annoying fashion. The HeadWatch has been designed to solve this problem by including a hook that allows the user to detach the watchface and mount it to their ear to act as a Bluetooth headset. By doing this, one side of the conversation is obscured, just like a normal phone call. Unfortunately the designers of the device have been unable to solve the problem of the user looking like a person with a watchface on their ear. The HeadWatch is currently seeking funding via an Indiegogo campaign.
Raspberry Pi receives an officially supported audio card
Element14, the maker of the Raspberry Pi has announced that an officially supported audio card is on its way to the miniscule Linux-powered DIY PC. Previously, Raspberry Pi tinkerers have needed to make use of USB peripherals such as DACs to get audio in and out of the system, but the new Wolfson Audio-based card aims to miniaturise, open-up, and simplify the process by mounting directly to the Raspberry Pi via standard P5 pins. The audio card supports high-res audio up to 24-bit /192KHz, via a 3.5mm line-out, or digital S/PDIF output. Audio recording is handled by two onboard MEMS mics, a 3.5mm mic jack, and a digital S/PDIF input. The Wolfson Audio Card is now available for USD$33.