Bitdefender finds more security flaws in Intel x86
Samsung launches Apple TV for select 2018 and 2019
ITy Bytes 15 May
Sonos gets vocal with Google Assistant
Everyone loves Sonos speakers but for a very, very long time
it has been stuck with Amazon Alexa voice assistant which we know in Australia
has a very, very low take-up. The software update is said to allow concurrent
use of the two voice assistants. It won’t be in Australia until July.
We know for sure that it will support Sonos One and Beam and
we presume older Sonos products without far-field mics can be controlled via a
Google Assistant speaker. From what we can tell it should perform the full
range of Google Assistant speaker tasks including smart home commands and manage
tasks and plans. We are not sure if it supports a mixed brand multi-room speaker
This also means a mixed streaming/casting environment with
Apple Airplay 2 and Chromecast (not Amazon Fire TV) and access to its the 70+ music
streaming sources that are missing from current voice assistants.
Patrick Spence, Sonos CEO, said,
“We value freedom of choice, empowering listeners to choose what they want to listen to and how they want to control it. Adding voice, now with the Google Assistant, has made that control even easier.”
This move will ensure Sonos is at the top of the voice
assistant heap offering the widest range of streaming sources and pretty damned
Amazon Alexa gets Apple Music
Music subscribers can now access Apple Music’s 50 million songs on Amazon Alexa
an Apple Music subscription and install the skill from the Amazon Skills store.
We are not sure it supports your custom Apple Music playlists (as it does not
with Spotify) but it does support Apple Music Editors suggested playlists.
Telstra 4K TV box now ISP agnostic
Telstra no longer locks its TV streaming box to its BigPond
broadband. If you are a Telstra customer (pay for a Telstra service), you can
buy the Roku based streaming box for $216 outright and use another ISP. This
gives you access to catchup TV like iView, 7Plus, TenPlay, SBS on Demand, and 9
It also has paid subscription services like Foxtel Now,
Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, various sports channels like Kayo and more.
Telstra TV now
supports up to 4K content and includes a DBT Tuner, Dolby 7.1 support, Wi-Fi AC
dual band or Ethernet, and connects to the TV via HDMI 2.0. It is Google
Most modern 4K TVs have a range of the above ‘clients’ so
you may not need one, but it can add smart features to an older TV.
It delivers all services (apart from free-to-air TV) via the
internet so ideally, you will have NBN50 or better for 4K streaming and 60-minutes
of 4K content can consume up to 90GB. So, it is really only viable with an
unlimited NBN plan.
GadgetGuy is reviewing one now.
Telstra loyalty program – is that an oxymoron?
is a loyalty program that earns points for what you spend with Telstra. The problem
is that its points are infinitesimal – a $45 Google Home mini speaker needs
14,000 points or $1,400 spend – that is a reward of .321428571%. There are
bonus points for joining before 30 June. The rewards store is not yet open.
OK, I admit to having a current Telecommunications
Industry Ombudsman complaint about Telstra
and NBloodyN, so I am not feeling its ‘love’ at the moment. Telstra loyalty
– it should be Telstra loyalty to its long-term customers.
All personal Telstra torment aside I don’t see any downside
in joining apart from its somewhat haughty action, “When you first join the
program you will be opted in to marketing. You can later selectively
unsubscribe from marketing channels through My Account Personal Details, but
you may miss out on special offers and promotions.”
Bitdefender finds more security flaws in Intel x86 processors
Bitdefender says the new Spectre-like vulnerability can be
used by motivated hackers to leak privileged information data from an area of
the memory that hardware safeguards deem off-limits. This flaw can be weaponised
in highly targeted attacks that would normally require system-wide privileges
or a complete subversion of the operating system.
Additionally, it has an extremely large impact on cloud
service providers and multi-tenant environments, as a potentially bad neighbour
can leverage this flaw to read data belonging to other users.
The flaw requires access via a logged-in account. Intel has
been informed and is working on microcode patches.
There is nothing an end-user can do at this time – just wait
for patches. It is a concern to large scale enterprise and cloud server farms.
Samsung launches Apple TV for select 2018 and 2019 Smart
Australia has released the new Apple TV App and AirPlay2 compatibility for all
2019 Samsung Smart TVs and select 2018 TV models.
the Apple TV app from the Samsung App store and AirPlay2 is via a firmware
update. This allows access to Apple content and casting from an iOS device. It
is a competitor for an Apple TV box.
Jeremy Senior, Head of Consumer Electronics Samsung
“The Samsung Smart TV platform continues to evolve, and we
want all our customers to be able to enjoy their favourite content through
their preferred apps and devices. We’re delighted to be the first TV
manufacturer in Australian to offer customers access to the new Apple TV App