Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – October 20, 2017

WiFi is KRACKed, Microsoft’s new Surface Book, 3D printing is veterinary’s new DIY, Huawei’s new phones and Apple’s 4K TV is reviewed. It’s The Wrap.


For the week ending October 20, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology podcast fed to you in the time it takes to get a seat on your bus and check your email. Good luck to you.

And this week, checking your emails on your phone on the bus or train may be a touch more secure than doing it at home, as news comes out that WiFi may not be as secure as we all hoped.

We’ll break this one down as easily as we can, but essentially researchers have discovered a flaw in the very security mechanism protecting all of our wireless networks, and sufficed to say, it’s not a very good one.

WiFi’s security in WPA and WPA2 has been around for well over a decade, and is generally seen as the way almost everyone protects and should be protected, and yet this flaw known as “KRACK” now makes it so that every wireless device may need a patch, and pronto.

Now before you think “oh crap, am I at risk?” the short answer is probably not, at least not yet. While the flaw is by no means good, someone trying to break into your network would have to be pretty close to do it, meaning someone standing or sitting nearby your home.

However, it is a pretty serious issue in bigger business WiFi networks where the wireless reach goes out further, and it basically means you’re about to see a whole heap of WiFi updates over the next year or so. Microsoft is first with an update for Windows, and we suspect Apple and Google will be next for MacOS, iOS, and Android, but you can expect to get updates for your WiFi router, too. Seriously, this is one update you’ll want to act on, and we’ll be keeping an eye and ear out for when these updates arrive, reminding you when we hear anything.

The KRACK security issue isn’t all we’ve heard about this week, though with a cool story from a very creative Aussie.

Now if you have something you need to fix around the house, you probably head to a home hardware store, a Bunnings or the like, but for one Aussie, he approached DIY differently: 3D printing his needs.

And for architect Ed Dieppe, his needs were very different, designing and printing a paw and leg for his growing greyhound Millie with only three legs.

The story is quite cute and lovely, and well worth a look at the website, with a quick take on what the architect did to build something for his dog to keep running, jumping, and sleeping on: a 3D printed leg.

To make this sort of thing, you need a 3D printer, and our clever dog helper had one, but you also need a good computer, and this week Microsoft is adding a new model to the list.

Microsoft’s Surface Book has been due for a proper refresh, and while it saw a slight update last year, it wasn’t necessarily the big deal folks wanted.

This year, that big deal is here, as Microsoft updates the hardware all around, switching out the processor to be one of Intel’s latest eighth-generation chips, new graphics from Nvidia, and even support for USB Type C, something Microsoft has desperately needed support for.

Better, the battery will support up to 17 hours of video playback, which suggests good things about the performance of the tablet, which like its sibling will be both a detachable tablet and a laptop.

Pricing for the new Surface Book 2 isn’t cheap, with a starting price of around $3000 locally for the Surface Book 2 with the new Intel processors on-board when it arrives mid-November.

Huawei also joined this week with a mid-November release in the form of the new generation of the Mate phones rocking up with two cameras in two phones as part of the Mate 10.

And yes, there will be two phones with that name, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, one slightly more premium than the other — take a guess which one from the names — but both are quite similar, sporting a big screen, fast processor, and AI for the camera, which also happens to have both a monochromatic and colour camera working together, courtesy of Leica and Huawei doing the whole collaborative thing.

And they look good, too. We went hands on with them which you can see in a video at the Pickr website, and what we’ve seen we liked, even though picking between each could be interesting.

One thing’s for sure for us this week: if you have a 4K TV, we’ve reviewed something you’ll probably want. Hell, you may even need it, because one of the biggest problems with owning a 4K TV right now is a general lack of content.

You can find a few Ultra HD Blu-rays here and there, and there’s Netflix, but it is largely a hassle.

Apple has possibly built a solution to this with the latest Apple TV generation, the aptly named Apple TV 4K, and while much of the Apple TV is the same, one aspect is different.

That means you still get apps like Stan and Netflix, and you still can get movies and TV shows, but that you can just get them in 4K.

And that is a big deal, because it also means that aside for the possibility of renting 4K media, movies you’ve purchased on iTunes will gradually be upgraded to 4K for free.

That was certainly the case for some of the films we had, including Alien: Covenant and Logan, while new films like Spiderman Homecoming arrived in 4K ready for us to watch.

The one obvious downside is that you kind of need a very good broadband connection to watch 4K media in a timely fashion. Our ADSL2 connection doesn’t quite cut it, but if you have the NBN, we suspect you’ll fare better.

You’ll certainly get the movies much faster, and that’s a good thing.

Hey, you’ll reach the end of this show faster, so if you hit this point faster than now, good work, you’ve also managed to speed up time.

For the rest of you, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology podcast, delivering news and reviews in less than the time it takes to download a 4K movie, even on the NBN.

We’ll be back next week for more news with a review, but until then, have a great week. See you next time on The Wrap.

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