Weekly News Roundup 16/3/2015

Third week in with this new format and I think I might be onto a way that suits me better. Less double handling and more content to share. Thankfully the news cycle is giving me cool stuff to write about.

Just for fun, I will be messing around with Meerkat Live Video. Keep an eye on my twitter feed for more information.
Get the app here.

After 30 years, VR may soon be a thing.
I have been following and tinkering with Virtual Reality for some time now and I have seen many iterations. From the nausea inducing days of laggy response with bulky heasets and Dactyl Nightmare to the newest offerings from Samsungs Galaxy VR Gear partnership with Oculus. It seems that the Hollywood dreams of VR may be coming true in the very near future.
Just last week at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona HTC and Valve unveiled a joint venture called the HTC Vive/Steam VR and has joined the ranks of the new VR players. The big deal for me though is that a mobile technology giant and one of the biggest names in game publishing and distribution have approached the field from the hardware and software angles simultaneously. This drastically shortens developer delays as software authors come to grips with the new technology. This latest chapter could weed out the serious competitors from the rest and I have my money on HTC/Valve as being a heavyweight contender.
Other new players include the Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Samsung/Oculus Gear VR.
In other VR Related news…
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/03/aussie-father-watches-sons-birth-4000km-away-using-a-virtual-reality-headset/

TPG to swallow up iiNet
Late last week I was surprised to hear that iiNet is considering selling to TPG Internet in a deal worth AUD$1.4B cited as a bargain by Credit Suisse.
For me as an iiNet customer this is highly concerning as I have experienced more reliable services from iiNet and better customer service when things do go wrong.
These two ISPs are different classes of operator. I view iiNet as a high performance provider. You pay a little extra and sometimes the features fall behind some of the budget operators but you are chasing quality of service with a provider with iiNet. TPG to me competes with unlimited and low cost services but this all comes at a hidden price.
The stability and quality of the TPG service is considered to be below par compared to iiNet and I fear that combining these businesses will water down the experience for iiNet subscribers and hurt opportunities for iiNet’s push into the eastern states.
For a run down on what it could mean for the consumer, read this article by ITWire’s Sam Varghese.
There is talk that the ACCC will review the merger set to make TPG Australia’s second biggest ISP behind Telstra so there is an ever so slight chance that this might not go ahead as planned but the issue that iiNet would consider sale to a competitor is concerning for many existing subscribers.

Yahoo may kill off the Password
Well, kind of..
In a bid to end the cumbersome and very outdated practice of using usernames and passwords, Yahoo has deployed an authentication system that claims to
do away with passwords altogether. I welcome the effort but think that there could be another way. It is a step in the right direction but it is making 2 factor authentication the primary means of verification. It strengthens the 1st factor but renders the traditional 2nd technique useless.
The idea is that you will go to your login page and enter in your username or email address. Then an SMS or other message is sent to your phone with a short code for you to enter in place of your usual password.
This is all well and good as long as you have your phone with you and working. I am not about to say that this is not a good thing but it might need refinement to cater for all situations.
Read the article from the Verge here.
Have a look at the Yahoo Announcement here.

FLYING CARS!
What more is there to say?
The Aeromobil has been a prototype for around 5 years and CEO Jurac Vaculik has revealed plans to sell to consumers by 2017.
Coming with a price tag of a “Couple hundred thousand Euros” (approx AUD$275000) the vehicles are likely to take off and land on grass strips placed next to freeways. The vehicles are expected to require 200m to take off and 50m to land and reach a top speed of 200km/h.
Of course you will need a private or sport pilot license to operate the aircraft but a standard drivers license should be all you need to keep it on the ground.
Similar to Tesla’s development of the electric car, the first models will be aimed at enthusiasts and early adopters as high end models followed by a more commercial version once development allows in which case we might expect to see fully automated models requiring no pilot behind the controls.
Read more about this at Engadget.

Windows 10 may employ peer-to-peer for updates.
Inspired by filesharing used by software pirates and other more legitimate distributors of files, there are hints that Microsoft will employ similar technology to distribute software updates to users of Windows 10.
Software updates and security patches have become an accepted part of owning technology and the hassle of leaving your computer running while an overloaded server sends the patch to you can mean updates are downloaded at speeds much slower than what your internet connection is capable of.
Using Peer to Peer (P2P) technology Microsoft will employ other users with the updates to distribute parts of the update files to other users in their area. This could effectively allow updates to be downloaded in a fraction of the time it usually takes to get the files from a single point.
Read the Engadet article here.
Those that make reference to BITS this seems to only share data between other computers on the same subnet. This article outlines the transfer of files between computers on the same subnet as well as on the internet.