Weekly News Roundup 25/1/2016

Netflix clamps down on VPN “Pirates”, Security around The Internet of Things needs to be better and 2016 will be the year for VR.

Netflix to Aussie VPN Pirates, The party is over.
netflix_gameover_rentalsAt the top of this week’s news (again) was all the big deal about Netflix clamping down on subscribers with reports that some Australia based users are indeed being denied access to the American service while using a VPN connection to mask their location.
I have had a number of interviews regarding this and in my mind it comes from Netflix making a “show of force” after possibly getting pressure from regional rights holders that have already made exclusive distribution deals with other distributors.
I think that once this has been done and rights holders start signing deals with Netflix globally, we are well on the way to seeing content simultaneously released around the world instead of having to deal with the current hassle that is fractured distribution rights.
Have a look at this interview I did with Darren DeMello recently regarding this right here.

You might be watching your front door but so could the whole world.

The Internet of Things is lacking in security.
I honestly feel like a broken record over this as yet another story surfaces over the debacle that is security when it comes to our connected lives. Millions of small gadgets that we use to monitor, watch, measure and enrich our lives are also providing avenue for the very tech-savvy to access our connected environments around us thanks to the lacklustre security baked into our smart toothbrushes, baby monitors and internet toasters.
There is even a search engine designed specifically to sniff out internet connected security cameras that are still running with default usernames and passwords known as Shodan.io.
This highlights that not only are the manufacturers are dropping the ball when it comes to securing their devices but we as consumers either don’t care or are totally unaware as to how we expose ourselves through sheer apathy.
This and more is covered in this story from Arstechnica.

2016 could be Virtually the best year for tech so far.
Oculus-Rift-Consumer-VersionI have recently had a chance to get my hands on some Virtual reality hardware and I can safely say that 2016 will be a very big year for strapping things to your face. We have at least 3, maybe 4 products expected to be released to market this year that will give consumers the chance to experience VR in their homes and offices. The applications are wide ranging from very immersive games to education and training as well as research, exploration, design and entertainment to mention the obvious applications.
I played with the Oculus VR, the crowdfunded origin of the current generation VR gear as well as a yet to be released product that I cannot actually name.
I have played with VR before from the late 90’s where the hardware was bulky, the experience was pretty crude and a potential nightmare for people prone to motion sickness.
I can happily say that the 2016 VR experience is miles ahead and motion sickness should be much less of a concern as the response and quality of the sound and vision is really hard to fault.
The biggest issue with VR used to be lag. This is the time taken from when you move your head until the image you are seeing catches up with what you are doing. Just a few frames of lag would induce stomach-churning disorientation for some. This is now really hard to get now as the lag is barely perceptible. When you swing your view from one spot to another you get to see that view change pretty quickly and the quality and complexity of the graphics are excellent. I enjoyed a fun game that had me trying to find a way to escape out of a plane and then I was immersed in a simulator that took me on a cage dive deep under water with stunning visuals within the space of a few minutes.
We are heading for some fantastic times ahead and I can’t wait to write more about what I have experienced when these products are actually released to market.