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Monday Afternoon (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 19-June-2017  15:49:11 (GMT +10) - by Agg

The Government's plans to bypass encryption in the name of national security are being widely criticised. Experts say efforts to get technology and social media firms to cooperate with the authorities in decrypting communications will be hard to achieve. The Australian government wants smartphone companies and social media platforms to ensure terrorists cannot hide behind anonymous posts or encrypted messages, but it has not said how or when. More info here on ComputerWorld. EFA's thoughts are here and ITPA have an editorial here.

The overseas GST bill has been delayed another year, thanks Axe. Australian consumers will have to pay a 10% goods and services tax on all online goods bought from overseas from 1 July next year. The Turnbull government has secured support for the plan after Labor moved an amendment in the Senate on Monday delaying the plan’s start date from 1 July this year to 1 July next year. It means imports of goods worth less than $1,000, which are now GST-free, will no longer be exempt from the tax.

I first thought it was being reported that you will only be able to get an AMD Threadripper CPU in Alienware systems, but it turns out DIY builders will still be able to get them - the exclusivity is only for prebuilt systems. The Area-51 is among the highlights of Alienware during E3 2017. It's an updated version of the company's top-of-the-line gaming PC, and as mentioned earlier, it'll come with a Threadripper chip. It's also available with Intel's new Core X-Series processors, including the anticipated Core i9. That said, the options include the Core i7-7800X (six cores), Core i7-7820X (eight cores), and the Core i9-7900X (10 cores).

Retro fans can look forward to a new Atari console. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais told GamesBeat in an exclusive interview that his fabled video game company is working on a new game console. In doing so, the New York company might be cashing in on the popularity of retro games and Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition, which turned out to be surprisingly popular for providing a method to easily play old games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda in HD on a TV.

The race is on to build the first exascale supercomputer. On Thursday, the United States Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project announced it was awarding six companies -- AMD, Cray, HPE, IBM, Intel and Nvidia -- $258 million to research building the nation's first exascale supercomputer. An exascale supercomputer would be capable of computing 1 million trillion floating-point operations per second.

Meanwhile Microsoft researchers are using AI to play Ms. Pac-Man. The team from Maluuba, a Canadian deep learning startup acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, used a branch of AI called reinforcement learning to play the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man perfectly. Using that method, the team achieved the maximum score possible of 999,990.

Another early computing pioneer has passed away - Charles P. Thacker. Mr. Thacker and his colleagues who designed the Alto — Butler Lampson, Alan Kay and Robert Taylor — had proved prescient when they built into the computer what is known as a graphical user interface, the technology that Apple and Microsoft would borrow from in creating their Macintosh and Windows operating systems.

I don't know if this counts as a timewaster, but there's a fancy new website of Australian Crime Statistics which has interactive graphs and stuff to make exploring the data more interesting.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.