Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

TGIF. It’s been an odd week, particularly in Australian politics. In the tech world, we’ve also had a few shocks, from plans to resurrect the Tassie tiger to Australia’s competition watchdog suddenly being concerned with social media. Here’s what you should know in the tech world as we head into the weekend.


1. No downloads for Netflix’s upcoming ad-tier

Recent reports show that if the streaming service goes ahead with its ad-supported subscription tier, you won’t be able to download movies for offline viewing. An iOS developer and tech blogger first discovered text in the Netflix app that points to plans to limit offline viewing. App description text reportedly reads: “Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads”. In addition, the streaming company apparently wants to ask questions related to giving users “relevant ads”. Netflix has so far refused to comment.

2. Janet Jackson’s banger ‘Rhythm Nation’ could crash your laptop

In more vintage music news, Janet Jackson’s 1989 dance-pop song “Rhythm Nation” is making headlines, not because it’s an amazing song, but because the tune could apparently crash people’s hard drives. Long-time Windows developer Raymond Chen in his blog tells the story of a colleague who, during laptop testing at a major computer manufacturer, discovered the video would crash certain models of laptops, even those of their competitors. The twist is that it wasn’t necessarily the music video, but the song itself. Don’t play it. Or play it, I’m not the boss of you.

3. Google plans to show only real reviews

In the coming weeks, Google will be rolling out an update to make it easier to find “high-quality, original reviews”. It will aim to reduce the amount of low-quality or unoriginal content that ranks high in search results. In a blog, Google said: “With this update, you’ll see more results with unique, authentic information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before”. It’s a blow for SEO houses and a win for content with a human touch.

4. Snap abandons development on its Pixy Selfie Drone

Four months ago, Snap revealed Pixy, a personal drone that was supposed to join Spectacles as a pillar in capturing candid moments less invasively than a smartphone. It’s barely had time to get off the ground, but according to The Wall Street Journal, Snap has already halted development on future versions of the drone. They’re apparently still flogging existing stock, so get in quick.

5. Lord of the Rings’ rights just got even more chaotic

The world of Middle-earth and its adaptive iterations has had a long history of strange and peculiar owners, even before Peter Jackson’s iconic movie trilogies came along and made that even more complicated. Now, a huge sea-change in the rights to Tolkien’s work has made things even more complex. The Embracer Group — which has spent the past few years hoovering up game studios like Gearbox and THQ Nordic, rights to games like Deus Ex and Tomb Raider, and even non-gaming entertainment media like comics and collectibles publisher Dark Horse and boardgame creator Asmodee — announced that it had acquired Middle-Earth Enterprises.

BONUS ITEM: Following the collab no one asked for, we’ve got one question: what’s with this country’s prime ministers and Fatman Scoop?

Enjoy your weekend, folks.

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