Week 5, 2018 - Meltdown and Spectre Updates; Amazon Go; Apple HomePod

By (3 minutes read)

Mostly following up on older things this week; with more Meltdown and Spectre, Amazon Go, and smart speakers.

Today’s update is a day late as I didn’t want to post so shortly after my video on Sunday. As I’m posting more, I’m trying to keep them spread out a bit.

Meltdown and Spectre Updates

This subject is unlikely to fully go away, but I wanted to briefly touch on it already as some things have happened. First, Intel apparently didn’t do a great job on their initial set of patches as they told their customers (including cloud providers) to stop deploying the patches. Apparently the patches caused some computers to reboot, and keep rebooting. Not ideal, and there have been some people who were quite vocal in their opinion.

On the other hand, Intel has also claimed that they’ll have new chips available later this year that should already be secure. If this happens that will be quite impressive. Mostly because it means they’ll have needed to make a lot of design changes to these new chips in what would be a late stage. While they’ve probably been working on it since the bugs were disclosed to them, this fix would still be quicker than I expected. If they manage to deliver on their promise of course.

Amazon Go

The first Amazon Go store has opened to the public, and it seems to be preforming well. The premise of Amazon Go is to not have any cashiers and instead you get billed based on what the cameras saw you take. ReCode also has a photo tour of the store, and from a technology perspective it looks interesting with the many cameras and of course the machine learning that controls it all. Most of us are unlikely to get a look at it in person any time soon though, but if you want an idea of what this could mean I’ll direct you to the Amazon Go And the Future article on Stratechery.

Apple HomePod

Apple announced the HomePod’s imminent arrival, which is now available for pre-order. If of course you happen to live in one of the lucky countries1. There isn’t a lot known about it, as only a couple of reviews are out which are all based on about 1 hour of supervised access to the device. But frankly, it doesn’t sound like something that I’m very interested in. I’m sure that the sound is great, but I just don’t care enough about music to find that a selling point. The part that would interest me, the Siri integration, doesn’t sound like it will be able to do a lot and is far behind the competition.

Coincidentally, Amazon also made the Echo available for sale here in Australia recently, which means that we’re now one of the 3 countries that have both of these as well as the Google Home available. So, in order to finally dip my toes into this world where a speaker will be recording my every move and uploading it to some company that may or may not treat it safely, I ordered one. I was a bit late with ordering, so according to Amazon it won’t actually arrive until the 9th because shipping will take a long time2. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.

  1. The US, UK, and Australia. ↩︎

  2. I’d make fun of that estimate for crossing 50km, but considering Australia Post’s speed this sounds pretty accurate. ↩︎

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