Life & Technology – 2GB 24th May, 2015

Last week we had a chat about the Federal Government’s new budget, and today we’ll be talking about the Budget Reply. Once again, there’s tech news in it – Bill Shorten wants coding to be a compulsory subject in all primary and secondary schools in Australia by 2020.


"All of us who have had our children teach us how to download an app know how quickly children adapt to new technology. But I don't just want Australian kids playing with technology, I want them to have the chance to understand it, to create it, and work with it."


Quickflix surprised everyone with a big announcement  this month – it will abandon its own monthly subscription streaming service and shortly begin reselling Foxtel's Presto. I had a chat with CEO Stephen Langsford this week, and he was able to clarify a few details: Quickflix's DVD and Blu-Ray service – which I subscribe to personally – will still stay around, as will pay per view options. Foxtel and Quickflix are yet to set a date as to when Quickflix will begin reselling Presto.


Google’s self-driving car project is about to take a major step forward, with the company due to begin testing its prototype vehicles on public roads in coming months.


The tests will take place on the streets of Mountain View, California amidst real traffic and will provide valuable data on how the vehicles behave in real world conditions facing issues such as obstacles and congestion. To date, the Google's vehicles have only been tested under controlled conditions in the company’s test facilities.


The gadgets you can find on Kickstarter never cease to amaze me. CHIP is the latest Kickstarter craze; a tiny USD$9 computer. You’ll need to bring your own keyboard, mouse and monitor, but CHIP is a tiny computer that runs a custom version of Linux pre-installed core applications such as a web browser, email client and a productivity suite. It’s not glamorous, it won’t be blazing fast, but it could be a great way to add a spare computer to your house.


When you think TomTom, you think GPS, but the company is beginning to branch out with gadgets such as running watches, and now, an action cam! The TomTom Bandit is an action camera that aism to simplfy the user experience by using an inbuilt accelerometer, gyro and you guessed it – GPS – to make it easier for users to go right to interesting footage they've shot, without having to trawl through all of it. The TomTom Bandit will be available in Australia soon.


I had a fascinating chat with Rafael Calvo, the Director of the Positive Computing Lab this week. He and his team are doing some amazing stuff, and are currently experimenting with virtual reality in research to help the fight against obesity. While Rafael is currenty in Chile, one of his colleagues will be speaking at Vivid Sydney at a talk called "The Obesity Epidemic" on May 27th.