Life & Technology – 2GB 26th July, 2014

The Commonwealth Games are on again, and while it doesn't really have anything to do with tech, it's great motivation to get fit! It seems like everyone is making a fitness tracker these days, and it's no surprise – they make exercise a lot of fun. But with so many different devices out there, how do you pick the right one? To find out a bit more about what's happening in fitness wearables, I had a chat to Mick Boman, Harvey Norman's National Product and Marketing Manager for Connected Fitness and Health. There are fitness trackers available at a whole range of price points, ranging from the Fitbit Zip at just $73 to the Garmin Vivofit at $159 to the TomTom Runner Cardio Watch at $347. For more information about the products we talked about, as well as a few of the CyberShack team's favourite fitness devices, click through here.


Catch of the Day upset a lot of Australians last week by announcing that they were hacked. However, the problem wasn't the fact that they were hacked, it's the fact that they were hacked three years ago and only just told their customers now. Despite the controversy, it's a pretty average hack. On CyberShack this week, we took a look at few of history's more interesting hacks, including a 16 year old who hacked into NASA and an unresolved mystery.


I also talked to John Lunn, Senior Global Director of PayPal and organiser of international hackathon, BattleHack. The name hackathon might be a bit deceptive, because it actually has nothing to do with hacking, at least in the criminal sense. A hackathon is actually a contest where skilled software developers try to build an app in a short period of time. BattleHack is being run in Sydney this weekend and local developers are being asked to build an app to solve a local problem; in a way, it's hacking for good. John described BattleHack as the world cup for developers, and the winners of this weekend's event will get flown to Silicon Valley in November to compete for USD$100,000!


The end is nigh for credit card signatures; come August 1, we'll all need PINs on our credit cards. While most of us have had these for a while, it will no longer be possible to sign a purchase. I sat down with Steven Munchenberg, CEO of the Australian Bankers Association to discuss the issue. PINs have proven much more secure, and given that many of us already have PINs on these cards, the change shouldn't cause much disruption. Despite this, consumers will still be able to make contactless payments under $100 without the need for a PIN or signature.


In other new this week, Toshiba announced that the successor to their Encore Windows tablet, the Encore 2 is to be released in Australia by the end of the month. The $399 tablet includes a year's subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal, making it quite a good deal!


Toyota announced a new minivan this week, and it has a pretty novel feature: the driver's got a microphone. This means that parents can finally stop turning around to tell their kids "no, we're not there yet". Unfortunately, the model in question isn't available in Australia, but hopefully we'll see the feature make its way to an Australian car soon.




On the subject of parenting, my editorial this week touches on the challenges of being a parent in the 21st century.