The Assistance and Access Bill 2018, better known as the Ass Access Bill, is a piece of legislation before the Australian Parliament that proposes to provide a way for the Australian Government to gain access to data that has previously been hidden by encryption. This is intended to provide law enforcement and other agencies a doorway into your private data. The department of Home Affairs have gone to great pains to emphasise that this is not a legislated backdoor to your devices, and they are technically correct. It is probably better described as a side door into your data.
The battle to dominate gaming in front of our TV’s has raged since the birth of video games in the 80’s. With the release of the classic mini consoles reliving these gaming memories and catching up on classics that you might have missed has never been so much fun, or simpler. Many of the biggest names of the 80’s and early 90’s are present NES, SNES, Sega MegaDrive, Commodore 64 and the soon to be released PlayStation.
Retro gaming is all the rage at the moment, and while Sony may be late to the retro game it has turned up to a knife fight with a 44 magnum. Mind you turning up well armed when going to war with Nintendo is not a bad strategy.
The PlayStation Classic is Sony’s latest weapon in the console wars and this mini marvel will be packing 20 games pre-loaded and ready to rumble. Only 5 of games have been officially announced thus far; Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. The remaining 15 are the subject of much speculation and you can bet Sony will trickle feed the announcements of the remaining games to us as the release date edges nearer, building the marketing momentum. The number of wish lists floating around the web is evidence that it is already working. Here at Highpants we have just one wish, Gran Tourismo.
Legendary camera company Red have made the leap into the mobile phone market with one of the most highly anticipated phones to be pressed up against people’s heads. The Red Hydrogen One is that phone and after a year of delays 300 lucky people are now experiencing the Red magic. Master unboxer Marques Brownlee was one of the lucky 300 and his unboxing video now has many people both drooling and jealous, in equal parts.
The digital camera wars are heating up again with the big names finally introducing full frame mirrorless pro cameras. In the last few weeks Nikon has fired the first salvos with the announcement of their new Z series mirrorless pro shooters. These two new models will herald the beginning of a new war for supremacy in the pro camera market, no longer will Sony have this market virtually to itself.
Companionship is an essential part of life, but it comes in many shapes and sizes. In this fast changing and hi-tech world companionship is no longer limited to the living. Instead now we also have a new option, the robotic. Leading the charge of robotic companions Sony has reintroduced its popular robotic pooch Aibo.
Anki are the creators of some of the most sophisticated toys in the world, their latest creation Vector is about to set the standard in artificially intelligent assistants. Like Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa he is designed to listen and respond to voice commands, making your every wish his command.
If like us you love DIY, retro gaming and want to tinker with a Pi then there is one project that combines them all, and is well worth considering, the PiCade X HAT. The 2018 update of this excellent do it yourself project provides a relatively simple build that produces an incredibly cool result, an awesome desktop retro arcade gaming machine complete with arcade joystick and display that fits into a little cabinet worthy of even the grandest man cave.
In life we are often told that you can’t have everything, life is a balance. Settle and compromise the sensible amongst us insist, this is the secret to happiness they say. You can’t have looks and personality, the perfect job always has a downside, the perfect home will have an annoying neighbour and even the prefect computer will be compromised in some way. Here at Highpants its time to upgrade our trusty work-horse computer and we are once again faced with picking our way through this compromised reality.
Yes, even in the world of computing this logic has been bandied about like the punchline in a bad film, the perfect computer for any situation has always been a compromise. But damn it if Intel haven’t decided to challenge this long-heralded rule, yes you can have a powerful gaming machine in an unnaturally small form factor they scream, while holding the Hades Canyon NUC high in the air.
There has often been an important compromise to consider when deciding on your next gaming rig. Do you settle for a large power-hungry box with extreme performance or sacrifice performance for a more compact gaming rig? While the first option is the often-selected solution there are situations that make the second option desirable for many. Those of us with small apartments and little space, or the requirement for a portable system, and then there are the power conscious amongst us. For many a better balance is an interesting proposition and in recent months these options have become quite interesting.
Headlining these options this month Zotac released the ZBox Magnus EN1080K ultra compact cube, while Intel has had tongues wagging around the internet with the release of their Hades Canyon BUC8i7HVK, both of which are extremely compact and surprisingly powerful gaming rigs. Both extremely enticing options but can they beat building your own mini gaming rig?