5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Global shipping map

Hello and welcome to the end of the week. Here’s what’s happening.

1. Malcolm Turnbull wants smarter cities. The latest part of the PM’s ideas boom was revealed today, putting tech at the centre of design for Australia’s major cities so that no one has to spend more than 30 minutes on the commute to work. The Smart Cities Plan is another Big Picture moment for the minister for exciting times, with plans to issue long-term 30-year government bonds to help fund projects. The PM is now looking for feedback on the plan. For details on what it contains and how to comment, click here.

2. The Productivity Commission isn’t a fan of geoblocking. The national efficiency boffins have put their minds to the vexed issue of which Netflix library you should be allowed to access without having to buy a VPN and concludes we shouldn’t be blocked from viewing content overseas, and it should be made clear that it’s not illegal to circumvent those geoblocking arrangements.

Here’s what they say:

“The Australian Government should implement the recommendation made in the House of Representatives Committee report At What Cost? IT pricing and the Australia tax to amend the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) to make clear that it is not an infringement for consumers to circumvent geoblocking technology.

The Australian Government should seek to avoid any international agreements that would prevent or ban consumers from circumventing geoblocking technology.”

The commission argues Australians pay more for digital products due to geoblocking and end up with a lesser or delayed service to boot.

These guys will now be elevated to hero status by “Game of Thrones” fans. More details here.

3. iPhone 7 ‘Pro’ leak?!? Enough said.

4. The prickly skin of the cactus is helping to make better electric car fuel cells. A new type of membrane, inspired by the cactus and developed by the CSIRO and Hanyang University in Korea, has the potential to significantly boost the performance of fuel cells for the electric vehicle industry. The membrane could tackle one of the main barriers in the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles which involved water management and heat management in fuel cell systems. See more here.

5.Gearing up for the Royal Randwick Race Day next month? Well, forget trying to place live bets on your phone. The government has closed a loophole in the legislation that will prevent people from placing “in-play” bets on live events via the internet, and that includes betting apps. The good news is that it will end all those annoying ads for live betting during your favourite match. Read more about the new rules here.

BONUS ITEM: This might seem a little off topic, but it’s a critical lesson for any startup boss and their CFO, especially when you’re thinking about heading to an IPO. The legendary New York investor Carl Icahn has sold out of Apple. Big news but the curious part is he still things it’s a good business – in fact, he thinks it’s undervalued. Huh? Greg McKenna explains what’s going on in item 4 of “6 things Australian traders will be talking about this morning“.

The short version is that a famous economist JM Keynes predicted in his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money that we’d get to a point where investors stopped worrying about the investment itself and instead focus on what everyone else thought. It’s well worth a read.

BONUS BONUS ITEM. Trainspotting, but for ships. We could watch this all weekend. And probably will.

Have a great weekend too.