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News & Analysis

5 things you should know about tech today

- June 9, 2020 3 MIN READ
An artist's impression of SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet in orbit. Image: SpaceX

Hello all.

The week starts on Tuesday for much of Australia thanks to a 94-year-old monarch.

Don’t forget to tune into the Startup Daily show on ausbiz.com.au every weekday, 2-3pm, where we talk to startup founders, investors and innovators about everything tech.

 

1. The Amazon customer is not right

When an Amazon customer discovered the company’s billionaire boss was supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, he sent Jeff Bezos an angry, expletive-laden email from a bloke called Dave who said he cancelled his order, amid racist epithets and a gratuitous offer of sexual violence.

Bezos shared the email on Instagram saying “There have been a number of sickening but not surprising responses in my inbox” since he posted his support for BLM.

“This sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows. It’s important to make it visible. This is just one example of the problem,” he wrote

“And, Dave, you’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.”

If Dave’s waiting to laugh as Bezos, begins to lose money, it’s no wonder he’s so angry. It’s going to be a while. The Amazon boss is currently worth around US$150 billion, with that figure increasing by around a third annually.

2. In space, Linux rules

Half a dozen SpaceX engineers jumped on Reddit on the weekend in the wake of Elon Musk’s rocketship company sending two astronauts to the International Space Station, for an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Matt Monson, who used to work on Dragon, and now leads software on Musk’s satellite-based internet network Starlink, was among them and was asked about the project, which last week put another 60 satellites into space via a Falcon 9 rocket, taking the total to 480 amid a target of 800 to get the US service to MVP. Each one weighs 260kg and sits 550km above earth.

Asked about running the system on Linux, Monson said each launch of 60 satellites contains more than 4,000 Linux computers. That means each satellite contains around 60 Linux boards each.

“The constellation has more than 30,000 Linux nodes (and more than 6,000 microcontrollers) in space right now. And because we share a lot of our Linux platform infrastructure with Falcon and Dragon, they get the benefit of our more than 180 vehicle-years of on-orbit test time,” Monson wrote.

SpaceX has permission to shoot 12,000 satellites into space and ZDNet reported last week that it’s now applied to send another 30,000 second-gen satellites up.

Another astonishing detail to come out of the AMA is that Starlink already generates 5 trillion bytes of data daily. That’s 5 terabytes – 2.5-times an Apple’s largest iCloud subscription. And it’s still only in testing mode.

 

3. Airwallex taps into China

Melbourne fintech unicorn Airwallex is set to add a potential 800 million customers to its payments service after adding WeChat Pay to the platform this week.

The option is initially available in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore and allows merchants to add WeChat Pay as a payment option on their e-commerce platforms. More than 800 million Chinese consumers use WeChat Pay and it handles an astonishing one billion transactions globally daily.

 

4. 86 400 and Zip pony up

Good news for BNPL fans trying to keep track of their repayments, Zip customers who bank with digital neobank 86 400 will be able to see their Zip wallets under a partnership integration between the two fintechs.

The digital bank’s customers can link and view their Zip Pay and Zip Money accounts within their bank app.

 

5. Cannon-Brookes on standards we accept

In case you missed it this last week, Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes weighed in on the death of George Floyd in the US, among others, pointing out that Australia has its own problems with the “continued structural marginalisation of indigenous people” in a blog post on the company site.

Cannon-Brookes invoked the now famous phrase “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”, said by former Army Chief Lt General David Morrison in a 2013 video address to his troops (an aside – Morrison subsequently acknowledged after being named Australian of the Year in 2016 that he’d nicked the line from his old boss, now Governor-General David Hurley).

“I hold a privilege. One that comes with great responsibility to stand up and say “it’s not ok” when something isn’t right. To not walk past silently in acceptance. I have a responsibility to speak out,” Cannon-Brookes said.

“Like many of you, Scott and I are angry and sad. We believe, above all else, in respecting human rights. Equality is not a privilege, reserved for some and not others. Now, more than ever, we must come together and support one another. We must listen, and learn. And we must speak up and fight for equality and justice.

“We should continue to expect unrest until governments and companies (including ours) are held accountable in upholding equality and justice. And as this unrest grows more loud, more violent, and more painful, we need to do own our part in creating a more just and equitable world. Anything less would be complicit and complacent.”

The Atlassian co-founder acknowledges he doesn’t have the answer to those problems but says he and the company are working on making things better.

Read what he had to say here.