Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The week that was

17 Jun 2024

Today I revisit a few of the topics I covered in last week's columns and bring you up to date.

Firstly, the "Countering CCP Drones Act" in the USA has passed through the house. This was done in a rather covert way by integrating it (HR2864) into the National Defense Authorisation Act 2025 (NDAA). The next step for this potenially earth-shattering restriction on the use of DJI drones in the USA is for the Senate to consider it.

If this was a stand-alone piece of legislation then there's little chance that it would pass into law but because it is now part of the NDAA it's almost a dead-cert that it will end up on the President's desk to be signed into law.

As a result, the US government has moved one step closer to effectively clearing all DJI (and potentially other Chinese-made) drones from the skies in that country.

Despite a growing awareness of the effects of this potential change, the government is playing its "free pass" card by citing "national security" as the justification for this legislation.

The distruptive effect, if this Act is signed into law, is enormous.

Not only are DJI drones the most popular (by far), they are also widely used by first-responders such as accident/emergency workers, police, fire-fighters etc but they're also widely used in a very wide range of industries such as real-estate, agriculture, surveying and such.

Unfortunately for anyone using a DJI drone, it's not as simple as simply buying a US-made equivalent in the event that the ban is enacted. In most cases there just aren't any US-made drones that offer the level of performance or sell at any price-point.

Trade protectionism disguised as "national security" and around a million or so US drone owners pay the price -- their expensive drones possibly converted to useless paperweights with a stroke of the President's pen.

Now to Adobe...

After unilaterally altering its contract with users to allow their data to be used for training its AI systems, Adobe is in trouble.

Although they attempted to calm the troubled waters by issuing a statement that appeared to back-track, that statement was largely weasel-words that didn't actually change anything.

As a result, YouTube and other social media platforms have been filled with statements from Adobe users who have decided to cancel their subscriptions to the company's products.

I strongly suggest that Adobe will be taking a huge hit on this and are now strongly regretting their actions.

Video editors and creators that were paying a hefty monthly stiped to Adobe for products such as Premiere, AfterEffects, Audition and Photoshop have announced their intentions to switch to the likes of Davinci Resolve and other options. The next wave of posts will, I suspect, consist of "I should have done this earlier" statements and praise for the alternatives they have discovered.

It looks as if Adobe's crown is now well and truly tarnished -- which is probably not a bad thing, given their history of creating buggy, vulnerable code (anyone remember Adobe's Flash player?).

Carpe Diem folks!

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