The Sizzle

Issue 80 - Friday, 5th February 2016 - Grubs


Something might be happening that allows Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy
The UN has been investigating the plight of Julian Assange and the BBC got early access to the UN's conclusions. Basically the UN reckons he's been "arbitrarily detained". What does this mean for Julian? Bugger all really - he made a statement via Wikileaks that if he lost his case at the UN, he'll accept arrest by the UK and take whatever fate awaits him. But if the UN does agree with him, he expects his passport returned and safe passage back to Australia. Problem is though, the UN's decision means shit legally, so it's likely the status quo will continue.

Another day, another Australian IT project ballsed up - NSW TAFE this time
The NSW government spent around half a billion dollars to implement a "Learning Management and Business Reform" platform and rolled it out in state schools and later on, at TAFE institutions across the state. Apparently the TAFE portion of this system sucks, hard, and has to be replaced, after spending probably "tens of millions" of dollars on the TAFE portion - more money pissed away in a long series of government IT fuckups that nobody will face a reprimand for.

ACMA sold off some more 1800MHz spectrum
1800MHz is the most common band for LTE around the world and a bit more of it has been opened up predominately in regional areas around Australia. Telstra and Optus purchased large chunks of it (though a max of 2x 25MHz portions per telco were sold) across the country and interestingly, TPG purchased a little more spectrum too, with Vodafone also taking part. All up the telcos spent $543.5m on the rights to use certain radio frequencies. Nice little earner for the government I reckon.

Google cracks down on those stupid misleading download ads
I reckon the number 1 cause of people's computers fucking up are those misleading ads that purport to offer software. You might go to a site like Sourceforge (which is more like Crapforge these days) or even the program's official website and right next to the real download button, there's a fake download button that's an ad. Even relatively savvy computers users are mislead, click the ad and boom, they've got malware and their computer is a solider in some Russian dude's bot army. Google is now using it's Safe Browsing tech to block these ads and pop up a warning when they appear, hopefully reducing the amount of times I have to fix my sister's computer.

NBN survey says customers just as happy with glorified ADSL as they are with fibre
According to NBN's net promoter scores (ahh yes, net promoter has infiltrated the government too), customers using souped up ADSL are just as pleased with their Internet as those using fibre. The government is loving the fuck out of this and taken at face value, the news is good. Of course people are happy with FTTN as yeah, it's faster than whatever the poor saps had before the NBN rolled around. Still doesn't mean it's the best long term investment of our tax dollars, does it? The entire NBN's half-year report is available here.


Why hasn't SETI found any aliens yet?
I love me some distributed computing. Back in highschool I chucked SETI@Home on all the computer lab's machines and I used to run Folding@Home on all my boxes before I had to pay for electricity. I even wrote this article for Fairfax about distributed computing which you might enjoy. Anyways, one of the SETI scientists talked to TechCrunch who asked her why we haven't found the aliens yet - it's a rather mundane answer actually: the universe is fucking huge and we've only looked at a tiny fraction of it, plus our tech probably sucks.

OpenSignal releases 2016 report on the state of LTE around the world
LTE is a wonderful technology - fast Internet anywhere you want it, what's not to love? OpenSignal is probably the largest independent group testing mobile networks around the world and they've just released data from all their 2015 tests, from over 350,000 users. In 2015, Singapore had the fastest LTE speeds (avg of 37Mbps) and South Korea has the best coverage, with South Korean phones sticking to the LTE 97% of the time. Australian phones stick to LTE 75% of the time (ahead of Denmark and Switzerland and on par with Finland, Kazakhstan and Canada) and our average speed is around 24Mbps.

People keep turning up to this house in Atlanta thinking their stolen phone has ended up there
This one's a bit old, but it took me a while to read it and now I have I think it's hilarious. You know Find My iPhone yeah? And like, it tells you where your iPhone is? Well it uses GPS and GPS is awesome, but not that awesome when it can't get a proper constellation of satellites, which is often. There's a whole bunch of backup ways to get a rough location, but weirdly, this house in Atlanta ends up as the location when GPS fails and nobody knows why. The poor fuckers who live at the house are pissed off about getting people yelling "oi cunt where's my iPhone ya flog" at their front almost daily, hahaha!

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!