Issue 523

Friday, 17th November 2017

In This Issue


Tesla announces semi-trailer and kick arse all new Roadster

We all thought Tesla was simply going to announce its semi-trailer truck this afternoon and it'd be a "that's nice, but where's my Model 3" sorta thing , but at the end of the truck announcement, the trailer attached to the truck dropped and out rolled an all new and very sexy Tesla Roadster. Tesla claims it's the fastest production car in the world, capable of 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds, yet also has 1000km of range (yes, 1000 kilometres of range!). Just look at this thing accelerate. I hope lots of people cancel their Model 3 pre-orders and get the Roadster instead. The truck's alright too, doing 800km fully loaded, at 100km/h. The event just wrapped up (5pm AEDST), so info is slim. I'll crap on about this on Monday, don't worry.

$28.5m of grants given to Australian cities to implement "smart" tech stuff

The federal government has decided where it'll throw around half of the $50m worth of grants part of its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. 52 projects across Australia will get a total of $28.5m, with the most ($5m) going to Darwin to install CCTV cameras, LED lightning, free wi-fi, smart parking sensors and "sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services". Most of that stuff doesn't sound very smart to me. Newcastle received just under $5m to test a bunch of pretty cool sounding transport related concepts. Here's a full list of awarded grants.

The ABC had an S3 bucket full of sensitive info exposed for ages

Another day, another S3 misconfiguration that exposes sensitive data. The perpetrator this time is the ABC, who were told by security firm Kromtech, that MySQL database backups dating back to 2015 were hanging out for the world to see. Inside those backups were thousands of ABC email addresses, logins & hashed passwords, content licensing requests and a secret key for another stash of data with "advance video content". Let this be a lesson for everyone to check their S3 bucket's permissions and enable encryption if possible.

OnePlus 5T is announced, a new OnePlus flagship unit

The 5T is OnePlus's new flagship smartphone, kinda, as it's more of a tweak of the OnePlus 5 than an all new unit. The major differences are the display and camera. OnePlus are on the 18:9 aspect ratio train with the 6" 1080x2160 "Optic AMOLED" panel in the 5T. Both rear cameras are f/1.7 and the main camera is 16MP, the secondary camera 20MP. Fingerprint reader is on the back becuse of the tiny bezels. There's face unlock, but it's pretty basic, unlike the iPhone X. The 5T is still running Android 7.1.1, but will get a beta of 8.0 in a few weeks. It'll cost US$499 and come out on the 21st of November. No AU price or date yet.

Which tech company will lower themselves to work on the US govt's latest spying program?

The US government is keen for a system to implement Donald Trump's "extreme vetting" of immigrants and has put word out to companies like IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, LexisNexis and Deloitte to do it. The system the USA's immigration department want will use "machine learning technology and social media monitoring to determine whether an individual is a positively contributing member of society". IBM however, have said publicly that they want to protect Dreamers (find out what a Dreamer is if ya don't know), so it'll be interesting who's enough of a capitalist scumbag to co-operate in developing such a system with the US government. Hopefully IBM stick to their guns and don't sell out.

Not News, But Still Cool

Google's Pixel Buds are good. Not great, just good.

The Verge has a hands-on review of Google's Pixel Buds and as I think most of us predicted, the much hyped real-time translation feature is certainly no Babelfish. The Buds don't do anything magical, it's simply a mic that dictates words into Google Translate. The reviewer reckons it's easier to simply type or talk into the phone than use the Buds as it just adds an extra layer of complexity and awkwardness to an already uncomfortable situation. While the translation sucks, the Google Assistant is top notch and seems to be super responsive, which together with integration into so much of Google's stuff, makes Assistant on the Buds a killer feature.

If your internet sucks, check if there's a WISP in your area

If you're struggling with crappy internet, there are alternatives beyond paying bucketloads for 4G. Wireless internet providers (WISPs) are popping up to fill in the gaps left by the NBN to provide relatively low latency, affordable and fast(ish) internet access. In Melbourne at least, I'm aware of Hyperwave, Lightning Broadband, Clear, Uniti and Melbourne ISP that'll sell residential 50-100mbit internet for around $100/m with a fat data cap. Worth look if you're stuck with ADSL or worse!

Quad9, a free public DNS server to protect you from crap on the internet

The Global Cyber Alliance (heh) has hooked up with IBM and Packet Clearing House to create a free public DNS system called Quad9 designed to "block domains associated with botnets, phishing attacks, and other malicious Internet hosts". It harvests data from "19 threat feeds" to make sure unsuspecting users don't visit domains known to host dodgy crap like malware or phishing attempts. To use it, just change your DNS settings to use & (like Google's and off you go. If you've got a mate or family member that constantly gets into trouble online, could stop them hurting themselves.

That's it, see ya Monday!