Issue 528

Friday, 24th November 2017

In This Issue


Amazon's not launching today, maybe next week

False alarm everyone - Amazon Australia isn't opening today. The email that went around to upcoming sellers on the Amazon Marketplace was only about getting stuff on the store in time for testing. So when is Amazon going to actually launch? Maybe next week, but certainly before Christmas. Over in Italy and Germany, Amazon's warehouse workers are on strike as part of a "long-running dispute over pay and conditions".

The big Tesla battery in SA is powered up

The big Tesla battery near the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia is complete, a few days early of the 100-day deadline. It cost the SA tax payer around $50m. The 129MWh battery is currently in testing and will go into operation December 1st and is the largest grid-connected battery in the world. 129MWh is apparently enough to power 30,000 homes for an hour. This Gizmodo AU article has a nice amount of background info on the setup.

NBN might release data on FTTN sync speeds

NBN has a giant database of everyone's connection speeds and the most interesting stuff in that database is a list of sync speeds for those on FTTN. In the ongoing debate as to who is responsible for speeds on the NBN sucking so much (is it ISPs under provisioning? Is it FTTN being a total dog's breakfast?), NBN is constantly being asked to release info on the connection speeds of customers on its network and it's constantly said no. But NBN is starting to change its mind and could release this info if the ISPs don't. Maybe. If it's allowed to.

Personal info of 8,500 Department of Social Services employees leaked

8,500 current and former employees of the Department of Social Services (aka Centerlink) have had their "credit card information, names, user names, work phone numbers, work emails, system passwords, Australian government services number, public service classification and organisation unit" leaked by a contractor - Business Information Services. DSS didn't find out until the Australian Cyber Security Centre told Business Information Services and they fixed the issue within 4 hours. The article doesn't mention what the problem was or even if the data got into the hands of any shady darknet types, but the fact it was just blowing around in the wind, waiting for someone to find it and the Department had no knowledge of any of it is concerning.

More mobile blackspot funding & Vodafone rolls out wi-fi calling

The federal government has announced $60m of funding to fix 106 mobile reception blackspots around the country. This is in addition to the $160m they've already spent in previous funding rounds to fill in gaps in phone coverage lately. There's a list of areas getting new cell towers in the article. Labor reckons it's just pork barrelling in Liberal electorates - which is probably true, a the vast majority are in NSW & QLD. If you're in an area without solid Vodafone signal, you may be pleased to know that they are rolling out wi-fi calling right now and will be done by the end of the year. Telstra and Optus already offer it.

Not News, But Still Cool

Australia gets electric card charging standard recommendations

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is like a lobby group for all the car makers that want to sell in Australia (basically all of em are members) and they've come up with rules about what types of electric car charging plugs should be installed on electric cars sold here. For AC charging, the car should have an IEC 62196-2 Configuration Type 2 socket. For DC charging, it should have a combo IEC 62196-3 Configuration AA (CHAdeMO) or IEC 62196-3 Configuration FF (CCS-2) socket. The FCAI goes on to recommend that public charging infrastructure should include both CHAdeMO and CCS-2 facilities. So there ya go, when electric cars go on sale in Australia around 2030, these standards will come in handy.

What the hell is net neutrality anyways?

If all the net neutrality stuff you've seen around the internet the past few days has you confused, this Guardian article is a great summary of the issues and why you, as a non-American, should care. There's two main reasons breaking net neutrality will suck - it'll cause ISPs to implement confusing, poor value plans, resulting in everyone paying more for worse service. Second, is a "two speed internet" where the big companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon can afford to do deals with big ISPs so their services work nicely, but their smaller competitors, can't do that and are locked out on a slower/less reliable tier. If it goes well for the American ISPs (i.e: make more money), you bet your arse companies like Telstra, TPG and Optus will give it a crack here in Australia.

eBay 10% off sitewide

eBay has 10% off sitewide ($75 min spend) with no end date listed in the T&Cs, use code PANTONE. I'll send out a Wirecutter's best of email tonight/tomorrow. Here's some stuff that I think is cool that won't be in there: Pioneer VSX932 amp - $628.20. LG 55" OLED55B7T TV - $2200.50. Voll B44 bookshelf speakers - $105.25. PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB with 5 games - $454.05. Refurbished Nintendo Switch - $358.20. Google Home Mini - $71.10. Lenovo L27q WQHD IPS monitor - $336.15.

That's it, see ya Monday!