Issue 534

Monday, 4th December 2017

In This Issue


ACCC to investigate the digital disruption of media industry

For some reason, the ACCC is looking into "digital platforms" and will investigate "the effect that digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms have on competition in media and advertising services markets". It's an incredibly broad scope. The ACCC wants to know so many things, I can't even fit it in to this summary, but basically, they want to know if all this digital stuff that's taking money away from traditional outlets is ruining journalism and if the digital stuff is also not playing fairly when it comes to the publisher/creator divide. The final report of the inquiry is due mid-2019.

Apple's week of software bugs continues

Over the weekend, people's iPhones running iOS 11 starting rebooting themselves every 10-30 seconds due to yet another embarrassing bug, when an app shoots off a daily notification after your device’s clock passes 12:15 AM on December 2nd, 2017. To fix it and that weird bug that auto-corrected "it" to "I.T", Apple released iOS 11.2 early. As The Verge explains, this, combined with the root login bug that had multiple patches released to fix it, makes for a rough week over at Apple's software quality control team.

NSW quietly expands electronic voting eligibility to more citizens

The NSW state government currently uses electronic voting software iVote to take the votes of blind and vision impaired people, as well as those voting outside NSW. A law quietly passed in NSW's parliament last week that allows early voters and silent electors to vote electronically using iVote. There's now a formal process to upgrade iVote to improve "system security and voting protocol integrity", with a $5.4m budget. All this happened with basically zero oversight and no debate as to the merits and risks of electronic voting. Is it just me, or is that's a little concerning?

The Petro is Venezuela's petroleum cryptocurrency that's totally legit and above board

Venezuela is launching its own cryptocurrency called Petro. President Maduro said in a weird live 5-hour broadcast that it will be backed by "Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas and diamonds" and is a way for Venezuela to fight back against US sanctions that are crippling its economy. I'm not an economist, but how would a cryptocurrency run by the same people that print the money nobody wants and backed by the same reserves the worthless bolivar is backed by, do anything for Venezuela? Anyway, there's 0 details beyond el presidente's 5-hour rant. Might not even happen.

The HFC part of the NBN is stuffed because of Foxtel and NBN is stuck with it

We now know why NBN is persisting with the HFC network instead of simply dropping it and using the cheaper FTTC technology - Foxtel. As part of the NBN's agreement with Telstra to buy the HFC network off the telco, NBN has to keep the HFC network active for as long as Foxtel wants to use it. Sources close to the AFR reckon the reason the HFC rollout is going so badly is mostly due to the complexity of Foxtel sharing the cable with NBN and the fact the network was never designed to service 100% of the footprint it was installed in.

Not News, But Still Cool

Everything you wanted to know about Bitcoin but were afraid to ask

Still confused as to what the hell is going on with Bitcoin? All the answers to your basic Bitcoin questions are probably answered in this excellent Arstechnica article. It answers what a Bitcoin is, what's made it explode in value lately, what you can use Bitcoin for, why is it worth so much despite so little uses, how to buy Bitcoin, how to turn your Bitcoin into US dollars and if it's true each Bitcoin transaction uses 271kW of electricity. The article won't make you rich, but it's perfect to get you up to speed with what the hell Bitcoin is all about.

The Sunshine Coast Council is planning a fibre optic cable across the Pacific Ocean

Did you know that the Sunshine Coast Council is gonna build a fibre optic submarine cable from the Sunshine Coast to the USA or Guam? They already finished a feasibility study that said the project is feasible and are now looking for someone to partner with. Their rationale is that the Sunshine Coast is over 1000km north of Sydney, so having all their internet traffic go via Sydney is a bit lame. Speeds would be improved for not just the Sunshine Coast, but for Brisbane too, if there was a cable direct from QLD to the USA. Nice to see a local council see a project like this as something worthwhile.

Cheap Google Home, Qi charging battery, Daydream View, CarPlay/Android Auto headunit & Meraki gear

Officeworks will be selling the Google Home for $128 on Thursday. Harvey Norman have a 6000mAh battery bank with a Qi charging mat on the top for $20. Google will be selling the latest version of the Daydream View VR headset for $119. The Pioneer MVH-Z5050BT CarPlay & Android Auto headunit is $403.91 once you redeem a $100 cashback offer. Sit through a Meraki sales pitch webinar on the 13th or 14th of December and get a free Cisco Meraki MX64 security appliance.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!