Issue 539

Monday, 11th December 2017

In This Issue


Optus to join Telstra in refunding FTTN NBN users they ripped off

A few weeks ago, Telstra handed out compo to ~42,000 people it sold NBN plans to, on speeds it knew customers would never achieve. Now Optus has admitted to the ACCC that it's done the the same thing to 8,700 of its customers and will give them compensation too. These customers are mostly chumps stuck on FTTN style NBN and Optus were selling them speed upgrades despite their sync speeds being well below the plan they've paid for - e.g: you're paying for 50/20 Mbps, but your crappy copper wire only syncs at 30/9 Mbps.

Australian Bitcoin exchanges need to comply with anti-money laundering laws now

If you wanna run a Bitcoin exchange in Australia, you'll now need to register it with AUSTRAC. The anti-money laundering regulator now treats cryptocurrency the same as cash, so all the same pesky rules apply. Bitcoin exchanges will need to "identify and verify their customers, keep records of transactions, report threshold transactions and suspicious matters, and run an anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing program". If you operate a crypto exchange and don't register, there's big fines and jail time in your future.

Google decides against kicking apps inappropriately using accessibility APIs off the Play Store

About a month ago, Google threatened to start removing apps from the Play Store that use accessibility APIs to do "power user" things the API was never designed to do. Apps like Tasker that performs actions when apps are launched or Greenify, to shut apps down if they're hogging power take advantage of accessibility APIs to do their thing. This upset many, many people, who didn't want their useful apps taken away, so Google is "pausing" their decision to remove these apps from the Play Store while it comes up with a way to make sure the APIs aren't abused, but still provide a way for users of these apps to keep on enjoying them.

Apple: Jony Ive is back in charge of design, some robocar AI stuff & prob buying Shazam

Here's some Apple news, that whilst on their own are relatively minor, but added together, make something worth caring about. Apple’s director of artificial intelligence research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, spoke at a conference about how they use machine learning to analyse data from a car's cameras and LiDAR to spot cyclists and pedestrians. There's solid rumours flying around that Apple is gonna drop a few hundred million dollars to buy Shazam and bake it into Siri natively. Jony Ive is back in charge of design after 2 years working on the Apple Park campus. He is still Chief Design Officer, but now all the designers at Apple are back reporting to Jony, whereas since mid-2015, Jony was seemingly just floating around doing whatever and we all thought he was gonna retire.

GoGet struggles to roll out electric car sharing in Australia

You've probably seen those little GoGet cars parked around most inner-city locations in Australia - well you're gonna see a couple of plug-in electric hybrids sporting GoGet logos soon as they've partnered up with an office developer to place them in their building's garages, where they have a spot to charge. Unfortunately, GoGet can't go full electric, despite the savings they'd realise on fuel & maintenance, because there simply isn't enough charging infrastructure around and the scarce few models available in Australia are way too expensive. Damn shame.

Not News, But Still Cool

Cheap GoPro, Civ5, Google Home Mini, Pixel 2 smartphones & Optus plans

GoPro Hero 5 Black for $388 on VideoPro's eBay store (use code P5OZZIE). EB have Civ 5 Complete Edition for $23. Google are selling the Home Mini for $55 with free shipping (it's $1 less at JB/Officeworks, but you gotta put on pants to buy em or pay extra to have it shipped). JB Hi-Fi has $100 off the Pixel 2 XL or $80 off the Pixel 2. Optus have the iPhone 8 or Samsung Galaxy S8 with 20GB of data for only $59/m. Optus are also offering iPad Pros with 100GB of data starting $52.50/month. Great way to get loads of mobile data at a low price - get the SIM, sell the iPad if ya don't need it, works out to around $25/m for 100GB of 4G data!

How to buy some Bitcoin in Australia

Heaps of people have asked me how to buy some Bitcoin in the last few days, which isn't surprising considering all the hype around it right now. My answer to them is simply, Coinjar. I use it, it's well priced, the app is slick, it's Australian and there's real support people you can contact for help. If you're keen on investing, read this article about how Bitcoin is useless and doesn't do what it was designed to and how 1,000 people own 40% of the Bitcoin market, so they have extraordinary influence on the movement of that market.

All along the cell tower (cool guitar riff)

Pardon me for getting all existential and shit, but Check out this image from The Atlantic's 2017 photos of the year (image 13, if the link doesn't work properly). It was taken a few days after the hurricane that ravaged Puerto Rico. All those people standing in a field to get close to a mobile phone tower, holding their glass and plastic rectangles to the sky in the hope of improved signal looks bizarre. Understandable, entirely. I'd be one of those people. It just looks so dystopian despite being so real.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!