Issue 554

Monday, 15h January 2018

In This Issue


Everyone in Hawaii thought they were gonna get nuked because clicked the wrong button

Over the weekend, Hawaii was sent into a state of panic when an emergency alert was sent to all the smartphones in the state saying there's an incoming ballistic missile and that it wasn't a drill. For 40 minutes people legitimately thought they were going to die because of the poor UI on a web-based form front end for the emergency system that was undergoing routine checks, that lead to "an employee pushed the wrong button". To make matters worse, "there was no way to automatically cancel or recall the message". Time for a good ol' fashioned root and branch review of that system I reckon.

Chelsea Manning running for the US Senate

Chelsea Manning, the hero (or villain, depending on your point of view), who gave all those US embassy cables to Wikileaks back in 2013, was sent to prison for it, then was released from prison by President Obama, is getting into politics. She's running for the federal Senate as a Democrat in Maryland. It seems unlikely Chelsea will get party nomination, as she's up against some insider heavies with better funding and connections, but it's cool to see her having a shot and constantly standing up for what she believes in.

South Korea might ban or heavily regulate cryptocurrency trading

South Korea is considering joining China and tightly regulating cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, the South Korean government "likened the market to gambling and warned that it encourages illicit behavior", but the move to regulate the cryptocurrency industry also comes "out of a fear that when the bubble bursts and things go wrong, it will be all on the government", according to an economist. Of course, South Koreans who have skin in the game reckon the government simply doesn't understand and should leave it alone. I bet they'll change their tune soon as shit hits the fan.

GM wants a Chevy Bolt with no human input possible on the road by 2019

GM are keen to get a version of the Chevy Bolt on the road with no steering wheel and no pedals. An autonomous car with no way for a human to take control when it inevitably makes a mistake. Sounds like something they'd be ready for in about 2030, right? Nah, GM wants it out in 2019 for their ridesharing service and the only thing holding them back is pesky government regulation. Also in Detroit, Ford has made yet another grand statement that they're all-in on electric cars. $11b investment, 40 cars by 2022, etc. etc. I've lost track of how many times Ford (and Volkswagen) have said this. Shut up and start selling them!

Government misses its own deadline for responding to games industry report

In April 2016, a senate inquiry report was handed down with heaps of recommendations for how to give the game industry a boost and create more jobs and businesses to tax. One of the final things I wrote last year was that the games industry in Australia is waiting for the federal government to give it some attention. Unfortunately, the government has missed its own deadline for responding to the report and putting some of those recommendations in action. Further evidence that the current government has no clue about technology.

Not News, But Still Cool

Copperhead is a more secure version of Android for your Nexus devices

Copperhead is a fork of the Android Open Source Project to built a super secure and private version of Android. Copperhead achieves this by including security patches for Android on a regular basis and only allowing apps from the F-Droid repository, which are all open-source and vetted by F-Secure. No Google Play Store allowed. Tarus Balog installed Copperhead OS on one of his Nexus 6P and published a great report of what it's like to run Copperhead OS. It's pretty smooth if you're content with using sometimes not as slick open-source alternatives for internet services. I don't know how I'd go without a smartphone running Google Maps. I'd literally be lost without it.

Tips for getting a cheap, but still solid, VPS

If you're in the market for a cheap VPS, is a nifty way to sort through the plethora of offers on the market. It lets ya sort & filter by various criteria like amount of RAM & disk, virtualisation type, price, location and more. There's also, which digs up offers from VPS hosts around the world on their blog. If you want to compare servers, is a handy script that you can install on multiple boxes and run some benchmarks to see which one of those $5 servers performs best so you can get bang for your buck.

eBay 20% off tech tomorrow, cheap 75" TV, Sonos Play:5 & Steam Link

eBay has a 20% off tech sale starting tomorrow at 10AM. Of course, I'll fill you in on the best stuff that's actually worth buying. Fingers crossed there's not a lot of price jacking when the sale begins. If you missed out on that 75" 4K TV from Aldi on the weekend, Catch of the Day has some of a similar quality for $1699 too and with free delivery. Sonos looking to expand their collection will be glad to know that Addicted to Audio are selling the 2nd generation Play:5 for $589 with free delivery - a solid $150 cheaper than anywhere else in Australia. EB are practically giving away the Steam Link unit, as they're only asking $29 for one, and will throw in $20 of Steam credit. You're basically getting the Steam Link for $9!

That's it, see ya tomorrow!