Issue 563

Thursday, 25th January 2018
No Sizzle tomorrow because it's a public holiday for Australia Day. Next issue will be sent out on Monday the 29th of Jan.

In This Issue


National program will get high quality cybersecurity courses in to TAFEs

The government is getting serious about training Australians to fight cyberwars (or at least cleaning up the mess made by random Chinese and Russian hackers), launching the National Cybersecurity TAFE Qualification program today. TAFEs across Australia will now offer certificate and diploma level cybersecurity courses, with coursework based on input from the IT industry. Like most TAFE courses, it takes a more hands on approach to cybersecurity, teaching practical skills that are useful now, rather than theoretical stuff and conducting research like at university. Sounds like a good thing to be training people on I reckon.

Qualcomm gets a $1.5b fine from the EC for abusing LTE radio market dominance

For a few years, if you wanted an LTE radio that wasn't a power hog or full of (alleged) Chinese backdoors, Qualcomm was the only game in town. Qualcomm knew this and made sure that Apple wouldn't support its upcoming competitors by giving Apple special discounts for not using anyone but Qualcomm's LTE radios. The EC rightfully reckons that's illegal and gave Qualcomm a 997 million Euro (A$1.5b) slap on the wrist. This same case is being argued in the USA, so it'll be interesting if the FTC come to the same conclusion as the Europeans. Qualcomm is appealing the EC's decision.

PwC called in to see why DET's $20m apprenticeship system is 6 years late

Oh look, another federal government IT project that's severely late and over budget! The Department of Education and Training set aside $20m to build a national apprenticeship management system due in 2012 and NEC ended up with the contract (before DET even finished the requirements for the project, hmm), yet have failed over and over to get anything out the door. Now, PwC are getting called to look at what's gone wrong and to try get it back on track. What a plush gig that would be. Easy money for PwC to tell DET and NEC they're incompetent and greedy then walk away as the problem doesn't get resolved and some other contractor is called in to do the work DET wanted over 6 years ago.

UK govt to set up an anti-fake news unit that'll stop fake news somehow?

All the Russian fake news nonsense going on in the USA has spooked the UK something shocking and made them do something very British about it - create a new bureaucracy. The National Security Communications Unit is "tasked with combating disinformation by state actors and others" and will "more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities". I don't know what they're gonna do in practice, deploy an army of people on government benefits to trawl social media and flag posts to Facebook/Twitter/Google that spread bullshit? I know the easiest way the UK can stop fake news - arrest everyone working at the Daily Mail.

Apple releases loads of updates & previews iOS 11.3

All the Apple gear got software updates today - iOS 11.2.5, tvOS 11.2.5, watchOS 4.2.2 and macOS 10.13.3. Nothing major, usual "improvements and bug fixes" sorta stuff. Apple also gave us a heads up on what's coming in iOS 11.3: more Animoji, AirPlay 2, updates to ARKit, medical records the Health app, big improvements to Safari, the ability to control device speed throttling and finally, Messages on iCloud. macOS server (that's still a thing?) is getting a heavy depreciation in "spring 2018", with many features getting the chop. RIP macOS server.

Not News, But Still Cool

Get podcasts on ya Apple Watch with Outcast

The ability to listen to podcasts on the Apple Watch is something many of us, me included, really want. Marco Arment reckons it's not possible, but a braver man, Quentin Zervaas, has taken up the challenge and released Outcast on the App Store for $1.49. Install this app on your iPhone, it'll add it to your Watch and then on the watch, you can download podcasts directly. You can even import your podcasts directly from PocketCasts. Playback is still a bit flakey every now and then, thanks to Apple's crappy support for 3rd party apps, but until Apple release a native podcast app, Outcast is the best we've got!

Practical guide on Meltdown & Spectre for home users

There's been so much stuff about Spectre and Meltdown on the internet, that I've ignored most of it because it seems like a massive mess right now. If I worked in enterprise IT still (I pray to God daily that I never end up back there), I'd be more on the ball. That said, I still have computers I'm responsible for around the joint, so how do I make sure my friends and family aren't ruined by this exploit? Posh Security has the best practical guide I've seen so far. Apple users have it easy - just install the latest updates on all your gear. It gets trickier for Windows users though, particularly with vendor BIOS updates.

Cheap cameras, Samsung S7, GoPro 5, tablet stand & Sony speakers

digiDIRECT have 15% off Sony/Olympus and 10% off Nikon/Panasonic gear. Combine it with a few manufacturer cashback offers running at the moment and there's some sweet deals on photo gear. Amazon Australia has the GoPro Hero 5 Black for $349. JB Hi-Fi are selling the Samsung Galaxy S7 for $588 prob the best Android unit around at that price with local warranty. Decent quality folding tablet stand for $1.15 at Gearbest. I ordered one - for a buck, why not? Sony SRS-XB40 blingy speaker (lots of people like it & think it sounds good for the price) is just $159 at Myer.

That's it, see ya Monday!