Issue 581

Tuesday, 20th February 2018
I chucked up a blog post summarising the feedback I got from the paid subscriber survey that was conducted last week. I have a lot more clarity around what I need to do next than I did a fortnight ago and feel much less anxious about my future than I did before. Thanks for filling it in everyone!

In This Issue


Apple hands over control of Chinese iCloud to government front

Two bits of Apple news - they've released a bunch of updates to stop that stupid unicode bug and they're now a tool of the domestic Chinese spying program. Part of operating an internet service in China is giving the government full, unfettered access to all your data. Google and Facebook didn't do this, so they were banned from operating, allowing locals like Tencent and Baidu to flourish under the state's thumb. Apple however, have given control over Chinese user's iCloud data to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, so as to comply with Chinese law. Looks like Apple is happy to talk tough against western government attempts to spy on its users, but folds for the Chinese.

UN Secretary General is scared of cyberwar

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wants rules to make sure cyberwars don't end up hurting innocent civilians. He is "absolutely convinced" that "the next war will begin with a massive cyber attack to destroy military capacity... and paralyse basic infrastructure such as the electric networks", and wants the UN to be the venue for scientists and governments to meet and make rules to "to guarantee a more humane character" for cyberwars. NATO is apparently already working on such guidelines, because it reckons hacking in to an enemy's power plants and shutting them down is a way more effective tactic than sending a squadron of fighter jets to bomb it. I reckon Antonio watched a few eps of Black Mirror over the holidays and got scared, hence making this an issue now.

IBM suing Microsoft's new chief diversity officer for stealing its diversity program secrets

IBM is suing Microsoft's new Chief Diversity Officer because it reckons she is stealing IBM's trade secrets. Lindsay-Rae McIntyre worked at IBM for a long time, but recently moved to Microsoft do head up their efforts to get people that aren't white blokes working there. IBM chucked a non-compete clause in her contract, which kinda makes sense, but IBM are alleging that the non-compete clause is enforceable because the things it does to attract a more diverse workforce constitute a trade secret, like KFC's or Coke's secret formulas. You'd think they'd want diversity to flourish industry wide, but it seems IBM wants all the diversity for themselves.

NBN to be fined for missing appointments

The ACCC is going to impose fines on NBN for missed appointments, "some time this year". The ACCC reckons this is the most complained about issue in regards to the NBN, so something has to be done about it and that will be a $25 or so hit every time a tech misses an appointment. 82,552 appointments were missed in 2016, so hopefully this slap on the wrist makes NBN tighten up their scheduling. There's also another senate inquiry into the NBN happening, this time focussing on the NBN's business case (i.e: is this thing actually gonna make money?) and the "capacity and reliability" of the NBN in rural areas.

Adelaide to get more fibre internet, even for homes, if ALP wins state election

More SA election promises from the Labor party today, promising to bring faster internet to Adelaide. The existing Gig City initiative will be re-branded as "The Fishbone" and will make fibre internet access available to homes, as well as businesses. This expansion of the Gig City network would also allow for telcos to resell it to anyone that wants it - homes included. The government owns the backbone and the last mile would be handled by someone else. The plan is very light on detail right now, with the SA government planning to consult with industry on the idea if they win the election. At least it's on their radar though. Victoria should do the same thing.

Not News, But Still Cool

Let's have a squiz at some Chrome extensions

Do ya miss the "view image" button in Google Images? Bring it back with this Chrome extension. It works well, but it's a shame there's nothing for Safari or Firefox yet. And on the topic of Chrome extensions, Wired has a nice list of ones they enjoy using. Personally, I don't use too many. Instapaper to save non-tech stuff I wanna read later. Pocket to save stuff I want to mention in The Sizzle. 1Password for using the 1Password password manager. That's it. But after reading Wired's list of extensions, I might give The Great Suspender a shot so I don't get a random tab that's been sitting there for ages, hogging up CPU and RAM. You got any nice Chrome extensions I should be using, post on The Sizzle forums about it!

Blockchain expert? No, money down!

RMIT has launched Australia's first short course about the blockchain. "Developing Blockchain Strategy" is an online course, that costs $1300, goes for 8 weeks and starts March 19th. According to the course description, it's "an introduction to the blockchain basics. We'll start with the technology itself – the foundational structures and how they work. Then we'll take a look at the scope of the wider blockchain industry. The key stakeholders. The scale and pace of investment. And how you can apply these learnings to your own business." - sounds absolutely useless to me, but you can chuck BLOCKCHAIN EXPERT on your resume and get a mad $150k/yr consulting job and quit before anyone notices you're a charlatan.

20% off tech eBay, very cheap DJI Spark drones & Vodafone SIM cards

eBay's latest 20% off tech sale has kicked off again. The code this time is P20TECH. Some highlights from Ozbargain below:

Unrelated to the eBay sale: Telstra is selling the DJI Spark drone, together with a bonus controller, for $579 - cheapest I've ever seen it for AU stock. Vodafone have SIM cards with 18GB of data on em, valid for 35 days, for $15.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Radiohead - Man of War