Issue 582

Wednesday, 21st February 2018

In This Issue


National Audit Office reckons ATO will struggle to be competent with their IT systems

Remember how through most of last year, we were laughing that the ATO's incompetence at operating computers? Constant server failures and prolonged downtime for upgrades resulted in an investigation into the ATO's IT setup by the Australian National Audit Office. That audit is now over and said that the ATO's documented plans on what to do when stuff breaks wasn't up to scratch and didn't take into account that their systems were poorly designed in the first place. The audit contains 14 recommendations and the ATO has already taken on board 10 of them, but ANAO still reckons the ATO will struggle to actually get those recommendations in place.

RIP Swype keyboard for iOS and Android

Bad news for those who love sliding their finger around a piece of glass to type in messages - the Swype keyboard for iOS and Android is no more. Nuance, who acquired Swype for $100m in 2011, have decided to focus on selling its wares to businesses, not consumers and is ending development of Swype, as well as Dragon Dictate for iOS and Android. Nuance reckons it can make more money aiming its time at making sure when doctors speak into a microphone, their words are accurately turned into text on a computer. Fair enough I guess, nobody is paying for a smartphone keyboard these days anyways.

Tesla's cloud servers were used to mine crypto

Tesla got hacked and had its cloud servers used to mine cryptocurrency. Someone managed to get in to Tesla's Amazon and Microsoft cloud accounts after getting in to Tesla's Kubernetes admin console, which didn't have a password on it. From there, they were able to see Tesla's AWS and Azure keys. Once they hackers had em, they installed crypto mining software and gradually ramped up the intensity of the mining, as to just blend in with Tesla's computing activity. The hackers also potentially had access to sensitive info like all the telemetry of cars out on the road, that feed data back to Tesla for diagnostic purposes. It's all fixed now, and Tesla doesn't think the hackers were around long or snagged any sensitive info. Still pretty crap though.

Virgin Hyperloop signs planning agreement with Mumbai and Pune

It's all systems go for the Virgin Hyperloop One team, who have signed a deal with the Indian State of Maharashtra to build a hyperloop line between Pune and Mumbai. These two cities are massive, with a combined population of 26 million - that's more than all of Australia! So it's not surprising that travelling the 150km between the two cities takes 3 hours. Hyperloop plans to get that down to 25 minutes. A six-month in-depth feasibility study will begin now, which will hopefully lead to a demo track in 2-3 years and the full route complete in 5-7 years. God speed Hyperloop!

Doctors angry about failure of computerised exam system

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians tried to do its first ever computer based exam on Monday and it sucked. The exam was carried out by Pearson Vue and when everyone came back from their mid-exam break (it's a mammoth exam that pretty much determines if someone can be a specialist doctor), the testing system locked them out and they couldn't finish the exam off, resulting in a failure grade for the student. Obviously, students are super angry about it - not just because they have to resit the exam (on paper) on the 2nd of March, but because most of them had to take time off work (not easy for a doctor), had holidays planned around the original exam date and just the mental stress of having to go through the entire exam process a second time. Computers - ya can't trust them.

Not News, But Still Cool

Hyundai to bring its electric SUV to Australia by the end of 2018

Hyundai has confirmed that a full electric version of their new Kona small SUV will be on sale in Australia "by the end of 2018". The Kona EV is pretty cool in that it's an SUV (a popular car form factor), will do around 300km of real world range (heaps for most people) and is relatively affordable at around $50,000. What was also interesting in this article is a glimpse into why car makers seem so reluctant to bring EVs here: "We're taking a great risk with IONIQ and Kona [EV] when we bring them in, and we're hoping we don't have to go through the same harsh learning as Nissan with the LEAF and Mitsubishi with the i-MIEV" - basically, Hyundai (and I assume the rest of the industry) don't want to be left with unsold stock of an old model like Nissan was with the LEAF years ago.

Samsung to start making 30TB SSDs in a 2.5" form factor

Samsung has started "mass production" of a 30.72TB SSD that fits in a 2.5"/15mm thick form factor. Yep, 30TB of storage the size of a pack of ciggies - welcome to 2018! It uses a SAS-12Gbps interface (which I think is backwards compatible with SATA?) to talk to your computer and is capable of read/write speeds up to 2100MB/1700MB per second. There's a 40GB DDR4 SDRAM cache on the PM1643, which if you've seen the pricing for DDR4 RAM lately, you'd know would cost a fair bit just on its own. Samsung hasn't announced pricing, but if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it anyways.

There's a few catches to running Windows 10 on ARM CPUs

I am excited about Windows 10 running on ARM CPUs - all day battery life, thin and light machines, fully featured and more than powerful enough for using Office & a web browser. It sounds great, but Microsoft's revealed some gotchas that might make Win10 on ARM suck. 64-bit apps, apps that "modify the Windows user interface" and use OpenGL or DirectX versions older than v9, all won't work. There's also no Hyper-V support (who's running a VM on an ARM device anyways) and the biggest issue I can foresee, x86 drivers won't work. If you've got, for example, a USB device that needs a driver to work in Windows, unless that driver is written for ARM, you can't use it.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Cosmic Psychos - Last Round