Issue 587

Wednesday, 28th February 2018

In This Issue


WA health incapable of implementing IT systems without major blowouts

Despite Western Australia being so far away from the rest of civilisation, they are not immune from classic government IT project disasters. An interim report commissioned by the WA state government into a series of WA health IT project disasters has said that "WA's health IT investments have shown an "inability" to deliver what has been required", due to systemic issues that have "swallowed up large amounts of money for little benefit, creating a "culture of distrust" in the management of IT". Two projects highlighted in the report are a centralised computing contract with Fujitsu in 2016 that had an $81m blowout (imagine how that could have been spent on patients instead) and the IT fit-out of the Fiona Stanley Hospital in 2015 that was so bad, the hospital was late to open. Good luck to these clowns implementing mandatory electronic health records.

Microsoft at the Supreme Court over foreign email access & Congress passes law to make website operators responsible for content of users

Lawyers at US tech companies are laughing all the way to the bank today, as some new laws that seriously impact how any American business on the internet handle data. US Congress passed a bill that's designed to make website operators stop turning a blind eye to sex trafficking on their platforms, by making them responsible for the actions of their users. At the Supreme Court, Microsoft is taking one for the team by arguing that they should not be forced by the US government to hand over emails kept on a server outside the USA. The government, obviously, wants this power. The Supreme Court reckons it should be up to congress to legislate this if that's what they want. A final decision on this long running matter will be released in a few months.

Nokia and Vodafone team up with Audi to put 4G on the moon

Nokia and Vodafone are going to install a 4G network on the moon. What? Why? How? Huh? A company called PTScientists is working with Audi to do the first privately funded moon landing in 2019 and Audi is giving them two little lunar "quattro" rovers to investigate NASA's Apollo 17 lunar rover. Vodafone is involved as it wants to operate a 4G network between the two rovers to transmit "scientific data" and Vodafone asked Nokia to build the hardware that'll create the moon network. It's all obviously a stunt, but still, pretty cool. One small step for man, one, giant leap for public relations.

Amazon buys Ring (the fancy internet doorbell) for US$1b

You've probably seen those Ring doorbells around - the fancy ones with a camera on it that send a push notification and live video to your smartphone when someone presses it. Yeah they're owned by Amazon now. Amazon hasn't said how much they spent to acquire Ring, but Reuters reckons its around US$1b. The aim, you assume for Amazon, is to use the Ring to merge in with what they have planned for that Cloud Cam thing which allows couriers to open your front door and leave parcels inside. Alexa is already supported on the Ring, so yeah, Amazon spent $1b on a door bell company.

Hyundai releases info on western launch of Kona EV

Heads up electric car fans, Hyundai has dropped news of a world wide release of a battery powered version of the Kona. For those of you not into cars, the Kona is a small SUV style thing that'll do 300km/470km of range off a single charge depending which model you get. It looks alright and shouldn't be too expensive either. The best bit is that it might actually come out in Australia, with Hyundai AU saying they plan to bring it here in late-2018, for sub-$50k. So the race is on, Nissan LEAF, or the Hyundai Kona? *whispers in background* Model 3, Model 3.. Model 3.. *whispers* Did you hear that? Anyway, if you're into EVs, I write often on Drive Zero about this stuff, you should read it.

Not News, But Still Cool

Wacom have new fancy tablets you can draw cool stuff on

Arty types have a new piece of tech to lust over - the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24. It's a 24" tablet that plugs into a Mac or PC and appears as a second display you can draw on. This new one has a 4K UHD, IPS display with 98% Adobe RGB colour accuracy and 10-bit colour. Wacom also claim it has "close to zero latency" and support for 8,192 levels of sensitivity. That's cool and all, but Wacom have taken the Cintiq to a new level with little computer you can plug in to the new Cintiq Pro that makes it a standalone unit. The Cintiq Pro Engine is a full blown computer with an "Intel processor, up to 32GB of RAM, NVIDIA graphics, and an SSD" that slides in to the back of the display. It's not cheap, with the display going for US$2,500 and the base model Engine module an extra US$2,500, but it's cool as hell. A 32" version is coming later this year.

Sandisk has PCIe SD cards now

Sandisk (aka Western Digital) has been busy at MWC, showing off two new achievements in the SD card market. First, there's a 400GB micro SD card with support for A2 speeds. 400GB of data stored on a piece of plastic and sand the size of a thumbnail that'll read and write at 100MB/sec. What a time to be alive, etc, etc. Also interesting, was a technical demo of an SD card that runs on the PCIe bus. Yep, an SD card with a PCIe 3.0 x1 interface that's also backwards compatible with the UHS-II/III spec. Wild. Absolutely wild. I'm surprised they can get data on or off that card fast enough considering there's only a single flash memory chip on it, compared to dozens on a typical PCIe SSD.

Uber makes traffic way worse in most American cities

Uber and Lyft are making congestion worse, not better. Wow, what a surprise. These taxi companies disguising themselves as tech companies claim to cities that they should be allowed to operate because they fill in the last mile of public transport systems - i.e: getting to a bus, train or tram because it's too far to walk to a stop. But according to a study of Uber users on Boston, hardly anyone uses it like that. They're using Uber to go door to door, which adds more cars to the road, increasing congestion. 49% to 61% of people that responded said they'd not have bothered to make the trip, or gone via other non-car options, if Uber didn't exist. Thanks silicon valley tech bros, thanks a lot.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

The Avalanches - Because I'm Me