Issue 665

Monday, 25th June 2018

In This Issue


Apple start a 4-year repair program for dodgy MacBook keyboards

Apple has launched a repair program for all the laptops with keyboards using those really shallows keys that have a nasty tendency to stop working, as soon as a speck of dust gets in under the key. There isn't an improved design, so even though you get the keyboard repaired for free, chances are it'll get damaged again soon enough. This repair program is valid for 4-years after the purchase date of the computer and Apple will even offer refunds to anyone who paid to have their keyboard fixed before this repair program launched. Full details are on Apple's website.

Hacker exposes flaws in national online property conveyancing system & pockets $250k

When ya buy a house, a system called PEXA is what conveyancers use to organise where the money goes. Unfortunately, it seems this online system is easily attacked, as "MasterChef finalist Dani Venn" found out when buying her home. Her conveyancer's email was hacked, the hacker logged in to PEXA, made themselves a new account, changed the bank account listed on settlement details on the property sale to their own and pocketed a nifty $250,000. This stuff is supposed to be secured with a physical USB key and unique PIN, but the conveyancer didn't notice the change and it all went through. Australian Institute of Conveyancers now wants 2FA on PEXA so changes like this don't go unnoticed again. In the meantime, Dani is left $250,000 poorer while nobody wants to take responsibility for the mistake.

Uber's robocar seat warmer was watching The Voice when she was accessory to a murder

The woman who was supposed to be in control of the self-driving car operated by Uber, has been found to be watching The Voice on Hulu whilst the vehicle she was in slammed into a person crossing the road with a bicycle. According to the police report, the accident was entirely avoidable if the person watching The Voice was watching the road and if Uber did not disable the emergency breaking system in the car. Basically if everyone involved wasn't so needlessly careless, Elaine Herzberg wouldn't have needlessly died. Technically the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, but the Tempe police haven't decided whether to charge her or not yet - probably waiting for the NTSB report to be finalised.

Online doctor booking service is selling patient data to ambulance chasing lawyers

HealthEngine, "Australia's biggest online doctor's appointment booking service" has been exposed scanning people's appointment details for specific keywords, then forward the matching appointments to Slater & Gordon so they can try and talk to the patient about running a legal action on their behalf. HealthEngine reckons this is okay because in the very fine print that nobody reads, it mentions that anyone using HealthEngine to book a doctor's appointment agrees to have their data sold off to various entities. The old "hide behind our terms and conditions when we're found out to be dodgy" defence - scumbags.

NBN install problems come under current and future government scrutiny

The ALP is pledging to do something about the scourge of missed NBN tech appointments if they get into government. The NBN Service Guarantee would hand out penalties to NBN to techs that don't show up or there's prolonged NBN downtime. That may or may not actually happen (ALP has to win an election first), but what is happening as of the 21st of September is the Consumer Information Standard and Service Continuity Standard. This new law means that if your RSP can't give you an NBN connection within a reasonable period of time, they have to roll you back to your old internet connection or provide you with a suitable alternative.

Not News, But Still Cool

IT workers united will never be defeated!

Do you work in IT or design? Sick of your boss being a dickhead and making you do stuff you aren't being paid to do? Stick up for yourself and join your union. A group of like minded people, together with reps from the various unions covering tech and design workers will be meeting up in Sydney & Melbourne on the 4th of July at 6:30pm. If it interests you, you should go along and see what they have to say. On your own your voice may not be heard, but all of you together can be an unstoppable force. Solidarity comrades!

Explain Shell is a great way to understand shell commands

I've been using command line interfaces for decades and I still get tripped up by certain commands. is a super handy site where you can dump in a command and it'll tell you what it does with a brilliant breakdown of the command to show you what each option does. For example, chuck in ls -laph and it'll tell you that the "ls" bit lists the contents of a directory and then break down the -laph bit into each individual option. Very cool stuff. I wish this was a thing back when I was at uni.

A deep dive into one of my favourite topics - fibre optic submarine cables

Sometimes articles pop up that I wish I wrote myself and this one from Arstechnica about fibre optic submarine cables is one of em. It goes through and explains in great detail making the cables, laying the cables, the protocols used to shove data through the cables, terminating the cables on land, making sure the equipment that sends data through the cables is kept alive, monitoring the cable's health and ends with an explanation of the last mile where it goes from fibre optics to your crappy VDSL or HFC home connection. I loved it.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Custard - Love Measurer