Issue 669

Friday, 29th June 2018

In This Issue


Facebook & Twitter launch ad transparency features

Facebook and Twitter have released new ad transparency systems so you can see who is responsible for the messages paid to be shoved in front of you on social media. For Facebook, "you can go to a Page and you'll see a new "Info and Ads" button, which you can click to get information like when it was created, name history and see all the ads it has served since day one". For Twitter, visit the Ads Transparency Center where you can "search for any Twitter handle and bring up all the ad campaigns from that account that have run for the past seven days". The main aim of all this is to see who's placing political ads and finding out what groups they're targeting with a particular message. It'll be interesting to see these transparency tools in action during the next election.

KPMG & the ABS rigged an "independent" report into their IT setup post-2016 Census

After the 2016 Census debacle, KPMG was called in to do an independent audit the Australian Bureau of Statistics' IT practices. It's now come out in court that the report was tweaked to suit KPMG & the ABS predetermined goals and that the person writing the report was sacked for refusing to write what he was told instead of the truth. It looks like the ABS boss David Kalisch told KPMG to make sure the report "would result in census funding invested in the bureau's program to overhaul ageing IT infrastructure", rather than paint an accurate picture of what's going on. KPMG would benefit as they'd get new contracts to work on an ABS IT overhaul and the ABS boss benefits as he gets to do an overhaul and look cool for "saving the ABS". Pigs with their snouts in the trough as usual.

Government departments fail to properly implement the ASD’s cyber mitigation strategies

And on the topic of audits, the Australian National Audit Office did their thing on three government departments - Treasury, the National Archives and Geosceince Australia - to see if they comply with the Signals Directorate's top four cyber mitigation strategies so they don't get hacked. Treasury was fine in meeting the ASD's simple tasks to prevent getting owned, which makes sense I guess as they have all the cash and that's pretty important, but Archives and Geoscience failed to do pretty much everything on the ASD's list. Geoscience in particular achieved none of the relatively basic tasks like whitelisting apps and installing patches within 30 days.

LG guilty of not adhering to consumer law, but not guilty of failing to tell customers about their rights

Back in 2015, the ACCC took LG to court over what it perceived to be some consumer law breaches regarding support for products outside the warranty period. It wasn't successful, but appealed and yesterday the court came back with some mixed results. First of all, LG was found guilty of not repairing TVs that whilst were outside of LG's warranty, were still entitled to refund, repair or replacement under the ACL. However, LG wasn't found guilty of failing to inform customers that they had those options under the ACL, something the ACCC thinks is misleading, but the court doesn't.

Honda has retired Asimo

Honda has announced it's going to stop developing Asimo, its dorky humanoid robot that you've probably seen at a shopping centre back in the early 2000s. Apparently it was the first robot to walk on two legs. That's kinda cool. There's been no new updates to Asimo since 2011. Honda will be focusing its efforts to use what it's learned from Asimo into physical therapy products and self-driving vehicles. I'm so glad I got to see Asimo in action at Disneyland's World of Tomorrow before he retired. I wonder what they'll do with the Asimo units no longer required? Can I buy one? I'd like one to wander around my house.

Not News, But Still Cool is a great way to get some words up on the web really quick

I think I've mentioned this before, but is a really simple web publishing platform built by Rob Beschizza. You write some stuff, hit publish and boom, it's online for you to share. It uses basic Markdown to format stuff and add links and the pages stay alive permanently. Search engines are told not to index it to keep spammers away. Here's a little page I put up to test what the deal with is. It's so basic, but to have this sort of publishing power would have been a miracle only 30 years ago.

A super detailed NAS build blog post

When most people ask me what type of NAS they should get, I point them to the Synology website and tell them to pick one with enough drive bays they need. Problem solved. But for hardcore users, the total data hoarders (that's a great sub-reddit by the way) that want like 100TB of storage, building your own NAS can work out to be much cheaper and more flexible. Jason Rose went into way too much detail about his NAS build, but it serves as a great read before you attempt to build your own so you can learn from his mistakes.

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That's it, see ya Monday!

The Offspring - Killboy Powerhead