Issue 690

Monday, 30th July 2018

In This Issue


Old man stumbles upon private Telstra customer data searching for tech support

A bloke who says he isn't computer savvy, went to ">9NEWS with the story he could access the personal details of over 66,000 Telstra customers simply by searching for the word "email" on Telstra's Tools website. All old mate wanted was find out how to fix his email (how cute is it he went to the Telstra website and searched for the word email to get help with his email), but instead stumbled across this cache of personal info. "The search results contained names, physical and email addresses and phone numbers of Telstra customers. A Department of Defence employee were among those whose details were exposed, according to the report." Telstra reckons the system hasn't been exploited, but didn't say how long those 66,000 people's data was hiding in plain sight.

Commonwealth Bank puts almonds on the blockchain

The Commonwealth Bank's PR department has hit all the IT buzzwords in their announcement of a "new blockchain platform, underpinned by distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, and the Internet of Things" that was used to "facilitate the trade experiment that saw 17 tonnes of almonds sent from Sunraysia in Victoria, Australia, to Hamburg in Germany". This makes a "global supply chain that is agile, efficient, and transparent". Literally not a buzzword missing! Here's a video CBA made to highlight what they're doing. Strip out the buzzwords and what we have here appears to be the digitisation of the supply chain. Things like customs documents, shipment tracking and temperature inside the container are all centralised, so everyone involved can see them. Maybe I'm just a cynical jerk taking potshots from the sidelines while the geniuses are busy innovating, but what's the blockchain doing here?

Pentagon makes a list of Russian and Chinese tech companies to avoid

The USA is increasingly worried about Chinese and Russian hacking, that they're planning on making a "Do Not Buy" list of Russian and Chinese IT products. "The list is meant to help the Department of Defense's acquisitions staff and industry partners avoid buying problematic code for the Pentagon and suppliers", and you assume, for wider government and possibly US industry at large. The US Congress is also deliberating a bill that would "force technology companies to disclose if they allowed countries like China and Russia to examine the inner workings of software sold to the U.S. military". I'm actually kinda surprised this isn't already happening. China and Russia are mentioned as specific threats in military strategic plans of the US and most of its allies, so why the hell would you buy software or IT products from those countries?!

Intel's 10nm process delayed again, expect it late 2019

Intel has delayed its next generation CPUs again, announcing chips based on its 10nm process will be released in the second half of 2019. Originally Intel planned for 10nm chips to be out in 2015. There will be new CPUs, in that time, but they'll be another rehash of the 14nm parts. Other foundries, like TSMC and Samsung already have 10nm parts out in the wild (e.g: Apple A11 & the Exynos 8895) and TSMC has already entered volume production of 7nm chips. This is a huge industry change. Intel used to be the undisputed king with a generation or two lead. When everyone was doing 32nm or 28nm chips, Intel was doing 22nm. Intel's delay also helps AMD, as it gets more breathing room to exploit Epyc based CPUs in the datacentre - one of Intel's last strongholds.

Facebook & YouTube ban Alex Jones, Twitter bans Elon Musk pretenders

Facebook slapped Alex Jones (the mentally disturbed guy from InfoWars who sells iodine pills to keep at the ready in your fallout shelter) with a 30 day ban "after removing four videos from the network it said violated its community standards". Facebook said that if he keeps on his bullshit, he will be banned. Of course, InfoWars is still kicking on and Alex Jones is still on it, streaming live on Facebook. YouTube also banned him for 90 days recently. Twitter meanwhile, is taking swift, uncompromising action against anyone changing their name to Elon Musk in an attempt to stop the rampant impersonation of everyone's favourite billionaire whipping boy. This begs the question, if Twitter can clamp down on this relatively insignificant thing, why not do the same to people using Nazi sympathising language or symbols in their names? Maybe because if they ban all the useless shitstirrers from Twitter, they'll cop another hammering from investors?

Not News, But Still Cool

Good take from a legit doctor & techie about My Health Record

My Health Record is a never ending shitshow of government incompetence. There's been so many opinion pieces about it, I've kinda tuned out as I know MHR sucks and I've already told you it sucks - there's not much more to say unless I turn The Sizzle into a daily email collecting all the ways MHR sucks. That said, Trent Yarwood, a real doctor that also knows how a computer works (they're a rare breed) has an excellent post considering the arguments for and against MHR that you should read. He personally opted out of MHR and I come to the same conclusion as he does - the risks of having an MHR far outweigh the benefits for me.

How to backup everything you've got stashed in Pocket, Pinboard and Instapaper

I keep all the stuff I wanna share with you via The Sizzle in Pocket. It works well and is easy to use, but what happens if someone hacks my Pocket account, or the company disappears, taking my precious stash of bookmarks with them!? This is where bookmark-archiver comes in handy. It not only saves your bookmarks in Pocket, Pinboard, your browser or Instapaper (and more), but even saves a local copy of the website, so if the website you've saved disappears, you have a copy! I run it on my server at home and have it set to run once a day, keeping my precious bookmarks safe.

Cheap Linux ebooks, 15% off Nintendo eShop credit, 200gb microSD card & 8TB ext HDDs

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Magic Dirt - She Riff