Issue 694

Friday, 3rd August 2018

In This Issue


Apple is worth one, trillion, dollars

Just a few days ago I wrote about Apple's latest financial results that showed it's a money printing machine. Today Apple became the world's first publicly traded company valued over US$1 trillion. Apple is literally the most valuable company in any market right now. It doesn't mean Apple has $1t in cash or even assets, it's just what the stockmarket thinks Apple, as a whole is worth, or could be worth if someone was to buy it. Theoretically of course, as nobody, not even God, has enough money to buy Apple. The New York Times has a fun infographic that outlines just how fucking massive Apple is. Saudi Arabia's state owned oil and gas company Aramco is worth more (estimated at $1.2-$1.5t) than Apple, but it's not listed on the stock market and I imagine if it was, would be declining in value as fossil fuels aren't exactly a growth industry, whereas Apple can still grow considerably with new products.

QLD police constantly inappropriately access crime database & don't get punished

If you're after a prime example of why people had such a visceral reaction to My Health Record, this report on how Queensland police abuse their electronic records is what you're after. "Information released under Queensland right to information laws shows police conducted 59 investigations into improper access of the QPrime database between August 2016 and September 2017". Out of those 59 investigations, 52 had no further action taken, mostly because there wasn't enough evidence over who accessed what. It's fine to say the system can't be hacked (which is a lie, but let's ignore that for now), but when the data leaks are coming from within, that's a real problem - both technology wise (need better access controls) and ethically (why don't the police doing this feel guilty about doing it in the first place?).

Tech journo Sarah Jeong attracts lynch mob over old tweets

Sarah Jeong is one of my go-to tech writers and does an excellent job covering the often boring legal tussles between tech giants. The New York Times thinks so too and gave her a job on its editorial board. This got the attention of an online lynch mob calling for her resignation after they dug up old tweets of her calling out white people's bullshit, which the mob framed as racism against white people. The Times and Sarah's previous outlet The Verge, have defended her and don't plan to sack her. For me, this screams out as excellent reason to delete your tweets. You never know what joke or comment is gonna be taken the wrong way and used against you in the future. Nobody trawls through old tweets for any other reason than to find dirt on ya, so delete those tweets now.

Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S4 looks alright

Samsung's got a new flagship (ish) tablet! The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 runs Android 8.1, has a 10.5" screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB RAM, a microSD card slot for extra storage, an LTE option, USB type-C plug and a fancy stylus. What makes the Tab S4 a bit more interesting than a run of the mill Android tablet is support for Samsung's DeX technology. DeX is a software thing that turns your tablet's touch UI into an interface more suited for a mouse and keyboard. Dock the tablet into a DeX accessory (like a keyboard and mouse) and you've got a traditional WIMP setup like Windows or macOS (or in this case, ChromeOS). I really like that concept. Here's a video of DeX in action on the Galaxy S8 smartphone.

Health Department gives up replacing ancient Medicare payment system, handballs it to DHS

The Medicare payment system is a crucial part of health care in Australia, as it organises payments from the government to health care providers. If it stuffs up, the health care system grinds to a halt. The platform is currently 30 years old and "consists of 200 separate application and 90 different databases, making changes to its underlying code difficult and resource intensive, and is expected to reach end of life in less than two years' time". The Department of health has been trying to overhaul the platform since 2016 with no success, despite $174m spent on it. The government has now decided against a total overhaul of the Medicare payment processing system and is going to tweak the 30 year old system instead, moving it to the Department of Human Service's "converged environments". It's not like DHS has a sparkling track record here, so expect this to be a bumpy ride.

Not News, But Still Cool

AeroPress coffee fans will like this app

I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I'm sure there's many of you who absolutely froth for the delicious bean juice every morning. For those who take their coffee a bit more seriously than a few tablespoons of Nescafe (don't judge me), you'll enjoy this iOS app - AeroPress Timer. From MacStories: "AeroPress Timer is an iPhone app that steps you through the stages of coffee making with an Aerobie AeroPress. Each step, Pour, Stir, Steep, and Plunge, has its own countdown timer. Once you get into the world of AeroPress, there are a hundred different variations and precise recipes for making different types of coffee, so it's a handy guide" - enjoy your coffee mates!

Tax tips for Aussie cryptocurrency users

If you haven't done your taxes yet and you've been dabbling in cryptocurrency, the Bit Trade blog has some tips for ya. They aren't licensed to give advice, so it's not financial advice, or tax advice, ok, just tips for interested parties. I doubt most accountants are gonna be familiar with cryptocurrency, so check this article out and pray you don't get audited. I know a few mates who had no idea that their crypto dealings are subject to capital gains tax. It's bad enough that the cryptocurrency you own generated useless carbon emissions when mined, so don't be a double jerk and be a tax avoider as well as a polluter.

Good summary of the ethical issues facing Silicon Valley

Kara Swisher has an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times about how the tech industry went from being perceived as an innocent bunch of dorks to evil geniuses that have ruined civil society. This paragraph sums the article's premise up neatly I reckon, "Simply put, the inventors became overwhelmed by their own creations, which led to what I can only describe as a casual negligence, which led to where we are now". 10 years ago the internet was a relatively benign game of throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. Now that shit stuck on the wall has gone rancid, smells awful and heaps of people are getting sick because of it.

That's it, see ya Monday!

Dinosaur Jr. - Feel the Pain