Issue 703

Thursday, 16th August 2018

In This Issue


Telstra's FY18 results are out and the NBN is still causing them financial pain

Telstra announced its FY18 results and things are kinda grim for Australia's largest telco. Profit fell 8.4% to "only" $3.6b and dividends are 22c a share compared to 31c. As more Telstra internet and landline customers are moved off Telstra's infrastructure to NBN's, where the margins are much slimmer. Telstra's CEO said things are gonna be just as challenging in 2019. Some good news though, Telstra turned on 5G in selected areas of the Gold Coast today. 200 more areas around Australia will get 5G switched on by the end of the year. There's no 5G devices though, so it's really just for testing and hype than any practical use.

NBN's FY18 results show slow rollout progress and minimal ARPU gains

Big dump of NBN related news today, as they've announced their FY18 results too. Financially, NBN's ARPU is up from $43 to $44 (but still way below what it needs to be) and revenue now sits at $1.98b (in line with estimates). Activations are lower than anticipated (4m vs 4.4m), but that should improve now that the HFC network is incrementally becoming available for service. Take up of NBN's Sky Muster satellite is slow, probably because the quality of the service is shit. G.Fast is coming soon for some FttC users, meaning almost everyone on FttC should at least achieve 100/40 sync speeds. NBN tried to increase wholesale pricing on 50mbit fixed wireless connections that would have meant rural customers would pay more for wireless access than those on fixed line ($65 vs. $45), but the minister slapped it down pretty quickly.

Tesla got an SEC subpoena, probably not opening an AU factory & Elon to build a tunnel in LA

The New York Times is reporting that the SEC has served Tesla with a subpoena in regards to Elon Musk's tweet that he had secured funding for a private buyout of Tesla, which has since been revealed was total bullshit. In other Tesla news, they told the EV Senate inquiry that they'd be open to making cars here in Australia (skilled workforce, easy access to raw materials), but because the domestic market is so small and slow to adopt EVs, it's unlikely to happen. Elon's also announced that his Boring Company is gonna build a tunnel in LA that'll go from one of the Sunset Boulevard metro stations to Dodger Stadium. The armchair experts on Hacker News are ripping the idea to shreds.

Twitter bans Infowars & Alex Jones for a week and Jack is still thinking about how to fix Twitter

Twitter banned Alex Jones and his Infowars account for a week, based off a tweet that contained a video Twitter considers an "incitement to violence". Jones said that his followers get their "battle rifles" ready against critics in the "mainstream media". Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey was interviewed in the Washington Post today, saying that "he was experimenting with features that would promote alternative viewpoints in Twitter’s timeline to address misinformation and reduce "echo chambers."" He also expressed openness to labeling bots — automated accounts that sometimes pose as human users — and redesigning key elements of the social network, including the "like" button and the way Twitter displays users' follower counts". Fiddling around the edges when all he has to do is pay heaps of people to moderate the reported posts in line with their existing policies.

Facebook did nothing while it was used to spark a genocide in Myanmar

Reuters has a phenomenal story outlining how Facebook has blood on its hands over in Myanmar. For years journalists, researchers and even entrepreneurs explained to Facebook how it was being used to spread outright false and misleading information about Muslims. People gave talks at Facebook's HQ about it, management was informed constantly, but Facebook did practically nothing to moderate the inflammatory content coming out of a handful of Muslim hating ratbags. There is very strong evidence in this article that due to Facebook wilfully letting its garbage fire burn so brightly in Myanmar, that it had a crucial role in what the UN described as "textbook example of ethnic cleansing". If Facebook and Zuck had any moral compass, they'd be dropping a fat $500m deposit off in the UNHCR's bank account as a small apology.

Not News, But Still Cool

Google One is revamped family sharing for Google Drive & cheaper storage

Google has revamped Google Drive and is introducing a new storage option called Google One. It's basically taking the existing storage tiers and combining it into a family pack style thing. When it launches in Australia (it's still US only), you can go into Google Drive, enable Google One and add members of your family to your Google One account. All members of the "family" can then share the storage you purchase. US$1.99 for 100GB, US$2.99 for 200GB and US$9.99 for 2TB. There's supposed to be other benefits of becoming a Google One member (kinda like Amazon Prime), but they haven't launched any of that stuff yet, just the storage stuff for now. Also no ETA on when it'll arrive in Australia - I don't think it would be too far away though, Google treats Australia pretty well for most product releases.

Tweetbot downgrades a bunch of features due to new Twitter API changes

Twitter's API changes come into effect tomorrow, meaning 3rd party Twitter clients have to make some changes. Tweetbot has already done so, with "the removal of timeline streaming on Wi-Fi; push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes; the activity and stats tab; and the Apple Watch app" and "push notifications for mentions or DMs will be delayed by a few minutes, and timelines will refresh automatically every one to two minutes instead of streaming on Wi-Fi". To be honest, that's not so severe to make the app unusable (disabling notifications and slowing things down might be a good thing for some people), but it's obviously a continuation of Twitter's efforts to make 3rd party clients 2nd class citizens.

Cheap Google Daydream, GTX1060, Amazon Echo & Kindle, 8% cashback at Dell & free Lynda access for NSW library patrons

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

The Chats - Smoko