Issue 708

Thursday, 23rd August 2018

In This Issue


Huawei told it's not allowed to participate in Australian 5G network builds

On the eve of the 5G spectrum auction acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told Huawei they're banned from building a 5G network in Australia. Huawei or Chinese vendors weren't called out specifically, but this vague announcement explains how strict the new "Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms" are and how they come into effect September 18th. Vodafone reckons that without Huawei in the mix for network build tenders, this decision "creates uncertainty for carriers' investment plans" and "fundamentally undermines Australia’s 5G future". Nokia and Ericsson are delighted.

The Cyber Security, Communications and Assistant Digital Transformation Ministers have all quit

Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor, Assistant Digital Transformation Minister Michael Keenan and Communication Minister Mitch Fifield have all quit their posts as ministers due to the ongoing shitfight in the Liberal party. Effectively, Australia has no technology related government ministers right now and I don't think it'll really make much difference in practice, as these morons were just seat warming until something more interesting turned up anyways. I'd argue it doesn't even really matter who takes over these roles, as the juicy topics these ministries are tackling (NBN, the DTA and the encryption backdoor stuff) is all ideological, not evidence based. Besides, there's gonna be an election in like 2 months and the ALP will romp home, right? Right??

Facebook boots off 400 apps that failed its data access audit & its own Onavo "VPN"

Facebook has banned an app called myPersonality, along with 400 others, for not complying with new data access rules Facebook put into place after the whole Cambridge Analytica thing. myPersonality was designed to source data from Facebook users via personality quizzes and managed to suck in over 4 million people. All that data then ended up on Github after an academic who had access to the data put it up there so their students could easily access it. Facebook is also pulling its sneaky Onavo Protect "VPN" app from the iOS App Store, which whilst offering VPN services, was also feeding Facebook stacks of info about everything you do online.

Nikon's got cool new mirrorless full-frame cameras

Nikon has finally announced a range of full-frame mirrorless digital cameras and lenses. The Z7 is basically a D850, but without the mirror. It has pretty much the same sensor as the D850, same weather-sealing, almost identical AF performance, a rear touch screen and even uses the same battery. Where it differs from the D850 is in-body image stabilisation, 10-bit 4:2:2 log & timecode output over HDMI and a new "Z" lens mount. The new mount has only 3 lenses on launch (24-70mm f/4, 35mm f/1.8 & 50mm f/1.8), but heaps are coming out between now and 2020. Nikon also announced the Z6, which has a smaller sensor, less AF points and is cheaper. The Z7 will cost US$3399 body only and go on sale Sept 27. The Z6 will be US$1995 body only, available late November.

Service NSW to expand digital drivers licence trial to 140,000 new users in Sydney

83% of the 1,400 people that were part of NSW's digital drivers licence trial in Dubbo last year said they're satisfied with the service, so Service NSW is going to unleash this thing on 140,000 people in Sydney. This new 6-month trial will include drivers in Bondi, Bondi Junction, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, Randwick and Waverley. According to the NSW finance minister, the push for a digital licence is all about convenience - you've got credit cards, movie tickets, plane boarding passes and a whole bunch of stuff on your phone, so why not put a drivers licence along with all the other licences (fishing, alcohol serving, responsible gambling etc.) in the Service NSW app? Makes sense to me.

Not News, But Still Cool

Apple & Google make stacks of cash from app subscription revenue

Bloomberg has an interesting article about how Netflix, Epic (aka Fortnite company) and Valve (aka Steam) are all trying to bypass giving away huge chunks of their revenue to Apple and Google, despite the latter lowering their cut for subscription revenue to 15%. "If app store commissions fell to a blended rate of 5% to 15%, that would knock up to 21% off Apple’s earnings, before interest and tax, by fiscal 2020, Macquarie estimated. Google could lose up to 20% by the same measure, according to the brokerage firm. The technology giants are expected to earn more than $50 billion each, before interest and tax, in 2020, according to analyst forecast data compiled by Bloomberg" - $50b just from app store commissions. Damnnnnn, no wonder they don't want to lower it, that's a fat, juicy cash cow!

Twitch streamer decides not to talk to women anymore because his fans are jerks

Tyler "Ninja" Belvins is big Twitch personality with over 10 million followers and he recently said he's no longer going to play videogames with women. Why? Because he's sick of all the rumours about his marriage that viewers conjure up whenever he streams with a woman. This is so disappointing because Ninja has a massive audience of young, impressionable men and instead of making this a teachable moment about the issue of sexualising and romanticising women streamers (and women in general), he's further entrenching the videogames are a boys club stereotype and marginalising women gamers. It's also a sad reflection of his audience that shit gets so bad, he can't even hang out with a woman and not have it negatively impact his life. What the hell is going on in that scene?!

Cheap Surface gear, Google Home, 49" superwide gaming monitor, Ubiquiti gear, subtle Sizzle Pi-Hole reminder

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

ABBA - Take a Chance On Me