Issue 722

Wednesday, 12th September 2018

In This Issue


NBN will sling RSPs $25 every time their techs miss an appointment

You know how NBN contractors are ratshit at keeping their appointment times, so people call up talkback radio to complain? Well politicians hate that and to fix it, so they made the ACCC tell NBN to make the process for RSPs to claim $25 compo for each missed appointment easier. Hopefully this gives NBN a nudge to then nudge its contractors to rock up when they say they will. What's interesting about this is that the RSPs can't just keep the $25 - they have to either give it on to the inconvenienced customer, or use it to offer an alternative internet connection (i.e: 4G). RSPs aren't that happy about it though, as they want to get $25 per day an appointment is missed, rather than a flat $25.

Plex is closing its Cloud streaming service in November

Plex's Cloud service will be shut down on the 30th of November. The service was designed so that you could keep your media on something like Dropbox or OneDrive and any Plex client you're logged in to would pick that media up and stream it to you. Plex said that they couldn't get it to work properly and at a cost that isn't a total rip off. I reckon when Plex launched this feature it worked fine, but as it got more popular, cloud data hosts didn't like it as streaming all that video and storing terabytes of media that can't be de-duplicated or compressed easily cost them more than they were charging customers - so they decided to increase Plex's cost for API access, which ultimately made it unprofitable for Plex to offer. Shame really, as it was a cool feature.

Facebook will OCR every image and video uploaded to moderate offensive memes

Facebook has 2 billion active users a month, which obviously makes moderating all the shit those people spew out a really tough task. Sure, Facebook could hire 100,000 people to sift through it all as its reported, but instead they've developed a system to do OCR on video and images as they're posted in real time that they're calling Rosetta. This system will detect words in photos that could be potentially offensive and delete/hold them before people see them, then share them with their mates. Should have been done before Facebook was used as a way to hype up support for the Rohingya genocide, but better late than never Zuck. Here's Facebook's blog post about Rosetta.

Belgium to investigate EA's refusal to remove illegal gambling from FIFA games

Belgium has decided that loot boxes in videogames are illegal gambling, so Blizzard, Valve and Take-Two have removed that "feature" from the Belgian version of their games - but not EA and in particular, the FIFA series of games. As a result, Belgium's gambling regulator is investigating EA and will likely take them to court over it. EA reckons FIFA's random trading card feature isn't gambling but they offer literal odds for how often a player will randomly appear if you spend real money on virtual credit to buy them for your team. I can't wait for this to end up in court, EA to get shit on by a jury and for random in-game "incentives" to be exposed as the unregulated sneaky gambling aimed at kids it practically is.

Australian Academy of Science gets $600k to make a 10-year women in STEM plan

The Australian Academy of Science has received $600,000 of funding from the federal government to develop a 10-year plan to get more women and girls into STEM jobs and training. The discussion paper that's available to guide feedback on the plan has an excellent chart in it (page 2), showing all the barriers women face in keeping their jobs throughout every stage of their career. The paper also makes the point that there's big economic benefits if more women are working in STEM - which is an insult to women who deserve equal opportunity regardless, but I guess if you want to appeal to the craven capitalists that decry women in STEM, explaining that "more chicks = more cash" might work. The plan presented to government by the end of the year, but the Academy of Science wants your input before they finish it off.

Not News, But Still Cool

Sony's new noise canceling headphones are very good

The Verge has declared Sony's new 1000X M3 over-ear, noise-canceling headphones "the undeniable best in its category", stealing the Bose QC 35 II's crown. The Sony cans are more comfortable (lighter and better grip), have superior noise cancellation (no mean feat considering Bose's history & patents), have longer battery life and the icing on the cake is that they can be charged via USB-C. The noise canceling is apparently super impressive - "There’s a new dedicated chip just for processing the noise canceling inside the M3s, and I’m convinced that chip alone is worth the price of admission with these new 1000Xs". So all you poor sods stuck in an open place office, time for an upgrade!

CBA reckons using a password manager breaks their terms & conditions

An article in the ABC about identity fraud mentioned that if you store your internet banking password in a password manager, the bank could use that as an excuse not to cover your losses if money is stolen from your account. Wanting to know if this is true, a dude asked the Commonwealth Bank's Twitter account to clarify if using a password manager constitutes telling a 3rd party your password and was told "that is correct as it is in breach of the terms and conditions". Sounds like a dumb thing to have in your terms and conditions to me. I don't even know what my internet banking passwords are, they're all stupidly long things with weird characters stored in a password manager!

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Here's a few more POLLEN eBay deals:

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Rage Against The Machine - People of the Sun