Apple's announced they'll be hosting a media event in New York on the 30th of October at 10AM - that's Wednesday the 31st of October at 1AM for VIC & NSW (the other 50% of Australia can work out the time difference themselves). It'll take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House, so chances are it's a new iPad Pro and Apple will spend 2 hours giving us demos of how it can be used for music and drawing (massive Photoshop for iPad demo) and all that creative stuff. Dunno what else Apple has planned - there's so many things Apple needs to update, but hasn't. Also in Apple related news, the iPhone XR can be pre-ordered now.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn is launching a class action against Uber for fucking up the livelihoods of 1000s of taxi drivers in Victoria. The taxi drivers claim that Uber's plan of just rolling into town, breaking the law willfully, then waiting for the government to give in when they realised Uber can't be stopped, is a conspiracy and is illegal and unfair. Drivers want Uber to compensate them for the loss of income and devaluation of their taxi licenses since Uber rocked up. At first I thought the taxi industry just didn't get with the times and deserved what they got for poor service. But now I agree with them that Uber literally came in and bullied everyone - regardless of the shitty state of the taxi industry, that's unfair. I don't know if there's a legal case against Uber here, but on the face of it, Uber and other similarly minded businesses need to be sent a message that the community won't accept that type of blatant disregard for the law.
A joint parliamentary committee hearing is currently scrutinising the Assistance and Access Bill, trying to define what exactly is a "systemic weakness or vulnerability" - a phrased used in the bill to ensure that if the cops ask for a tech company to help them get into a crim's comms, they can only ask for it to be done in a way that won't make it a huge security issue for all users of that service or device. When people from Home Affairs and the Signals Directorate were asked to define what a "systemic weakness or vulnerability" is, the answers given were basically as vague as the phrase itself. Tech companies are supposed to co-operate with law enforcement to build backdoors without a "systemic weakness or vulnerability", but nobody's explaining what a "systemic weakness or vulnerability" would be. Cool, cool, that won't cause any problems later, none at all.
Environment Victoria and the Australian Electric Vehicle Council have finally outlined a range of incentives they want implemented in order to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in Victoria to 5% of new car sales. The policies they want to see are: Give EV owners use of high occupancy lanes, reduced stamp duty for EV purchases, a 5-year registration holiday, rebates to build public charging stations with higher rebates for less affluent areas and high emissions targets for government fleet vehicles. I would love more EV incentives in Victoria to lower the initial purchase price, but the easiest and cheapest thing to do would be to simply peg our car emissions standards to Europe and California. In Europe they're getting so hard to meet (on purpose), that the only way to achieve low levels of emissions is to sell cars that don't use fossil fuels. Government doesn't pay a cent, doesn't look like it's giving hand outs to rich dudes buying Teslas and we get cleaner air.
Facebook invited a bunch of journalists into its "election war room" - a conference room in its Menlo Park HQ where "employees look for suspicious spikes in spam and hate speech, in some cases using custom software built for the purpose. They look for efforts at voter suppression, such as falsely telling people that lines are long or that the election has been delayed". Clearly Facebook's doing this dog and pony show to make it look like they're somewhat on the ball for the upcoming US congressional election. Sounds to me like the people in this room are janitors cleaning up the shit Facebook strews along the floor as people drag it around for their personal gain. Cleaning up their own mess is the least they could do - would be even nicer if the mess didn't happen in the first place.
Once upon a time (like the 90s I guess) you used to be able to run your own email server at home. 20 years later, spam got out of control and we're currently in the situation that emails from home run servers are often blocked by Gmail and other big email services because that's pretty much where spam comes from. But in this age of big data, people want to take control of their email and take it back from the clutches of big evil companies. The folk at Helme noticed this desire and released a US$500 box with a US$100/yearly subscription that lets you easily run a mail server at home and make sure emails you send actually arrive. It's a slick piece of kit (NXP SoC with secure boot and FDE, VPN for updates, proximity based 2FA), but fuck me, $500? That's a lot of coin to avoid the good people at Fastmail.
Code Like A Girl's roaming classroom is coming to the western suburbs of Melbourne in the next few weeks. Sunshine and Altona will host a range of classes for girls aged between 6-8, 8-12 and 12+ to learn various coding skills. There's basic HTML/CSS, Python and game development with "block coding" (I don't know what this is, but I'm sure it's fun). You don't even need a laptop, just bring some enthusiasm and Code Like A Girl will provide the rest! The 2 hour classes are cheap too, only $6.36 a lesson. I wish there was stuff like this for me to do when I was kid living in the western suburbs. All those fancy computer class things during school holidays were on the other side of town and too expensive. So awesome to see them in my old stomping ground and affordable.
Despite how much I shit on Elon Musk's antics, I still want a stupid Tesla. Whenever I read stuff like this piece in Autocar about how the Model 3's brake pads have a special anti-rust coating because they last so damn long thanks to regenerative braking, that the front wheels are designed to snap in an accident and turn so the car is pushed away from the impact and has custom tyres with sound absorbing foam to keep things quiet - it's hard not to love those bloody dorks. I also should not have watched this video demonstrating the Model 3's latest software update. It's got a built in dashcam! All those cameras on the car can now be used to record yourself driving. No need for a stupid looking thing stuck to your windscreen. Using the steering wheel controls to play a built-in Atari emulator is totally unnecessary, but I love it.
That's it, see ya Monday!