Tesla's Q3 2018 results are out today and it looks like Tesla has managed to overcome the financial doomsday scenario outlined a few months ago. It made a profit of US$311.5m off the back of producing over 56,000 Model 3s in 3 months. This means Tesla will probably be able to pay back its most immediate debts and won't go into receivership any time soon due to the fact there's still hundreds of thousands of people wanting to buy a well-optioned Model 3 and they're ramping production up smoothly. In the post-results conference call, Elon Musk said that if they produced the $35,000 base model variant of the Model 3 now, they'd make no money - so that's still a few months away, as is a RHD version. Elon also dropped that the Model Y (an SUV version of the 3) prototype is complete and will go into production 2020.
A story in the New York Times is saying that Donald Trump doesn't use smartphones the NSA has given him, doesn't swap out his phones for a new one every 30 days as is protocol and refuses to use landlines for important calls. Because of this, Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies are likely listening in on all his personal calls that take place via the horribly insecure 3G and 4G networks. Kinda ironic that Trump does this when he made a massive deal about how Hilary Clinton's email server being used for official state duties got hacked and left the US vulnerable to overseas interference. Classic Trump move really.
Queensland is following NSW in giving its citizens capable of driving an automobile a digital licence. A pilot program will begin in late 2019. According to Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, security of personal information would be a "critical feature". Nice to know. This tweet from Nine News Queensland has a video showing how the NSW one works. Basically the cops scan a constantly changing QR code off your phone with their phone and that verifies your ID. I personally don't see the point, but I know a few of you are anti-wallet fetishists who will appreciate one less thing to carry.
Tim Cook have a speech at an EU privacy conference front in Brussels today, calling out the "data-industrial complex". In the speech he went on to detail that the data being collected with good intentions to make our lifes better, has been "weaponised against us with military efficiency". This, according to Tim, is why the USA and the rest of the world needs to follow the EU's lead and implement laws that enshrine 4 key rights: "the right to have personal data minimized; the right for users to know what data is collected on them; the right to access that data; and the right for that data to be kept securely". Tim's & Apple's heart is in the right place here. Often it collides against realpolitik (i.e: China), but they're fighting the good fight - which also happens to be a competitive advantage over rivals like Google. The full 20 minute speech is up on YouTube.
Apple has been fined €10m and Samsung fined €5m in Italy for "planned obsolescence" of their smartphones. "Samsung told owners of its Galaxy Note 4 phone to install a new version of Google’s Android operating system intended for the more recent Galaxy Note 7, but which users claimed rendered the old model sluggish. Likewise, Apple told iPhone 6 owners to install an operating system designed for the iPhone 7, leading to problems for owners of the older model". To me it's not really deliberate that new versions of software run slower, but a lack of manufacturers caring about older devices, particularly on the Android side. At least iOS users get 5 years-ish of updates. Apple was fined twice as much as Samsung because of the whole battery thing and failing to tell customers how when the batteries get worn out, performance will be throttled to preserve battery life.
Simon Elvery, an ABC journalist, is going to run his smartphone and laptop through a VPN running MITM Proxy for a week, so he can see every single piece of data flying out of his device. They've even chucked up a GitHub page with the code and some Docker images they'll be using to log all the data. I've wanted to do this myself, for the same reason Simon is - just to see what the hell is going on in that little black rectangle. What kinda stuff are the apps on it sending back and forth? We kinda already know that Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are up to something, but I bet there'll be more surprises from apps you didn't expect, running some analytics suite with all the creepy options turned on. I look forward to seeing Simon's results.
The German electricity grid regulator has approved the Nissan LEAF for use in vehicle to grid applications. This means you can plug your car into your house and electricity in the car can be sent out to the grid. Kinda like solar panels and excess energy you aren't using - but with the benefit of appropriately high feed in tariffs due to the desperation of the grid operator for electricity. Tesla reckons this is a shitty use of the high quality batteries in an EV, but I would love to be able to "value-add" an EV purchase by using the car's battery to store excess solar generated in the day to use at night when there's no sun.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!