Issue 759

Wednesday, 6th November 2018

In This Issue


Improvements to My Health Record privacy to come after opt-out period ends

The government is planning a bunch of legislation changes to My Health Record. There will be harsher penalties for anyone misusing data from MHR (up to 5 years prison & $315,000 in fines), parents of children that may pose a risk to the child (e.g: abusive parents) won't be able to view that kid's record and employers won't be able to access the records of employees or potential employees, nor will private health insurers (for now I guess). The government is still debating if parents should have access by default to the records of 14-17 year olds. The last day to opt-out of My Health Record is the 15th of November, which considering the fact this important legislation won't pass by then, means you should totally opt-out now. You can always opt back in later, but won't be able to opt-out later.

Facebook quietly releases report about its role in Rohingya ethnic cleansing

Today, amongst all the US mid-term election noise, Facebook released their conclusions of an independent report (that they paid for) about their involvement in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Mynamar. According to Facebook, "prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more", but doesn't really do any of the things activists want in order to stop this happening again. Facebook isn't committing to increased transparency about how it moderates its platform and isn't going to apply the same moderation standards worldwide.

AMD to release 7nm CPUs early next year & Qualcomm loses patent battle

I know you all love semiconductor related news, so you'll be delighted to know that I have some juicy gear for you today. AMD's announced version 2 of the Zen architecture used in its Ryzen and EPYC CPUs, with the bombshell that it's gonna be using a 7nm process. Faster CPUs, with lower power consumption, yep yep, but the killer info here is that by using TSMC's 7nm process, AMD will have a node lead over Intel for the first time ever. CPUs based on the 7nm process will launch early 2019. In other chip industry news, a US federal judge told Qualcomm its gotta license "essential" patents involved in making modem chips for LTE radios and stuff like that to competitors such as Intel. Qualcomm isn't happy.

Tesla's Model 3 "production hell" was physically gruelling on staff & Tesla covered it up

A story by Reveal and The Centre for Investigative Reporting is alleging Telsa's Fremont factory clinic has been under reporting and mis-reporting workplace injuries, hiding the human toll of Tesla's push to produce the Model 3 in quantities to meet Wall Street's demands. It centers around the allegations of physician assistant named Anna Watson and what she discovered after a few weeks working for Tesla. There's a lot going on in the article, but there's an example of Tesla forcing someone with a mangled, bleeding and broken hand to take Uber or Lyft to a hospital instead of an ambulance, so that way the workplace accident doesn't become public knowledge. What really stood out to me was, "CEO Elon Musk's distaste for the color yellow and beeping forklifts eroded factory safety, former safety team members said". I know Elon can be a weirdo manchild, but this can't be true, can it?

Reviews of iPad Pro, Mac mini & MacBook Air are out

All of Apple's new gear they announced last week is now out, which means user reviews are out too. There's not a lot of surprises here - everything seems to be what we expected. The Mac mini is heaps faster than the old one, but costs more. Marco Arment's review (Apple gave him one) gets a bit more technical than the rest. Reviews of the MacBook Air all agree that it's a decent upgrade for anyone with an older MacBook Air, even if it's an awkward fit within Apple's overall laptop range. iPad Pro reviews are more interesting, as they've revealed how damn fast the iPad Pro is compared to a Mac. I'll explore that in more detail later. I liked Pete's review in the SMH, he says what we're all thinking - it's awesome, but fuck it's expensive and needs more "pro" software.

Not News, But Still Cool

The iPad Pro's A12X SoC is very fast

So about the iPad Pro. This stupidly thin computer is also stupidly fast according to all the reviewers. In Geekbench (which I consider a dubious benchmark, but anyways), the 2018 iPad Pro scored basically the same in single core performance, Mashable had it encoding video faster 8 times faster than a 2017 Surface Pro and in this specific SMT solving test (some math nerd shit), was also faster than a desktop i7 CPU. Any way you cut it, Apple is achieving amazing performance per watt here. Makes me all the more frothy for an ARM based Mac. The only question is if Apple would simply make a variant of the already excellent A-series SoCs or would they splash the cash to make a totally new ARM-based chip designed with larger thermal envelopes and active cooling in mind?

Jerks are using smart home devices to control and abuses their partners

Unfortunately it's now a thing to have jealous partners take advantage of the fact modern homes are filled with computers that can listen, watch and control you. For example, you could kick an abusing husband out of your house, but if their smartphone still has access to the smart thermostat for example, they can change the password on the account to block you out, then turn the heater on to 30-degrees all summer. It's some fucked up shit. I hope no Sizzle subscribers ever had to go through this, but if you're ever copping some domestic abuse, Wirecutter has useful info on how to avoid your smart-home devices being an attack vector.

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That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Queens of the Stone Age - Avon