Issue 764

Wednesday, 14th November 2018

In This Issue


My Health Record opt-out period extended until 31st Jan 2019

The Health Minister has agreed to a Senate motion extending the opt-out period for My Health Record to Jan 31st, 2019. It was supposed to be 15th of November - tomorrow. It's great that some common-sense has prevailed, as all the legislation to actually implement the privacy additions the government promised haven't passed and might not for a while, plus the MHR website has been shitting the bed all day. I don't think people have really been able to appropriately assess if remaining in MHR is worth it for them in that short time frame and also had time to opt-out once doing so. Sure, MHR should be permanently opt-in (you only get an account if you ask for it), but at least now there's a few more months to weigh up with MHR is for you.

Comms Alliance releases list of all 81 govt agencies accessing telco metadata

Following up from its questioning at a Parliamentary Joint Committee, the Communications Alliance has released a list of all the agencies that have dipped their toes in the giant wad of metadata telcos collect and are legally forced to make available to them. 81 bodies all up have access, which include people like the AFP and state police, who you expect. But there's also Centrelink, Bankstown City Council, the Regional Illegal Dumping Squad, the Taxi Services Commission, Work Safe Vic and Australia Post. From over here it looks like basically anyone government related has a finger in the pie and even though that's what everyone against the law said would happen, isn't actually what's supposed to be happening!

Amazon picks New York City & Washington DC as spots for its new regional HQs

Amazon's 13 month quest to find a city to host its new secondary HQ is complete. After 238 cities across the USA putting their hand up via various incentives, Amazon ended up choosing Long Island City in New York and Arlington in Virginia - a 20 min subway ride from Times Square and a 13 min Metro ride to the White House. I guess Amazon's employees prefer Manhattan to live in over some southern state and Washington DC is the sweet spot for lobbying and sweet government contracts. Amazon will suck up US$1.5b in incentives from the NY government and US$573m from the VA government. 25,000 employees in each, big fancy office buildings, etc. etc. Reuters has a list of all the goodies Amazon will collect off the various governments involved.

Example #89067 & #89068 why computers are fun

Example #89067 why computers are fun: Nigerian ISP Main One Cable Co fucked up its BGP routing yesterday, which "temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China". ThousandEyes has some technical detail about what went on. Example #89068 why computers are fun: someone fucked up direct debits over at the RACV and has ended up repeatedly pulling money out of the accounts of an unknown number of customers until their accounts were dry. One person has had $30,000 milked from their account, with over 5,700 withdraws occurring overnight. Oof, do not want to be working in that IT department today.

DeepMind's health related AI stuff joins Google

DeepMind has a health division that has been working with the UK's NHS on ways it can suck up all the NHS's data and apply it to improving patient outcomes. DeepMind just announced that the team that develops those health related uses of AI, is joining Google - presumably for wider application of its tech. One such app collects all the various info on a patient the hospital has (blood test results, vital signs, previous conditions etc.), slaps it into a single app on a doctor or nurse's smartphone and by using the magic of AI, constantly monitors that info for any changes before a human might. The app can then alert someone that a patient needs further help. Sounds cool, but are we ok with Google having all this health info?

Not News, But Still Cool

Logic is a very good tri-monthly collection of tech related essays

Ever seen something and thought, "why didn't I do that? I could fucken do that! I wish I was good enough to do that"? That's what happened to me when I stumbled across Logic - a tri-monthly print & digital magazine with tech related essays. It's US$5 a issue with samples of each issue available for free. Issue 5 had a fascinating/sad article on how women were forced out of the British tech industry, issue 4 had an essay exploring supply chain management and software's role in reshaping it and issue 3 discusses if technology is making life better or worse. Like how some of you look forward to reading my bullshit every day, I look forward to reading Logic once a month.

Unicode penises

Thanks to this blog post from RevK, I learned that there's no specific penis glyph in Unicode. Like he says, Unicode has "characters and symbols from modern and historic cultures and forms of writing, and surely cave men have been drawing dicks on cave walls for tens of thousands of years, so why is this missing?". Good point! RevK did realise that while there's no official dong, there is U+130B8: EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPH D052, U+130B9: EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPH D052A, and U+130BA: EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPH D053 - which appear to be very phallic and suitable for all your penis related iconography needs. See: 𓂸 𓂹 𓂺 You can even use them to name wi-fi networks if you so desire.

Cheap school hols coding course, Sonos gear, Orbi mesh wi-fi, PS4 Pro, Sandisk 120GB SSD, Surface gear, Nuraphone, Synology NAS, Nokia 8, DJI Tello drone

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Modest Mouse - Float On