Issue 772

Monday, 26th November 2018
The Sizzle is finally having a Melbourne meetup BBQ! If you'd like to meet some other Sizzle subscribers, head on over to the Flagstaff Gardens on the 2nd of December between 11am and 3pm. More details on the Reckoner website. See ya there!

In This Issue


UK government got its hands on juicy emails between Zuck & Cambridge Analytica

According to a report in The Guardian, the UK government has strong-armed an exec of a US software company called Six4Three to hand over a bunch of confidential emails between Cambridge Analytica and Mark Zuckerberg. From the article, "parliament sent a serjeant at arms to his hotel with a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with its order. When the software firm founder failed to do so, it’s understood he was escorted to parliament. He was told he risked fines and even imprisonment if he didn’t hand over the documents". No word on if the emails UK's parliament managed to snag will be made public, but I hope they show the world what kinda clueless goons Zuck & co are.

Apple to argue that the App Store isn't a monopoly in the US Supreme Court

Nine justices of the US Supreme Court will be hearing arguments for and against Apple's App Store violating antitrust laws. A group of 30 US state attorney generals (including California, Texas, Florida and New York) reckon Apple's refusal to allow other app stores on iPhones and iPads means there's no other way to sell apps to iOS users and that is a bad thing. Apple, of course, reckons they're simply an agent for app developers and they're free to set whatever price they want. The arguments being heard tomorrow are simply to decide if the Supreme Court should take it further. There's a good chance it will be dismissed, but maybe not.

You can use Paywave/Paypass on NSW trains instead of Opal now

Good news New South Welshspeople, you can use contactless payments on the entire Sydney Trains and NSW Train Link network. Just rock up to a train station, tap your credit/debit card on an Opal reader and baord the train. When you leave the train station, use the same card (this is important) to tap off at the Opal reader to complete your fare. It even lets you use the daily, weekly and Sunday fare caps that were exclusive to Opal. Apple Pay/Google Pay, etc. also work fine here. Buses don't have support for contactless payments yet, but TfNSW does plan to start rolling it out mid-2019.

The ATO wants access to telco metadata now too

The ATO wants direct access to telco metadata and bank account info. Right now it has to go through the AFP to get the details it wants for tax-dodger investigations, but Treasury is arguing that process is way too slow and want their finger directly in the pie so they can crack down on "low to mid-range black economy conduct". If the government grants the ATO its wish, it'll be able to get telco metadata (where you've been, who you've talked to), bank data (money in & out of your accounts), as well as funding and permission to scrape the public internet for info on certain individuals and their spending habits.

ACCC will keep regulating Telstra copper so ADSL pricing doesn't increase while the NBN rolls out

The ACCC has decided to continue regulating Telstra's fixed line services until June 30, 2024, whilst the NBN is under construction. "Telstra's unconditioned local loop service (ULLS), line sharing service (LSS), wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS), fixed originating access service (FOAS, formerly PSTN OA), and fixed terminating access service (FTAS, formerly PSTN TA)" are the bits under ACCC control. It basically means those still using ADSL and landlines won't get slugged more by their telco, as it'd be easy for Telstra to up the wholesale price of a copper landline by justifying the increased cost of supporting it with so few users.

Not News, But Still Cool

The Google Cemetery, a list of apps Google's snuffed out before their time

Someone started a website called "The Google Cemetery", commemorating all the various things Google rolled out at some point and has since killed off. When put into a single spot like this, I had no idea Google ended so many. There's the ones we all knew about like Wave and Reader, but did you know about Google Health? A personal health record thing where you willingly gave Google your medial info. Picasa! That was great on Windows - I didn't know it was dead. Project Ara - billions spent to develop a modular smartphone that went nowhere. Google Talk - an IM client I actually used a fair bit, but totally forgot about.

Awful AI, a list of stupid AI projects

Dwddao has chucked up a post of stupid AI programs he's seen floating around. Some highlights include Gaydar, using AI to detect if someone is gay based on photos. Google's image recognition AI that labeled black people as gorillas. HireVue, an AI that downgraded resumes from women because it copied the men are good at computers stereotype from its male creators. PredPol, an AI used to predict crime hotspots that ended up over policing black and brown neighborhoods. Faceception, an AI that looks at your facial features to determine personality traits like "terrorist" or "pedophile". Wonder if anyone's made a list of good AI?

Cheap Logitech mouse, Oculus VR, Yamaha soundbar, Sandisk SSD, Anker USB charger, PS4 controller, Philips Hue, Nintendo LABO kits

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Alex Lahey - Every Day's the Weekend