Issue 779

Wednesday, 5th December 2018

In This Issue


ALP folds like a cheap suitcase on Assistance and Access Bill

The Assistance and Access Bill looks set to be passed with virtually no changes some time this week, after the ALP capitulated and said they'll wave the encryption backdoor bill through Parliament. Last week the ALP politicians were going around saying it's a bad bill, there needs to be changes, we should slow down and consider it fully, there's no rush. But now they're like "yeah cool" and will approve the Bill if the government tightens up the kind of crimes it can be used with (i.e: only serious crimes like drug, homicide and child sex offences). There's still time to call your federal Labor MP and tell them this sucks.

QLD's EMR is 40% over budget & another QLD cop busted "hacking"

Two bits of interesting news out of QLD today. First up, Queensland Health's electronic medial records system (ieMR) has blown out by an additional $256.8m on top of the $612.9m they budgeted for back in 2016 - a 42% increase. The state's audit office said that it'll be unable to complete the ieMR rollout without that extra cash, so pay up or the $600m you've spent goes down the toilet. Elsewhere in QLD, one of their boys in blue was charged with "Computer Hacking and Misuse" - dunno what he hacked exactly, but it's probably unauthorised access of someone's criminal record on their electronic system. QLD cops love doing that.

NSW ICAC reckons state government ICT suppliers are ripe for corruption

NSW's ICAC is sniffing around various state government computer projects for signs of corruption. NSW spends over $3b a year on ICT and according to ICAC's report on the state of corruption in NSW, they said that "there are characteristics of ICT procurement that appear to make it more vulnerable to corruption", like "budget overruns" used to mask corruption and the fact it's easy to rip the government off as there's often a lack of knowledge on the government's end, making it easy to pull the wool over their eyes while a bunch of people pocket the massive difference. I would love to see some managed services providers busted, they waste so much taxpayer money and together with government incompetence, are why we can't have nice things.

Qualcomm announces new Snapdragon 855 SoC with 5G & ultrasonic fingerprint scanner

Qualcomm announced the new Snapdragon 855 flagship SoC overnight. Besides simply being faster than the previous top of the line Qualcomm SoC, the 855's standout features are support for 5G and a 3D Sonic Sensor that lives under a glass display that they claim is superior to optical sensors like Apple's Face ID. It's also got some AI mumbo jumbo that claims to make photos nicer and a "a 3x performance boost in artificial intelligence features", whatever the hell that means. The Snapdragon 855 will be in Samsung's Galaxy S10 phone early next year. In regards to 5G, Telstra demoed the first "5G to 5G video call" today and they plan to have customers using 5G devices on a 5G network by early 2019.

Epic Games launches a rival to Steam with lower commissions for devs

Epic's announced they're gonna start selling 3rd party titles on their Epic Games Store, so anyone can sell their work without the tyranny of Steam's 30% cut pulling them down. Over on Epic Games, you can sell a title and give up only 12% of the price. If you use Epic's Unreal engine in your game, they'll even waive the usual 5% cut they take for using the engine. Not bad if you're a game developer I guess. Steam reduced their cut by a little lately, but mostly for top tier games, so indie devs are still handing over 30% of their income to Steam. I don't know if Epic's store will displace Steam, but I'm glad someone's giving it a serious crack.

Not News, But Still Cool

Lots of government handouts for domestic batteries paired with solar

If you've been thinking about adding a battery to your domestic roof top solar, now's a good time to get serious as there's some sweet government incentives available now or coming soon all across Australia. One Step Off The Grid has a summary of what's happening in each state. From my rough calculations, without a subsidy a battery won't get me a decent ROI for a long time (10+ years), but with the VIC government's subsidy, it would pay for itself after about 5-6 years. It's still a while, but I'm tempted for the greenie factor and hedging against rising power costs as VIC's cheap & dirty coal power is phased out. For good info on the kinds of batteries on the market and the technical ins and outs, check out Solar Quotes for neat table summarising the options.

TinyFollow emails you a digest of a user's Tweets

TinyFollow is kinda like The Sizzle, but for Twitter, I guess. You sign up for it, give it your email address and it will give you an email digest of specific users tweets. The digest can be sent every day, week or month and can even exclude retweets or quote tweets. Looks like a good way to stay on top of Twitter accounts you care about (i.e: mine, which is full of the latest McRib and electric car news) without having to hang around the noise and bullshit of a Twitter timeline. I set TinyFollow up to monitor Elon Musk's account so I don't miss any of his antics in the mess that is my Twitter timeline.

Cheap Vodafone SIMs, Sony headunit, LG OLED, iPhone SE, Nvidia Shield

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Yeasayer - Henrietta