Issue 759

Wednesday, 6th November 2018

In This Issue


Assistance and Access Bill lurches forward

An amended version of the Assistance and Access Bill passed the lower house this afternoon, with 173 changes to the original Bill, all of which were presented only an hour before Parliament had to vote on it. Despite that, the ALP voted for it anyway, even though their MPs went on the record in Parliament saying how they disagree with it. Mind-blowing hypocrisy. The bill is currently waiting for debate in the Senate, so there's still the opportunity for a Christmas miracle where the ALP grows a spine and knocks it back - so make sure you contact your federal ALP senators to remind them how big of a dumpster fire the Assistance and Access bill is. I haven't been able to read all the suggested changes, but one of the recommendations was an exemption so anti-corruption agencies (i.e: ICAC) can't use this Bill, so it won't be used against politicians. Pathetic.

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada, allegedly for violating US-Iran trade sanctions

Huawei's CFO, who is also the daughter of Huawei's founder, has been arrested in Canada and is being extradited to the USA for violating US sanctions against Iran. I'm not sure what grounds the US government is arresting Wanzhou Meng on, considering there's no trade sanctions between China and Iran. This'll be a spicy meatball to follow over the next few months. Unrelated, but over in the UK, British Telecom is stripping out Huawei gear from its 4G network on the advice of MI6 and won't be using Huawei for its 5G network. I wonder why they're pulling out Huawei gear, but Australian telcos using Huawei (Vodafone and Optus) in their 4G networks are not?

Volkswagen to create its last internal combustion engine in 2026

Volkswagen's "strategy chief" has said that there's probably one generation left of internal combustion engines and that's it. In 2026 VW will release their last generation of dirty polluting engines and then simply refine those units for developing countries (plus potentially backwards ones like Australia) until demand dies out. As the demand from regulators in Europe and China (and some parts of the USA) demand cleaner and cleaner engines in response to climate change and air pollution problems, the only way VW reckons they can meet them is electric cars. I guess you would say that if you were VW after Dieselgate.

UK govt publishes internal Facebook emails showing their garbage company culture

Internal Facebook emails that the UK government snatched off the American founder of Six4Three (who is in the middle of a court battle with Facebook over API access) while he was in London have now been published - what's inside reveals what we all knew about Facebook: that they're filthy little data hoarding urchins. When Twitter launched Vine, Facebook shut down Vine's ability to find friends via Facebook's API and "prepared reactive PR" for the fallout. It used its Onavo "VPN" app to spy on competitors. It gave Airbnb, Lyft and Netflix special permissions to get additional user data outside the standard API. Zuck personally reviewed the API access requests of competitors and needed his sign-off before approval. Facebook knew that collecting the device logs of text messages and phone calls of Android users was a risky PR move, but did it anyways.

Waymo is letting the public book rides in their robocars

Waymo has officially launched Waymo One to the public, its autonomous ride sharing service, in Phoenix today. There's still a meatbag in the drivers seat (thank god), but it's interesting that Google thinks its robocars are now good enough to let unvetted people take rides in. Here's an short video from a local Arizona newspaper that followed a bunch of Waymo cars for 170mi around Phoenix over a few days. The Waymo cars act seem to drive like learners to me. Here's another video of what it's like to be a regular punter in one of Waymo's cars. With a human in the driver's seat, I'd definitely give it a go, just to see what the robodriving experience is like. Will be interesting to see when Google decides to cut the meatbag loose.

Not News, But Still Cool

Grab a $32 board off eBay and use it to get a free electric scooter off the street

They haven't seemed to hit Australia yet, but over in the USA, little electric scooters from Bird & Lime litter the streets. Remember oBike? They're like that but with scooters instead of bikes. Anyway, someone's made a kit that you can buy off eBay to replace the circuit board in a Lime or Bird scooter and then ride the scooter all you want for free, hahaha. The board is only US$32 but you need to crack the circuit board's case open as it needs a special tool. As long as that doesn't concern you, there's nothing stopping ya getting a sweet scooter for only ~$50 and some elbow grease.

Anandtech's iPad Pro A12X review

It took em a while, but Ananadtech finally uploaded their review of the new iPad Pro with the A12X SoC. We already knew the A12X is a beast, but to see it laid bare in their benchmarks is a sight to behold. My key benchmark is WebXRPT 3 and the 11" iPad Pro manages to beat the 2018 MacBook Air. GPU performance is crazy too, beating most PCs with anything but the latest discrete GPUs like a GTX1060. Overall, Anandtech comes to the same conclusion everyone else did - the hardware is fucken awesome, but the software still leaves a lot to be desired and sits in an "awkward gap between a content consumption device and a traditional laptop or the Windows convertibles that the original iPad inspired".

Cheap Optus 4G, Viofo dashcam, Netgear Orbi, NES Mini, Samsung EVO SSD, Fortnite figurines

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

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