Issue 803

Friday, 25th January 2019
No Sizzle on Monday as it's the Australia Day public holiday. Normal service resumes on the 29th of Jan.

In This Issue


My Health Record was faulty for years and nobody noticed

The Guardian got their hands on a leaked report that states there's been an error with My Health Record since 2016 that has resulted in clinics thinking they're updating a patients medical info, but in fact, the data is going into a black hole and not updating at all. It's caused by a certificate error that started when Microsoft pushed out an update to a "framework" MHR uses, but MHR and other EMR software packages just silently failed and nobody knew for years it wasn't working properly. The government reckons it's impacted only "a small number of clinicians", but still, amateur hour stuff or such an important project.

Google takes Oracle to the US Supreme Court over fair use of Java APIs

Back in 2010 Oracle used Google for using certain Java APIs it reckons it owns the copyright to. Two trials later and two appeals later, the current legal situation is that Oracle is indeed the copyright owner of the API and fair use doesn't apply. Google isn't happy with that decision, so it's asking the US Supreme Court (the highest court in the USA, once it gives a decision there's no more appeals and is considered precedent for future disputes) to decide once and for all if using common programming language idioms is fair use.

Google wants to strip its US workers of the right to use company email to organise a union

One of the few rights US workers have is the ability to organise workplace action (i.e: a strike, or a union) via workplace email. Enshrined in law is the ability to email your colleagues and stir some shit to get your fair share or opposed sleaze-bag business tactics. Google employees have been using it to great effect and Google management has noticed, asking the USA's National Labor Relations Board to remove that right - presumably so its employees have a slightly harder time communicating with their colleagues. The "don't be evil" motto is well and truly gone.

Tonga's internet cable got sliced and will be stuck with satellite internet for a while

Tonga has been cut off from the internet following a boat anchor slicing the only cable that links it to Fiji and provides the country with not only internet access, but overseas phone calls too. The only internet access seems to be in the capital city where a single government building has a satellite backup connection. There's queues forming and a 20 minute wait to use the slow connection. Don't take the internet for granted, people - I'll kiss my fibre NBN connection before I go to bed tonight.

Apple sacks 200 staff working on robocars plus other Apple related news items

Here's a thick dump of Apple related news:

Not News, But Still Cool

Use Pi-Hole over a VPN so you can get ad-blocking and a secure connection anywhere

We all love Pi-Hole, the ad-blocking DNS server and would enjoy using it away from home. However, running a DNS server open to the internet is a recipie for disaster as it'll get abused by hackers. The solution is to set up your own VPN server with the DNS server portion using Pi-Hole so not only do you get ad-blocking, you also get a secure VPN connection at the same time! Here's a nifty how-to on setting up a secure VPN using Streisand and ad-blocking via Pi-Hole. I personally use this setup (with a Sydney based EC2 instance) whenever I'm on wi-fi that isn't at home or off my own 4G modem.

Tune in to 12745.6kHz with your radio fax and you'll get a news bulletin from Japan to print out

Did you know that there's a service offering the news via high frequency radio facsimile for boats out at sea? Gough Lui has a fascinating article about the Japanese Kyodo News station, which every day sends out a radio signal (12745.5kHz) that contains data a radio fax machine can receive and extremley slowly print out a summary of the day's news. It takes about 90 minutes or so to receive and there's 9 bulletins a day. The service has been supplanted by satellite internet services, but Kyodo news still trucks on, sending out daily news to those on the oceans.

Cheap Fuji photo printer, Lowepro bags, Joby tripods, electric scooter, electric height adjustable desk, Samsung external SSD, Bose QC35

That's it, see ya Tuesday!

 No Scrubs - Weezer