Issue 809

Tuesday, 5th February 2019

In This Issue


Cryptocurrency exchange founder dies, takes 363,000 user's coins with him to the grave

A few weeks ago, Gerald Cotten the founder of a cryptocurrency exchange called Quadriga, "died aged 30 from complications with Crohn's disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India", which sucks and is pretty sad. But the reason I'm mentioning it here is not to euologise Gerald (never heard of the bloke), but to tell you about his legacy - 180 million Canadian dollars worth of cryptocurrency, belonging to the 363,000 users of his crypto exchange, locked away in offline cold-wallets that only he knows the password to. To make matters worse his wife has "received online threats and "slanderous comments", including questions about the nature of Cotten’s death, and whether he is really dead" from upset customers. I have no idea how they're gonna get everyone's money back, what a doozy.

Alphabet's latest financial results are out, if you're into that sort of thing

Alphabet's (aka Google - how long do I need to repeat that Alphabet is Google?) anounced their QQ 2018 and full year 2018 financial results. Despite an increase in revenue (US$32b in ad revenue alone!), their share price dopped a little because they spent more money than they planned in order to achieve that increase in revenue and on various "moonshots" like Loon & Waymo. This post on Hacker News had interesting highlights beyond the numbers. Alphabet added 20,000 employees in a single year. They didn't mention how well Google Cloud is doing, so maybe that means it sucks compared to AWS & Azure? Ditto YouTube, which despite being the most visible Alphabet property, barely got mentioned. Google is also the biggest individual lobby spender in the USA, of any industry (i.e: Google spends more on lobbying than any gas or oil company).

Tesla dropped $200m on Maxwell, a capacitor company with an interesting battery technology

Tesla has purchased Maxwell, a company that builds ultracapacitors in California. This is not the battery company Maxell, as I first thought and wondered why Tesla would buy them. Tesla spent US$200m on Maxwell and even though they're known for ultracapacitors, it's more likely that Tesla bought them for their hyped "dry electrode" technology that according to Maxwell "enables an energy density of over 300 Wh/kg in current demonstration cells and they see a path to over 500 Wh/kg" - basically more power from the same sized battery. Elon Musk has often said that if you've got a better battery technology than Tesla, to let him know and he will buy it off you - looks like Maxwell took Elon up on that offer!

APRA wants the Federal Court to block sites that let you rip music from YouTube videos

The Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) is currently in the Federal Court arguing to have sites that let you rip music out of a YouTube video blocked via the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill that Foxtel and Village love to use. New amendments to that bill say that not only can a site be blocked for having the "primary purpose of facilitating infringement of copyright, but also the "primary effect of facilitating infringement of copyright" - which APRA's lawyers are saying that these sites fall under. Good luck to APRA swatting all these YouTube ripper sites, as they're a piece of piss to make (they're all just web front ends to the awesome youtube-dl).

Government still isn't interested in any of the ALP's amendments to the Assistance and Access Bill

While we are talking about ratshit laws, the government's promise to "consideration of amendments" proposed by the ALP regarding the Assistance and Access Bill have been ignored - just as we all knew they would. The ALP agreed to this stupid law late last year, despite raising dozens of objections to it, naively believing that the government will fix the bad bits later. Now Peter Dutton is saying that he won't do shit about the Assistance and Access Bill until the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security hands down a report it's working on and that report is due in April, which by then will be start of the election campaign and government goes into caretaker mode.

Not News, But Still Cool

Saudi Arabia's Absher online portal is a prime example of how shit technology can be

I know this is becoming a bit of a trope lately, but for women in Saudi Arabia, technology has really turned their lives into a dystopian nightmare. Business Insider has an article about Absher - a government run online system men in Saudi Arabia use to let law enforcement know when and where women under their control are allowed to travel. When a woman uses her passport to leave or enter Saudi Arabia, the man who legally controls her is given an SMS notification that she's traveling. This is pure Handmaid's Tale fantasy shit, but 100% real. Technology isn't the cause of these fucked up scenarios, but it's being used to enable and entrench it in a way we've never seen before.

Bluelane is a nice app to share your real-time location with people

I've been a loyal Glympse user for many years, using the app to send real-time tracking updates to people who are expecting me to visit them or pick them up. Everyone I've sent a link with my live location in it to loves it. But lately Glympse has been unreliable and background tracking dying at random. I discovered a new app called Bluelane, which is actually an update of "Tracks" by developer 7Sols. It's a piece of piss to use and works well - the only downside is that you can't set the share link to auto expire and stop tracking. You need to manually turn the tracking off. There's an Apple Watch app that makes that pretty easy, but yeah. Bluelane is still cool!

Cheap Onkyo wireless speaker, 960GB SSD, Portal bundle, Spotify & iTunes gift cards, Vodafone SIM cards

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 You Don't Care About Us - Placebo