Issue 810

Wednesday, 6th February 2019

In This Issue


Optus fined $10m for not cracking down on dodgy 3rd party billers

Good news, Optus has been fined $10m by the ACCC for "its treatment of customers who unknowingly purchased games, ringtones and other digital content through its third-party billing service" (aka DCB). Over 600,000 people contacted Optus to complain about these charges on their bills for stuff they had no idea about, yet Optus "failed to put in place appropriate identity verification safeguards, and referred customers who sought to query DCB service charges to third parties". Optus earned commissions on sales made via its "direct carrier billing" service, which explains why it didn't give a shit about trying to make it more obvious what people were signing up for. Telstra was stung $10m early last year for doing the same thing.

Google experimenting with new "Never Slow Mode" feature in Chrome

Google's latest development version of Chrome is testing out a feature called "Never-Slow Mode". This feature will "set budgets and limits for various resources in a page, including images, stylesheet, scripts, fonts, and long script tasks. Each assigned budget would be reset when the user clicks, taps or scrolls". Sounds good in theory, so you don't end up on a website that's hogging all your precious computer resources, but the downside is that if a website doesn't meet the thresholds Google sets, the site won't work. Going by preliminary documentation, the limits on site resources are "draconian, to say the least, and the JavaScript changes will outright break many existing pages". Watch this space I guess.

Angela Ahrendts, head of Apple retail, to quit in April

Apple's has put out a press release saying that Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, is leaving Apple at the end of April and her replacement will be Deirdre O'Brien, who has worked at Apple for over 30 years. Deirdre's gonna have a lot on her plate, as she's keeping her existing SVP of People (aka HR boss) job as well as adding the Retail stuff. That's a pretty big pile of work. Gruber seems to reckon the departure was unexpected, as Vogue did a detailed profile of Angela just last week and made statements in there that kinda sounded like she was hanging around for a long time, plus, she has nothing lined up. I don't know if this is really that important in the scheme of things, but it was on practically every tech blog.

Aussie Broadband announces massive network upgrade

Loads of Sizzle subscribers are with Aussie Broadband so I thought you'd like to know that they've announced a major upgrade of their core network. According to a detailed Whirlpool post by ABB's managing director, "virtually every piece of equipment in the network" is getting replaced. There's way too much getting overhauled for a single summary, but the most useful stuff I reckon are a much faster link to Sydney from Melbourne and new PoPs in LA and San Jose that peer directly to big content providers, so stuff from the USA will be much faster too. To top it all off, Phil said that "our intent is to run one large network with routing taking the lowest latency path, rather than the cheapest". Combined with new massive links from Perth to Singapore, that would mean European sites should be way faster too.

Small bits of slightly interesting news

Not News, But Still Cool

Unicode consortium has revealed new emojis

Heads up, it's fresh emoji time. The Unicode Consortium has approved Emoji 12.0, which includes 230 new emojis for everyone to enjoy. Emojipedia has pics of them all, along with descriptions. I don't have much to say about new emoji really, just go have a look. Just to pad out this paragraph, I will now list some of my favourite emoji from this new selection: Pinching hand, beverage box and gender inclusive couple. My favourite emojis overall: thinking face, smiling face with sunglasses, suspension railway, moai, hundred points and Japanese symbol for beginner. That is all.

Marie Kondo for your Twitter feed

You're all familiar with Marie Kondo yeah? She's the Japanese woman going around telling people about the the "KonMari" method of organising your belongings. If you've seen the "does this spark joy" meme, that's where it comes from. Julius Tarng has developed an excellent Twitter add-on that goes through each of your followers, asks you if they spark joy or are important to you an then makes you decide to keep, unfollow or add them to a list. It's awesome. I've un-followed a few people already because when presented with their tweets, they did not spark joy in me at all. Sayounara!

Cheap Yubikeys, Kingston 240GB SSD & USB flash drives, 5-port gigabit switch, Tile Mate, Google Home Hub

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Default - Atoms for Peace