Issue 816

Thursday, 14th February 2019

In This Issue


Twitter CEO tries to do an interview over Twitter and it was very bad

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was too scared to do a podcast interview with Kara Swisher, but was happy to chat with her about Twitter, via Twitter. As you can imagine, it was a shitshow of unlinked threads and questions poorly answered due to character limits. It really showed how garbage Twitter is for conversations when its own CEO can't even use it properly. As for the actual interview, it was pretty much Kara repeatedly asking Jack for proof of things he's has done to reduce harassment and Jack repeatedly saying they need to do better, without giving specifics. Dan Luu tried his best to compile the conversation into a coherent format, but even that's a tough slog. I hope Jack submits to a proper interview with Kara one day, just like Elon Musk & Mark Zuckerberg. He deserves a good interrogation.

The EU's Copyright Directive is back & still has the crappy link tax & upload filter stuff

After a few months of arguing, the EU seems to have finalised the Copyright Directive and will vote on it soon. You might know this as "Article 11", a link tax and/or "Article 13", an upload filter. German Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda has a some easy to understand information explaining it. Google reckons if this Directive becomes law, news sites will see traffic drop severely as they'll be forced to drastically modify how Google News operates because it can't display snippets of text or images from a news site without paying. YouTube is nervous too, as it can't be sure it'll adhere to the upload filter requirements as the technology is far from perfect.

Independent investigation of Autopilot finds it isn't as safe as Tesla claim

Remember when Josh Brown died in a Tesla in 2016, everyone blamed Autopilot, then when the NHTSA investigated it, they said Autopilot wasn't to blame and actually reduced crashes by 40%? That claim may have been bullshit. A small research and consulting firm called Quality Control Systems ended up having to sue the NHTSA after they wouldn't release the full set of data that lead to that 40% safer claim, but they got their hands on it and now that QCS has crunched the numbers, the opposite seems to be true - activating Autosteer (a feature of Autopilot) actually increases crash rates by 59%. There's heaps of statistics and math jargon in the QCS report that makes my eyes glaze over, but it's clear they did more thorough analysis of Tesla's crash data than the NHTSA.

Infrastructure Australia adds national EV fast charging network to its priority list

Infrastructure Australia has updated their Infrastructure Priority List for 2019 and for the first time said that we need electric car fast chargers across all our highways. There's only 70 across Australia right now capable of 50kW or faster charging, which just isn't anywhere near enough. Infrastructure Australia made a basic map showing the locations of fast chargers across AU and you can see that there's some big gaps, particularly between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. There's no budget or specifics beyond "this is something we need and it should be done within the next 5 years", but the fact Infrastructure Australia has added it to the priority list is a good start.

NASA ends Mars Opportunity rover mission after months of no communication

I've got some sad news - NASA has given up trying to communicate with the Opportunity rover on Mars. A giant dust storm on Mars covered Opportunity's solar panels back in June 2018, so it couldn't generate enough electricity to keep itself powered up. There's so much dust that it's unlikely the panels will be clean enough to start up Opportunity again. Still, Opportunity was originally planned to last for only 90 days after arriving on Mars in 2004. The little guy ended up roaming around Mars and sending data back to Earth for 5,111 days! Another NASA rover, Curiosity, is still on Mars, exploring a different section of the planet (and has a great Twitter account I enjoy following). Wikipedia has an interestring article listing all the stuff we've left behind on Mars - it's actually not as much as I thought.

Not News, But Still Cool

Someone made QuickLook for Windows and it's good

Windows users, hello! I know it gets a bit Mac centric around here, but I can't help it as 70% of my computer use is Apple-based. I've got a little treat for you today though - QuickLook! Which brings one of my most used Mac features (sorry) to Windows. On a Mac you can press the spacebar on a file in Finder and it gives you a nice preview of it. If it's an image it'll show it, if it's a video it'll play, if it's a Word document it'll show the text. Use the arrow keys to quickly preview each file until you find the one you're after. Super handy! QuickLook for Windows 10 does the exact same thing. It's free off the Microsoft Store.

ReplyASAP is a sad app for parents desperate to get the attention of their kids

A father upset with how his son was ignoring his phone calls and messages has made an app that locks the phone's functions until the kid responds. Here's a video of ReplyASAP in action. On one hand, I get it, your kid is out and about and they're not responding to messages, so immediately you think they're lying in a ditch after getting raped by a pedophile. But on the other hand, it's another way of controlling a person that already has limited control in their lives. Imagine the frustration of being unable to ignore someone. Ugh, I would have hated this app as a teenager and absolutely taken up heroin as a way to rebel against its use.

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That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Outtathaway - The Vines