Issue 820

Wednesday, 20th February 2019

In This Issue


NBN news from yesterday's Senate estimates

Senate Estimates focused on the NBN yesterday, so there's new NBN related info you may be interested in. Renters/frequent movers aren't keen on the NBN because it's a pain in the arse and takes too long to get connected. NBN wants to make switching ISPs more like switching electricity where there's no loss of service. They don't say how, but it's something they reckon they need to do in order to combat 5G. NBN is going to "release" 200,000 HFC premises a month - probably so the rollout stats prior to the election getting called look better than they are now. An ALP senator asked NBN to release their modem testing results so people can buy modems that don't suck, but NBN said they can't do that without violating commercial agreements.

Australian privacy regulator can't keep up with all the privacy breaches

Also in Senate estimates, the Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is flat out handling a rapid rise in the amount of privacy violation complaints, FoI access review requests and predominately, the Notifiable Data Breach scheme. Things are gonna get wose for the OAIC when the Consumer Data Right laws take full effect and companies in the banking, energy and telco sectors are forced to give customers access to their data. Despite all this new activity, there's bugger all new funding to hire people and implement systems to regulate all this stuff. I don't think I need to spell out what happens to privacy when the privacy regulator can't do it's job.

Macs with the T2 chip suck for audio production due to latency

Professional audio engineering website CDM has found that "all T2-based Macs, that is all Mac models from the 2018 generation, are evidently unusable with USB 2.0 audio interfaces, irrespective of vendor". According to their investigations, "this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple's software. Issues with the way the new chip synchronizes timing causes dropouts and glitches in the audio stream". Apple hasn't said anything yet, but it's a pretty lame bug considering how prolific Macs are in the audio engineering market due to their superior real-time audio performance. Hopefully there's a fix for this coming soon and it isn't a flaw inherent to the T2 hardware.

Elon Musk claims Autopilot will be "feature complete" by 2020

Elon Musk went on a podcast yesterday and did not smoke any weed or insult any cave divers - but he did make the big claim that Tesla's Autopilot will be "feature complete" by 2020. A Tesla could could (technically) find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you to your destination without any human intervention. That's pretty bullish considering the struggles Waymo is having in doing this in a perfect robocar environment like Arizona. Tesla fanboys on Reddit reckon "feature complete" means it works sometimes, but isn't reliable - could work 2% of the time, but it's "feature complete" (even though the feature may be broken and kill you).

Varjo's new headset brings next level image quality to VR

Varjo (I've never heard of em either) has shown off their new VR-1 headset that features a 1920x1080 micro-OLED display with 3,000 pixels per inch in the middle of your field of view for awesome image quality. According to Arstechnica, this high res screen results in "no pixel grid, no jagged lines (nor the anti-aliasing usually used to hide the jaggies), no screen-door effect. The images it displays look every bit as detailed as real life". The screenshots look amazing when side-by-side with a HTC Vive Pro. Apparently it's got awesome eye-tracking too, so you can have things pop up when you look at them, then disappear when you aren't looking. The VR-1 is US$5,999 - just for the headset (you'll need a nice PC to go with it), but if you have a project that requires the best VR headset around, the Varjo VR-1 is the goods.

Not News, But Still Cool

I can no longer trust that a USB cable isn't spying on me

Check out this crazy wi-fi enabled hacking device inside the USB connector of a cable. The O.MG cable is kinda like a Rubber Ducky unit you may be familiar with, that when plugged in pretends to be a keyboard and executes a bunch of commands silently. This cable takes it a step further by disguising its nefarious self as a regular Apple Lightning USB cable! Pretty damn wild. If you like that, you'll also like this USB cable with a built in SIM card and microphone that you can leave plugged in to something and then dial in to hear what people near the cable are talking about. It's only $15, so I bought one.

Some confirmation that women are treated poorly on Overwatch by their fellow gamers

Dan Luu wanted to see if women are treated differently to men in the online game Overwatch, so he played 339 games, with roughly half played with a masculine name & avatar and the other feminine. Surprisingly the amount of sexually charged comments remained pretty even between the masculine and feminine player (players are pigs to everyone, not just women). The biggest difference was the feminine player having their skills constantly judged (pretty much dudes mansplaining the game to them) and harassment outside the game like unsolicited friend requests and someone getting abusive when their flirting was ignored. So there you go, when a heap of women says a certain thing is bad, maybe listen to them instead of dismissing it.

Cheap iPhone tetris case, KingDian SSDs, 65" Sony OLED, 65" Hisense LED, 256GB Samsung microSD, Chromecast Ultra

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Negative Creep - Nirvana