Issue 850

Thursday, 4th April 2019

In This Issue


Law to lock up tech execs if they don't delete stuff is now in action

That law threatening to lock up tech company execs if they don't clean the internet passed both houses of Parliament yesterday. It's an amendment to the Criminal Code called "Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material" that makes it a crime if "content service providers and hosting services" don't remove "abhorrent violent conduct" (e.g: errorist acts, murders, attempted murders, torture, rape or kidnap) within a "reasonable" (apparently 1 hour) time frame. The punishment for not doing so is jail or a fine that's up to 10% of its annual global turnover. Atlassian's Scott Farquhar is pissing blood over this and the Assistance and Access Bill. Looks like you've got to buy way more tablets at the next Liberal and ALP fundraisers matey. Welcome to the real world.

Facebook dropped the ball on user security, again

Another day, another series of Facebook security fuckups. For some reason, Facebook has been verifying the email addresses of some new users by asking them to enter the password for their email (yes, you read that correctly) before activaing their Facebook account. Why in God's name anyone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. Meanwhile, an info sec company found a giant trove of data belonging to over 540 million Facebook users (profile info, location check-ins, stuff they've liked, comments they've made, etc.) sitting on two public AWS S3 buckets. Just another reason why even if you trust the company collecting the data, you can't trust who they share that data with, so the only way to be safe is not to save or generate the data in the first place.

YouTube knew all about it's shitty algorithm force feeding us hate, but did nothing

Bloomberg has a story exposing how YouTube's executives knew all about how their platform was being used to spread hate and that their algorithm was being exploited to spread it even further - but did nothing about it because that would have got in the way of making money. Engagement was the holy grail at YouTube, with all attempts to warn executives about how the anti-vax, flat earth, Islamaphobia and all the other garbage floating around there was a result of their algorithm, totally ignored. All this shit boils down to greed. YouTube could still have made loads of money and been able to sleep at night knowing they're not actively spreading harmful crap. Instead they turned a blind eye to it all and took the cash fully aware of what's going on. Shameful.

183,000 users on FTTN NBN can't even crack 25mbit

You know how everyone told the government that the copper part of the NBN is going to be a piece of shit that won't even get 25mbit/sec speeds? NBN themselves have come out and said that 183,000 users on FTTN cannot achieve 25mbit/sec - approximately 7.6% of the FTTN install base. Under the NBN statement of expectations, all premises must be capable of peak download speeds of "at least 25Mbps" and the number of users unable to achieve those speeds has increased since last year. Combine this with the thousands of poor souls on fixed wireless who can't get a stable connection, you've got a huge chunk of Australians who can't get internet faster than 25mbit - what a waste of time the NBN has been.

Beats Powerbeats Pro are sporty AirPods with a H1 wireless chip

Want a pair of Apple's AirPods headphones, but have fucked up ears that mean they don't fit properly? The new Beats Powerbeats Pro are kinda like a souped up version of the AirPods. They've got the same H1 wireless chip as in the new AirPods, but are of an in-ear style for better isolation, hook around your ear so they don't fall off and are sweat-resistant-ish (unlike the AirPods). Unfortuantely, they cost US$249, the case doesn't have wireless charging and it's a bit too big to go into your pocket, but still - wireless headphones that "just work" with a bit more sturdiness to em than the AirPods will be welcome by many.

Not News, But Still Cool

Cloudflare's new Warp VPN service is pretty cool

Cloudflare's launched their own VPN (kinda) service called Warp. I say it's kinda like a VPN, in that what Cloudflare has done is make a super quick private tunnel between your internet connection and Cloudflare's. Because Cloudflare have a very fast network, there's a good chance the routes Cloudflare chooses to access a server are faster than the ones your ISP chooses. In theory, not only do you get the benefit of an encrypted tunnel of traffic so the network you're connected to (i.e: public wi-fi) can't see your data, you may also get a speed boost. It's free, a piece of piss to use and Cloudflare isn't dodgy (yet), so give it a crack. I don't think you can choose the country your endpoint is in though.

Who is Alexandra Elbakyan?

Do you know who Alexandra Elbakyan is? No? Well you should be fucking ashamed of yourself. She's the creator of Sci-Hub, a modern day Library of Alexandria. If you don't even know what Sci-Hub is, double that shame and add a side dish of regret, as it's 1000x more noble than any useless shit you've ever accomplished. Alexandra used the skills and knowledge she gained trying to access LiveJournal within Kazakhstan, to make Sci-Hub, which gives you free access to research and scientific papers that are normally hidden behind expensive paywalls. It's fantastic and I use it often, despite the copyright cartel trying to shut her up. If you want to know more about Sci-Hub, Alexandra has posted a fresh bio and FAQ to her blog.

Cheap Apple accessories, LEGO Saturn V, Samsung Galaxy S10e, Xiaomi Mi A2, Viofo A129, Detroit Become Human, Tenda Nova MW3 mesh wi-fi kit

  • Myer is clearing out a bunch of Apple accessories as they exit selling Apple gear. I don't know what will be left by the time you read this.
  • Target is selling the LEGO Saturn V Rocket set (21309) for just $119 - if I had disposable income, I'd waste it on LEGO.
  • Amazon's got the Samsung Galaxy S10e for $979 delivered. It's also $999 at JB if you've got gift cards burning a hole in your wallet or something.
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone (Android One) is just $255 from Banggood. I love this phone, but wish it had NFC. If you don't need NFC and don't care about an AU warranty, get the Xiaomi over the Nokia 6.1.
  • Banggood's also got a great price on the Viofo A129 dual channel dashcam (I've got the same one in my car) - just $185 delivered.
  • Detroit Become Human deluxe edition is $40 on the PS Store ($35 if you're a PS+ member). I've had this game on my "to play" list for a while. How cool would it be to take a year off work and just catch up on all the video games I've missed out from the past decade.
  • 3-pack Tenda Nova MW3 mesh wi-fi kit is $149 at Mwave & PC Byte. Dunno if they're any good, but they're way cheaper than the Netgear Orbi. Can't be that bad? Includes a free movie ticket too (you snap a pic of the box barcode and send it to Tenda on Facebook Messenger - that's a bit weird).
  • That's it, see ya Monday, because tomorrow is Josh's turn to edge you closer to throwing your smartphone out of a moving train and going off-grid in the Strzelecki National Park.

     Son of Sam - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion