Issue 867

Thursday, 2nd May 2019
Massive thanks to Josh Withers for filling in with The Sizzle while I took a part-time break the last few weeks! I'm back full-time now, knee deep in the ocean of turds that is tech news.

In This Issue


Don't vote for the ALP or Libs if you care about Australian digital rights

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know that there's an election going on in Australia right now. To aid in where you, as a nerd concerned about things to do with privacy, copyright and ethical data use, should place your vote, Digital Rights Watch has a handy infographic showing the strength of each political party on those issues. Greens, Pirate Party and surprisingly, the Liberal Democrats are the only ones giving a damn. The ALP pay it lip service at best.

ALP throws token amounts of cash at TAFE cybersecurity & Bitcoin Academy projects

Keeping with an election theme, the ALP has decided it'll give $2 million to "fund upgrades to teaching labs and the installation of computer hardware" for a TAFE cyber security training centre at the Kangan Institute in Broadmeadows, so it can offer more cyber security qualifications the industry apparently desperately needs. On the other side of the country, the ALP will give $3m towards a Blockchain Academy in Perth, to "host computer science researchers, economists and corporates, while providing a venue for education programs and showcasing projects". I can smell the pork roasting from here.

Family of man killed using Autopilot sue Tesla, blaming it for his death

The family of a man killed whilst using Autopilot are suing Tesla, alleging that "Walter Huang's Model X didn't just fail to prevent a crash with the lane divider — it actively steered the vehicle into the barrier" in California back in 2018. According to the NTSB, "seven seconds before the deadly crash, "the Tesla began a left steering movement" that carried it into the widening gap between the diverging lanes, which it apparently mistook for a travel lane" and then "began to accelerate and crashed into the lane divider at 70 miles per hour". I look forward to seeing how Elon Musk and his fans spins this to make Tesla look innocent.

Julian Assange to spend 50 weeks in UK jail

Long story short - Julian Assange was on bail in the UK over a rape charge he was slapped with in Sweden. He didn't want to go to Sweden to face those charges because he was afraid of getting extradited to the USA and spending life in prison there, because the yanks are pissed off about his role in the leak of US diplomatic cables. To avoid extradition, the Ecuadorian government at the time, offered Assange refuge in their London embassy. A new Ecuadorian government was recently elected, stopped caring about Assange and let the UK police in to arrest him for skipping bail all those years ago. Today he was sentenced to 50 weeks jail for breaching his bail conditions.

Microsoft joins Apple and Amazon in the trillion dollar market cap club

For a brief moment, Microsoft's market cap hit US$1 trillion. Today, Apple's market cap reached US$1t again. A few months ago, Amazon's market cap hit US$1t (and hovers around US$980b at the moment). Can we all sit and ponder the fact that within 3 tech companies alone, there's US$3t of "value"? I think it gets lost on many of us who see these names every day and have been around them so long, that these companies are literally worth trillions of dollars. The amount of wealth involved is unfathomable. I also thought it was interesting it's Apple and Microsoft leading the way, still, after all these years.

Not News, But Still Cool

Weep in envy at this DIY smartwatch

Samson March posted pics of a handmade smartwatch on Imgur a few days ago and damn, I am impressed. First of all, it looks good and it works - massive props. But even more impressive is the fact we live in an age where relatively advanced technology is so accessible that a single person can construct their own wrist computer! It's like those Dick Smith Fun Ways into Electronics projects I did as a kid, but on steroids.

Track how many smartphones are in a room with this Python script

Howmanypeoplearearound is a tidy little Github project that "calculates the number of people in the vicinity using the approximate number of smartphones as a proxy (since ~70% of people have smartphones nowadays). A cellphone is determined to be in proximity to the computer based on sniffing WiFi probe requests". It'll even generate charts to show how busy the area is over a certain period of time. I don't know what you'd use it for, but it looks like a bit of fun and a piece of piss to setup.

Cheap Nintendo LABO kits, Galaxy S10e, Kogan mobile prepaid, Onkyo receiver, Lenovo Smart Display

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Very Ape - Nirvana