Issue 872

Thursday, 9th May 2019

In This Issue


ACCC blocks TPG & Vodafone merger

The ACCC has blocked the merger of TPG and Vodafone. According to them, "Australia already has a very concentrated mobile services market" and that if TPG and Vodafone merged it would "substantially lessen competition in the supply of mobile services because the proposed merger would preclude TPG entering as the fourth mobile network operator in Australia". But TPG said months ago that it's probably not going to roll out a mobile network because the government banned Huawei from operating here. Voda and TPG have appealed the ACCC's decision. I personally don't think it made sense for Australia to have 4 mobile networks - three is the sweet spot and by TPG and Vodafone working together, they had a real shot at properly challenging Optus and Telstra in a way they can't when separate. I reckon the ACCC screwed up with this decision.

Samsung left all their SmartThings app code dangling in the wind

Security researchers found that a GitLab instance belonging to a division of Samsung that develops its SmartThings platform was totally public, for God knows how long, exposing "credentials that allowed access to the entire AWS account" and "more than 100 S3 storage buckets that contained logs and analytics data". There were also private tokens for other Samsung GitLab instances that if maliciously used, "could have allowed him to make code changes using a staffer’s own account". Pretty shoddy stuff from people that should know better.

UK survives a week without electricity generated from coal

The UK's national electricity grid has been coal free for an entire week. The first time since 1882 when the first coal-fired electricity station opened up during the industrial revolution. The UK is aiming to be coal electricity free by 2025 and looks set to do that relatively easily. Meanwhile, Australia, blessed with so much more land mass (solar farms aren't competing with agriculture or residential land), so much more sunlight (to leverage those solar panels) and way more coastline (for shitloads of offshore wind) has no plan to cease generating eletricity from coal. What a goddamn joke.

Esports competitors have a hard time getting visas to compete in Australian tournaments

Apparently getting a visa to compete in Australian esports competitions is a major pain in the arse according to the organisers of the Intel Extreme Masters Sydney. They tried to get one for Nikola 'NiKo' Kovac, a Bosnia and Herzegovina national in one of the world's top teams, but the process took so long and was so convoluted he missed the tournament. Other countries recognise professional esports competitors as athletes, which makes the process easy - but not Australia.

Amazon launches Camp Amazon in 100 "underprivileged" NSW & VIC schools

Amazon is launching the Camp Amazon program in NSW and Victorian schools, to "inspire and encourage children from underserved and low-income communities to pursue careers in computer science". 100 schools across the two states will offer "STEM activities including coding camps and workshops undertaken at Amazon's fulfillment centres in either Melbourne or Sydney after school or during summer holiday". Can't see anything about it on an Australian Amazon page, but here's the US program that I assume they're bringing here.

Not News, But Still Cool

Kids are bullied about having basic Fortnite character skins

Kids getting bullied for having default Fortnite characters is a thing now. If you're unfamiliar with Fortnite, the game is free but if you want to look cool and kit your player out with fancy clothes or dances, that costs real money. It has no effect on your skill or how the game is played. Kids from families that can't afford to piss away hard earned money on clothes for an in-game character are now being ostracised at school and in the game itself because they play with the default character skins. Never underestimate the cruelty of children.

A collection of 230 cool Mac menu bar apps

Is your Mac's menu bar not already clogged with icons (the menu bar are those icons next to the time in the top right corner)? Add some more from this curated directory of 230+ Mac menu bar apps! I personally have about half a dozen things in my Mac's menu bar but most of them I don't really interact with - there's Downlink, Carbon Copy Cloner, Moom, Arq, OneDrive, 1Password, iStat Menus and then the date & time. I rarely click em, but do like seeing the Arq animation for when there's backups happening and sometimes 1Password for generating passwords quickly.

Cheap Razer eGPU, 4K Blu-Rays, Xiaomi Mi A2, Samsung SSDs, Lenovo X1 Carbon

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 A Different City - Modest Mouse