Issue 875

Tuesday, 14th May 2019

In This Issue


US Supreme Court to hear Apple anti-trust case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of "a group of iPhone users who accuse Apple of driving up the price of apps by charging third-party app developers a 30% commission". The court hasn't said Apple is guilty of this, just that it thinks there's enough ground to explore the issue further. The New York Times explains my opinion on this better than I could - "On the one hand, the closed environment is a boon to consumer privacy because the company has the leverage to insist upon it; on the other hand, that environment fosters a kind of monopoly". Good luck to the Supreme Court in nutting this out.

Swedish prosecutors have re-opened the rape investigation into Julian Assange, at the request of the victim's lawyers. The incident happened almost 10 years ago and the Swedes closed the investigation in 2017 due to "circumstances at the time which prohibited the furtherance on the investigation" (i.e: Assange hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy). Now that he's in UK custody, Sweden wants him extradited to face the music on this rape stuff. If you're unfamiliar with what the go is surrounding this rape stuff, here's an explainer on Wikipedia.

5,000 free TAFE courses to boost Australia's IT skills if ALP win election

Another day, another election promise - there will be 5,000 free TAFE spots for "IT networking and systems administration, software and website development and user experience/user interface skills" if the ALP win the election on Saturday. This is to address a skills shortage outlined in an Australian Computer Society and Deloitte Access Economics report that reckons we need 100,000 extra ICT workers by 2023. Interestingly, the ALP will make it a condition of the free spots that half go to women. That's one way to end the IT sausagefest!

Lenovo shows off folding PC it plans to sell next year

Lenovo's shown off a prototype folding PC. Yeah, yeah, I know laptops are technically folding PCs, but imagine if the entire laptop when open, is a screen. It's more of a folding tablet or a giant folding smartphone (ala Galaxy Fold, than a PC to me, but I guess they're calling it a PC because it runs Windows. I could spend hundreds of words explaining it, but just go watch this video from The Verge. Lenovo plan to release it next year under it's ThinkPad X1 brand. When used with an external keyboard (typing on glass sucks), it looks pretty cool.

iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3 are live

Apple has unloaded a bunch of new software updates overnight: iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3. There's not a lot going on in these updates, just the usual bug fixes and stuff. There's a new Apple TV app for iOS and tvOS, but nobody actually uses that app do they? AirPlay 2 support is now a thing across all platforms. The watchOS update adds ECG capability to S4 watches in Croatia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Slovakia. Weird list.

Not News, But Still Cool

Mesh wi-fi doesn't always beat a single good access point

Of all the questions you lot email me with, the most common one is "my wi-fi is fucken ratshit, what can I do to fix it?" and the answer I give is "if you're a dork with levels of patience, get some ubiquiti gear, normal sane people should get a Netgear Orbi" - but according to Wirecutter, mesh wi-fi isn't as good in practice as it seems on paper. They found that in a ~220sqm home, a standalone router (i.e: Netgear R7000P) and a mesh setup (Netgear Orbi) provided basically the same performance. The mysteries of perfect wi-fi continues to remain a black art.

Simple Analytics is a nice alternative to Google's

Have you got a website and you want to know who's visiting, but don't want to use Google Analytics or some other creepy platform that collects way too much data, keeps it forever, tracks users across sites and sells that info? Give Simple Analytics a shot. It costs money (US$9/m for sub-100k page views/m), but that's usually a good sign they don't have an ulterior motive with your data. I don't know if they're the best on the market, but I really like that they're clear on what data they do and don't collect and how long they keep it for.

Get down to Queensland Museum and look at some NASA artefacts

The Queensland Museum has a new exhibit, NASA – A Human Adventure, that will feature "objects that actually have flown through space, to high-fidelity models, to both small-size and full-scale replicas. Think real rocket engines, space food, space suits, lunar cameras and moon boots, plus miniature versions of NASA's Space Shuttle, Lunar Rover, and Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space crafts". It'll hang around until the 9th of October and won't be going anywhere else in Australia. Sounds like a good excuse for me to finally visit Brisbane.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Wake Up - Rage Against the Machine