Issue 1242 - Wednesday 4th November, 2020

In Today's Issue

The News

UK's COVID contact tracing app didn't do what it was supposed to & COVIDSafe hasn't been used at all in SA

The UK's equivalent of COVIDSafe, which uses the Apple & Google tracing framework, "failed to send alerts telling people to self-isolate after they came into contact with infected people" because "it was set at the wrong sensitivity" which resulted in thousands of people that probably should have isolated were not told to. Looks like when the app was first released as a test in the Isle of Wight, it was coded to alert people to isolate on a bunch of criteria, but the NHS tightened that criteria for the national release. Those tighter criteria were never added to the app until a recent update. Closer to home, SA's State Coordinator managing the coronavirus response said "I haven't heard of any specific cases where COVIDSafe has produced any material benefit to people who are trying to contact-trace".

ACT lay out a plan to end fossil fuel use by 2045, including EV and new appliance incentives

The freshly elected ACT Labor/Greens government isn't here to fuck spiders, laying out a plan to phase out the use of fossil fuel gas by 2045. Lots of good stuff in there, particularly ending gas connections to new homes and zero interest loans to install efficient electric appliances. We have the technology now for totally gas free homes that are cheaper to run and operate just as well (induction cooktops, reverse cycle HVAC, heat pump hot water), so it's great to see the ACT realise this. but what was most grabbed my interest was up to $15,000 of zero interest loans for electric cars, other financial incentives for EVs (e.g free rego in combination with existing stamp duty discounts) and a reverse auction for 50 rapid EV charging stations in the Canberra region. That's a strong per capita figure.

Apple Silicon event 11th Nov, Apple TV on Xbox, AirPods Pro repair program, Apple One bundles are live

A few little Apple related things floating around that you might want to know about:

Something I Saw On The Internet

Rasperry Pi 400 continues a rich legacy of British computers embedded in keyboards

There's a new Raspberry Pi that channels its 80s UK mini computer ancestors. The Pi 400 is a "slightly faster version of the 4GiB Pi 4 that ships preassembled in a small, wedge-shaped chassis with integrated keyboard" that exposes the 40-pin GPIO bits via. For ~A$150 you get it in a kit along with a matching mouse, USB-C power supply, HDMI cable, microSD card and a beginners guide book. You can get it on its own for $107. Arstechnica has a semi-detailed review of the Pi 400 if you're keen. It's obviously not snappy enough to use as your main desktop PC, but for its purpose of teaching kids a bit of electronics and/or programming it's neat. Either way, use the fastest microSD card possible, it makes a huge difference.


The End

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