Issue 1323 - Monday 15th March, 2021

I was on today's episode of The Helpdesk, my mate Pete's daily tech podcast. It's only 15 minutes so give it a crack. For some of you it might be the first time you've heard my voice and will be a very clear example of why I'm a writer instead of a podcaster or YouTuber.

In Today's Issue

The News

US traffic safety regulator called out for failing to rein in Tesla's Autopilot

The USA's National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has put the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on notice for a severe lack of autonomous driver assist system regulation - in particular Tesla's Autopilot. After the 2016 death of Tesla owner Josh Brown, the NTSB recommended that Autopilot only be allowed on controlled-access freeways, but the NHTSA failed to implement any laws surrounding the use of such systems, which the NTSB blames for an Autopilot related fatality in 2019. The NTSB is worried another death will occur now that Tesla is going hard and fast with a public beta of "full self driving" because despite 3 Autopilot related deaths, the NHTSA still hasn't regulated its use.

Online Safety Bill goes further up the chain with no scrutiny or reflection

The Online Safety Bill continues to be pushed through the digestive tract of Parliament at an unusually rapid pace, passing a Senate committee last week with basically no changes only 3 weeks since getting introduced in the House of Reps. For those who haven't been paying attention, the Online Safety Bill gives government God-mode like powers to remove any "refused classification" or X18/R18+ content from the internet, regardless of where it is hosted. Digital Rights Watch has more details. It's disgusting to see all the legislative boxes getting ticked way quicker than a law this serious normally would, just to avoid scrutiny and ignoring the consequences.

USA introduces its own version of our news media bargaining code

The US government has introduced the "Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2021" that will "allow news organizations to collectively negotiate with platforms like Facebook and Google the terms in which their content is distributed online". Sound familiar? It's basically our News Media Bargaining Code but in American English instead of Australian English. Microsoft even white-anted Google in the USA like they did here, saying they're ready to abide by the proposed law if Google isn't, pissing off Google who published a very salty blog post highlighting Microsoft's dropping of the ball in the whole SolarWinds hack thing.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Want a microscope on your smartphone? Oppo's Find X3 has you covered

Like most flagship smartphones, Oppo's Find X3 has multiple cameras, but unlike every other phone the Find X3 has a goddamn microscope built-in. They call it a microlens and it lets you do a 60x zoom for extreme close-ups of objects. Like a real microscope the best results come from using it with some sort of stand to keep the camera/phone steady and additional lighting, because you get down that small there's not much light floating around. PetaPixel has some examples of the kind of photos it takes. Yeah it's a gimmick, but it's a fun one.


The End

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