Issue 1371 - Monday 24th May, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Tim Cook takes the stand in Apple vs Epic case, judge asks plenty of questions

On the final day of the Apple vs Epic court hearings, Tim Cook took the stand and copped a bit of questioning from the judge, giving us a hint as to her ruling. A big issue Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers had was with Apple's refusal to allow developers to let users know that cheaper options for in-app purchases or subscriptions are available elsewhere. She also found it odd that after the first interaction, Apple continues to keep taking a cut, despite the continued use of the app being mostly the work of the developer, not Apple, to keep that customer. MacRumours has an article highlighting most of the anecdotes from Tim Cook's appearance.

CSIRO/Data61 disband world leading seL4 secure microkernel team because it only cares about AI now

I've never heard of the seL4 microkernel, but apparently it's a world leading piece of open source software thta claims to be "the world’s most highly assured operating system kernel", developed heavily within CSIRO's Data61 division. I bring it up because the team working on it was disbanded by the CSIRO last week, with the people involved moved to AI related projects within Data61 or sacked. It wasn't a sexy project or headline grabbing, but it was important, good quality software but because the government is fixated on nebulous AI projects, seL4 got its funding chopped as "as Trustworthy Systems no longer fits the agency’s strategy". Pretty short sighted decision considering all the mess around cybersecurity.

ACMA formally warns telcos to properly verify customers before porting mobile numbers

ACMA has given formal warnings to Telstra, Optus and Aldi because they "failed to adequately verify people's identities prior to transferring their mobile phone numbers from other telcos". It was only ~100 or so incidents, but still, how absolutely fucked would you be if someone nicked your mobile number? It should be a bit of a pain in the arse to port a number across. I get why the telcos don't want it to be too much of a hassle (can't poach customers from other providers as easily) but when mobile numbers are used for verifying access to government services, bank accounts and more, the system should be way more robust in avoiding number theft. Sending an SMS to the old number with a code to verify the transfer is a good start, but even that seems open to abuse.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Practical and technical renewable energy info on Evan Beaver's blog

Evan Beaver writes sporadic, but excellent technical blog posts about renewable energy and EV charging. Two of my favourites are him explaining the role of batteries in our electricity grid and how nuclear power is uneconomical and too late to the game in Australia. His entire archives is worth a read if you're looking to get some non-agenda driven opinions on this topic. Most media outlets are hopeless at covering the energy market as the journalists often have poor technical knowledge to explain what's going on.


The End

📻 Pssyche - Killing Joke

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​