Issue 1511 - Thursday 9th December, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Brace yourself for Australian cryptocurrency & digital wallet regulation

Yesterday the federal Treasurer announced "significant reforms" to Australia's payment systems, with the aim of modernising laws regarding how we send money around. The government will look at "regulating cryptocurrency exchanges", "investigate the feasibility of establishing a retail central bank digital currency" and "give the Treasurer the power to designate new and emerging payment platforms such as Apple Pay and apply the same rules and regulations to them as apply to the big banks". Expect a strategic plan in mid-2022 and laws based on that by the end of 2022 - election results pending.

Apple temporarily avoids enabling 3rd party payments on the App Store

Apple had a deadline of tomorrow for allowing 3rd-party payment systems for in-app purchases on the App Store, but their injunction against doing so while the matter is appealed was successful. The appeal will take months to be heard, so nothing has to change on the App Store any time soon. I was excited about this, but Apple told the appeals court (and the court seems to agree) that they're entitled to collect a commission on transactions on the App Store even if a 3rd-party platform is used to process it - exactly what Google is doing with "service fees" in South Korea. Fucking bastards.

A deep dive into Apple's grubby business dealings with Chinese government

The Information has published a long and detailed expose on Apple's covert dealings with Chinese authorities over the last 5 years. It's hard to distill this story down to a paragraph, but it's full of anecdotes showing how Apple would do anything to keep the Chinese government happy so Apple can keep on making and selling stuff there. The $1b they invested in Didi was simply grease for to stop a government dirt campaign impacting iPhone sales. Regulatory approval of the Apple Watch was held ransom in return for Apple modifying Maps to suit China's agenda, which Apple caved on. Other companies like Microsoft and Google don't bend this much for China, but Apple keep doing it over and over and over again.

Something I Saw On The Internet

I'm excited for the James Webb Space Telescope launch!

Nature's got a great story about the soon to launch James Webb Space Telescope. It's gonna be able to see things further away than ever before, which is cool, but I'm fascinated with the deployment process. No joke, this thing is the most complicated beast humanity's ever sent into space. Unfurling the telescope will take 6 months, with the delicate mirrors needing extra care. It'll then spend 2 months just calibrating them for use in space. Even though JWST launches on the 22nd of December, it won't be unpacked and ready for operations until mid-2022. If one of those steps fucks up, well, good luck fixing it from Earth. Makes deploying a server look comically easy.


The End

📻 Plethysmograph - Jello Biafra & The Melvins

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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.