The Sizzle

Issue 353 - Thursday, 16th March 2017


Brisbane City Council pissed away $60m for an IT system that may never work
Brisbane City Council has been hit with a nice juicy IT fuckup to the tune of $60m. BCC tried to get 13 systems into one mega system and paid TechnologyOne to do it. But back in January the council announced that it'll actually take 18 months longer and cost 50% more than they initially planned. Now two people working for the council have left and the council is still trying to negotiate a new contract with TechnologyOne to actually get what they paid for. Of course, Technology One is blaming the council for changing the "strategy" and "business processes" from the original deal. Oh government IT projects, they're doomed to fail from day one. What's it gonna take for an IT project to actually happen on time, on budget and make the user's job easier?

AMD's mid-range Ryzen 5 CPUs get a date & price
AMD has announced dates & pricing for the mid-range Ryzen CPU range. The Ryzen 5 will be out April 11th and the 4 core Ryzen 5 1500X model will cost ya US$189, so about $299 here. There's also 6-core models (the 1600 and 1600X) that are $219 and $249. No benchmarks yet, but you'd assume they'd scale similar to the 7 series - single thread perf isn't as good as the 7th gen Intels, but multi-core is off the chain for the price. I'd be very tempted to pick up a Ryzen 5 1400 and pair it up with an RX480 for a nice and cheap 1080p gaming box.

The Turks are calling the Dutch Nazis via hacked Twitter accounts
You may have noticed a bunch of Twitter accounts not normally associated with Nazis, spouting Nazi rhetoric in Turkish last night. Heaps of Twitter accounts linked to Twitter Counter were hacked and used to spread some vile propaganda by Turkish weirdos that have some sort of beef with the Netherlands (the hackers are calling it an "Ottoman Slap" lol). Twitter Counter haven't said anything about the hack yet, just that they're investigating. Apparently 350 million Twitter accounts use it, hmm. I tried to visit the site but Pi-Hole blocks it and all its tracking code.

The FBI has started a manhunt for the 4 Russians that totally owned Yahoo's email service
That big hack of Yahoo where half a billion email accounts were busted in to was apparently done by a bunch of Russians. It's always the damn Russians. The Department of Justice has released the names of who they think responsible and has put out wanted posters for their arrest. The 4 blokes leveraged their access to Yahoo's email system to read the inboxes of "U.S. government officials, Russian journalists, employees of other internet firms the hackers wanted to infiltrate and employees of financial companies". Brian Krebs has more detail if ya wanna know more.

Maccas USA starts testing a mobile ordering & payment app - AU by end of year
McDonalds in the USA has started testing mobile ordering and payment. 29 restaurants are in on it and McDonalds plans to roll it out across the USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany, China and Australia by the end of the year. The app lets you order whatever you want in the app, then pay for it. It'll then use geofencing to know when you and your phone are close to the store, then start preparing the food and have it ready for collection. I wonder if it'll work in the drive through, or if you'll have to put on pants and walk inside the store?


More transactions completed with cards than cash or cheque in AU
Here's a bit of interesting trivia for ya - more transactions in Australia are completed with debit or credit cards than are done with cash or cheques. The first time this has occurred in Australia. I haven't read the entire report the Reserve Bank published recently, but it does mention cash is still very popular with "some segments of the community" (aka old people). As much as this is good and all and ewww cash, what bothers me is that gives companies like Mastercard and Visa are making insane profits off every single transaction. Sure, they built this technology and network and stuff and they're entitled to it, but it's a pretty large concentration of influence these companies have over something as fundamental as moving money around.

New version of FreeNAS looks nice
FreeNAS is an excellent way to build a file server. It's free, runs on commodity hardware and supports the wonderful ZFS - a powerful file system designed for reliability. There's now an all new version of FreeNAS with a rather spiffy looking interface and support for Docker containers. I still think that for most people, a Synology NAS is a better bet, but if you want to shove heaps of drives into something cheap, you'll definitely spend a lot less money on building your own server and running FreeNAS.

The 20% off tech eBay sale continues
That 20% off tech sale on eBay is still going and Dick Smith (aka Kogan) has been added to the list of retailers where the CYBER code is valid. This means a bunch of Apple stuff imported from HK is pretty damn cheap.

Other bargains around in the same sale (it really is an awesome sale) include the Belkin Powerhouse iPhone & Apple Watch charging station is $100, which I'd buy if I had an Apple Watch like the one above. An iPhone SE 64GB for $520 - outstanding value. Dell U2715H 2560x1440 IPS monitor for $548. The best Android phone, the Google Pixel 32GB is $785. Nintendo Switch with Zelda included for $495.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!

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