The Chinese firm Huawei is in the limelight again for allegedly snooping on the Dutch prime minister’s phone calls, with the information used to track down Chinese dissidents. This was a while back and it only came to light now because back then the Dutch were worried about exposure. Huawei was able to do this because they have core components in the Netherlands’ mobile network. The result was that Huawei employees could not only listen in on any conversation but also identify those in the conversations across their 3G and 4G networks. Even today, the Chinese have admin-level access due to the network management outsourcing deal. Huawei strenuously denied any wrongdoing but those thinking that their 5G Huawei networks will be safe might want to rethink this or look very carefully at the access granted under the contracts.
– With 40 years of gameplay behind me, I declare RAID Shadow Legends as the worst game ever, yes even worse than, and I never thought I’d ever write this, Evony. It is a micro-pay game that pretends to be free but any meaningful progress requires money and large sums of it. After about a year, I progressed to level 65 but refused to pay money and some of the packs are as much as US$120 (3,770 baht) each. That is more than a top-of-the-line PS4 game costs and that is for a single set of items. There are regular updates after which your position and power are often reduced or limited, dropping you down the ladder so that you have to spend hours grinding your way back up again. I’m getting nowhere and going backwards fast and most of that occurs while you are asleep. If you have lots of spare cash, enjoy being beaten down, with the rules constantly changing, then this may be the game for you. If not, then avoid it at all costs.
– Another game that has still not been fixed is the Prime version of Ingress. In the game, energy will vanish across the whole screen and a portal will show as fully charged when it isn’t and this is only corrected when the game is restarted. For a game that requires you to walk or move around, this is unacceptable after over a year since its release.
– Anyone interested in technology would have been impressed by the brief flight of the Ingenuity drone on Mars. The amount of research, testing, technology, programming and co-ordination to have that small drone fly, hover and land over 30 plus seconds is more than some would appreciate. It did all of this in an atmosphere of only 1% of the Earth’s and it did it all by itself based on the programming it had received earlier in the day. If you watched the first video and wondered why it looked cartoonish, it was put together as a GIF file from mostly stills captured by the Perseverance rover. There was also a small square of cloth from the Kitty Hawk on the drone linking the two iconic first flights. For those interested, the flight path to just over 3m was plotted from the data using Python 3.
– The Intel NUC barebones box I want for my new computer is still not available and I’m now considering the AMD Ryzen 7. Comparing the two CPUs, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. It may still be a few more weeks until I can get it all together but I have all the other pieces except Windows 10, being the easiest piece to get.
– For those who still scoff at cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the Bank of England and HM Treasury have formed a task force to “co-ordinate the exploration of a potential UK Central Bank Digital Currency” (CBDC). Some have dubbed it “Britcoin”. This is still at the concept and discovery stage and to that end four bodies have been created to consider the options. One is a task force to co-ordinate all stakeholders and to monitor what others are doing in the area. There are also two forums and a new CBDC Unit at the bank in the mix.
– The nation with the most advanced tests of a CBDC is China. They are interested because it will allow them to more closely watch transactions, particularly for cross-border use. The Digital Renminbi is only at the stage of internal use and issuance by big banks, not available to web giants like Alibaba and Tencent at this stage. The other countries that are pioneering with CBDC are Sweden, the Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, and the Marshall Islands. I expect that many others will follow in time. Organisations like Facebook have also been building the “stablecoin” of the future. Some will remember Facebook’s Libra project. This has quietly been replaced by Diem with a small scale launch this year, without the Libra fanfare. Facebook will stay in the shadows as the Diem Association, a Switzerland-based non-profit which oversees Diem’s development, launches it. Facebook intends this as a means of exchange they can monitor and control between individual Facebook users.