From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Up close and personal. While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was hoping that yesterday would be the time to set his agenda for the next few months of government, the headlines were instead dominated by the protesters who marched up on stage with posters, demanding that the government close offshore detention centres. The AFP says it is investigating how the protesters got into the event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne and hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. The Age reported that the protesters had “infiltrated” the space, with Tony Wright’s description of events in fine form. We suggest police investigate how protesters used their credit cards to buy tickets just like everyone else, and how some of them registered as members of the media — this was hiding in plain sight.

While the protest took the wind out of Turnbull’s sails, it did make us in the Crikey bunker think that getting close to our leaders is very easy in Australia. In 2013, the intruder who got up on stage with the jubilant Abbott family on election night had made it into the venue by making his own wristband for the event.

gloria kalache tweet

Turnbull couldn’t catch a break yesterday. When he gave money to one of Melbourne’s many rough sleepers, some media outlets decided to focus not on the good deed but on what Turnbull was holding in his left hand: cash that he wasn’t giving away. It’s a lose-lose situation for Turnbull; if he is seen to be giving an extravagant amount of money to one homeless person, there would be criticism, and he comes under fire for keeping some cash for himself. Ms Tips has a solution though — get a nice leather wallet so no one can see what is in it. Father’s Day is in a few weeks, so he shouldn’t have to wait long.

TV bosses lunch. The Rag and Famish Hotel in North Sydney was the place to be at lunchtime yesterday, as head honchos from Channel Seven and Channel Nine sat down for a good ol’ chinwag. “Very cosy,” our informant says. If only we knew what was discussed.

Gotta avoid ’em all. Governments all over the world have found reason to warn people about the dangers of playing Pokemon Go in public. But this warning from the Political and Military Affairs Bureau of the United States Department of State has taken Pokemon Go warnings to a new level. The Twitter account has warned players travelling in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos to watch out for landmines or unexploded bombs while they are chasing Bulbasaurs and Pikachus.

pokemon tweet

Census site by students. We always love a “we could do it cheaper than the government” yarn, and we know that the complete failure of the census is of great interest to our readers. So the headline “How two Uni Students built a better census site in just 54 hours for $500” sounded like a cracker. So how do Austin Wiltshire and Bernd Harzer claim they have beaten IBM and the ABS at this census game? EFTM reports:

“The traditional approach to designing web services is ‘on-premise’ — this means that somewhere there are a bunch of computers all built to serve up the content — in this case, census forms.  This is what IBM and the ABS did with the actual Census.

“But at the Code Network ‘winter hack-a-thon’ on the weekend, these two smart cookies went for a ‘cloud-first’ design which can quite simply ‘infinitely scale’.

“What this means is, you use a service like AWS (Amazon Web Services) and the software is built to simply grow, as load increases, it re-deploys itself to continually be able to cope with the demand.”

That’s enough for Ms Tips to understand, because putting everything on the cloud is supposed to fix everything, right? But Ms Tips’ grandpa says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and the two students who took part in the Hackathon say that it would be expensive to protect their site from DDoS attacks, and make no mention of how secure the data entered into the cloud forms would be. We’re not sure where the cost of $500 comes from, but if that’s for 54 hours of work, we are worried that innovation won’t be adding much capital to the economy.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey