Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Unplanned Floodgap downtime

Floodgap is down due to an upstream circuit cut and TenFourFox users may get timeouts when checking versions. All Floodgap services including web, gopher and E-mail are affected. The telco is on it, but I have no ETA for repair. If the downtime will be prolonged, I may host some services temporarily on a VPS.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

TenFourFox FPR32 SPR3 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 3 "32.3" is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are, once again, no changes to the release notes and nothing notable regarding the security patches in this release. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.3 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual. FPR32.4 will appear on September 7 and the final official build FPR32.5 on October 5.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

And now for something completely different: Australia needs to cut the crap with expats

I'm going to be very tightly focused in this post, because there are tons of politics swirling around COVID-19 (and anyone who knows my actual line of work will know my opinions about it); any comments about masks, vaccines, etc. will be swiftly removed. Normally I don't discuss non-technical topics here, but this is a situation that personally affects me and this is my blog, so there. I want to talk specifically about the newly announced policy that Australians normally resident overseas will now require an exemption to leave the country.

(via twitter)

I am an Australian-American dual citizen (via my mother, who is Australian, but is resident in the United States), and my wife of five years is Australian. She is legimately a resident of Australia because she was completing her master's degree there and had to teach in the Australian system to get an unrestricted credential. All this happened when the borders closed. Anyone normally resident in Australia must obtain an exemption to leave the country and cite good cause, except to a handful of countries like New Zealand (who only makes the perfectly reasonable requirement that its residents have a spot in quarantine for when they return).

It was already difficult to exit Australia before, which is why, for the six weeks that I've gotten to see my wife since January 2020, it was me traveling to Australia. Here again many thanks to Air New Zealand, who were very understanding on rescheduling (twice) and even let us keep our Star Alliance Gold status even though we weren't flying much, I did my two weeks of quarantine, got my two negative tests, and was released into the hinterlands of regional New South Wales to visit that side of the family. Upon return to Sydney Airport, it was a simple matter to leave the country, since it was already obvious in the immigration records that I don't normally reside in it.

(The nearly abandoned International Terminal in Sydney when I left.)

Now, there is the distinct possibility that if I can land a ticket to visit my wife, and if I can get space in hotel quarantine (at A$3000, plus greatly inflated airfares), despite being fully vaccinated, I may not be able to leave. Trying to get my credentials approved in Australia has been hung up for months so I wouldn't be able to have a job there in my current employ, and with my father currently on chemo, if he were to take a turn for the worse there are plenty of horror stories of Australians being unable to see terminally ill family members due to refused exemptions (or, adding insult to injury, being approved when they actually died).

I realize as (technically) an expat there isn't much of a constituency to join, but even given we're in the middle of a pandemic this crap has to stop. Restricting entries is heavyhanded, but understandable. Reminding those exiting that they're responsible for hotel or camp quarantine upon return is onerous (and should be reexamined at minimum for those who have indeed gotten the jab), but defensible. Preventing Australian citizens from leaving altogether, especially those with family, is unconscionable and the arbitrary nature of the exemption process is a foul joke.

If Premier Palaszczuk can strike a pose at the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minster Morrison can go gallivanting with randos in English pubs, those of us who are vaccinated and following the law should have that same freedom. I should be able to visit my wife and she should be able to visit me.