The Sizzle

Issue 9 - Wednesday 15th October, 2015 - Safer Communities Together

Just a heads up - next Monday (19th Oct) I'll be busy all day (leave home at 6am get home at 7pm) with a job I had lined up before I started The Sizzle. Because of this, I won't have any time at all to write The Sizzle for that day like I normally do. So Monday's issue will be written up Sunday and mainly consist of not so fresh news, but stuff I liked throughout the week but didn't think it was "newsworthy" enough to go in on that day. I hope this is ok, I am sorry and it won't happen again :(

Flash has a new unpatched vulnerability. Again. This one is CVE-2015-7645. It's apparently been used by those dark shady hackers to target NATO and the Whitehouse via spear phishing emails. Adobe announced that a patch will come on some time next week. But for the love of God, stop using Flash. It's a massive shitheap of vulnerabilities that are usually pretty serious and allow attackers to take over your computer because it has so much access system wide. Even if you religiously update or let Flash auto-update itself, crap like this happens. Death to Flash.

Netflix announced it's 3rd quarter earnings results and the noteworthy news I thought was the fact there's 70 million Netflix subscribers now. Added to that, Netflix has been shown as one of primary reasons digital media piracy has dropped in Australia by 4% - the first time piracy rates have dropped in Australia. Fancy that, hey? Give people an easy, well priced way to watch stuff they wanna see and they stop stealing it. Amazing.

Apple might have to pay the University of Wisconsin-Madison (who do more than just teach cheese related courses and carry out cheese related research) US$800m+ for violating a patent UWM holds relating to a "table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer". Mmmhmm. Naughty Apple. Time to dig out some cash from the off-shore accounts Timmy. This piece from The Conversation (I did an internship there a few years ago! I sucked at it!) muses if universities should transition into patent troll activities. Such activity would help fill the coffers and I'd rather see the cash go to a uni than to some douchebag running a business doing nothing but trolling patent holders.

The JPEG spec has been good to us for many years, as cornerstone of cat memes and porn, freely shared and viewed easily. But the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group!) group who oversee the JPEG spec are thinking abotu adding DRM to it. Insert a Tina Belcher-esque, uggghhhhhhhhh, here. Luckily the EFF have given a nice presentation to the JPEG and explained why this is a Bad Idea. Whether they listen or not, who knows.

Revenge porn is one of the shittiest things one person can do to another besides killing them. Breaking that intimate trust just because you're pissed off? Total scumbag move. Unfortunately it's been a huge hassle for people to remove pictures and videos of themselves they don't want online. California is finally taking this issue seriously, by setting up a cyber exploitation hub where victims of this ratbag act can get help. Hopefully other jurisdictions around the world can set up similar sites and laws. Don't read the comments on this issue though - it's full of dickheads victim blaming, ugh.

Backblaze is a great way to backup all your shit to the cloud on the cheap, but what I find more useful from them than their backup service, is their regularly updated blog and the HDD reliability stats they provide. They've averaged out the failure rates on over 49,000 drives in their servers and given us a lot of nice stats. To cut to the chase, WD has the most failures at the moment. There was a giant spike in Seagate failures last a few quarters ago due to a bad batch, but once those drives were flushed out of Backblaze's boxes WD took over. Overall though, 5% of HDDs, regardless of manufacturer failed. That's roughly every 20 drives, one will kick the bucket, taking all your data with it. This is why you back your fucking data up. Do it now if you haven't already, it's only a matter of time before you lose the lot.

Adam Lisagor usually bothers me and rubs me the wrong way, but his latest thing "Computer Show", which apparently isn't an ad (I thought it was some viral marketing campaign for another shit SF startup), is quite fun. It's a video series filmed now, but set in the 80s and everyone is still in the 80s besides the subjects of the show, who are people doing relatively interesting things with technology in 2015. Tim and Eric would be proud I reckon. Deffo give this a watch.

If I ever came into like, a million dollars out of nowhere, I'd be seriously tempted to blow a tenth of that on a Tesla Model S. But for now I'll just have to live vicariously through blog posts like this, which describe the latest update Tesla pushed out to its cars. Thanks to the new software update, the Tesla Model S can now drive itself on freeways. You could take a nap in the back seat whilst the Tesla hurtles down the freeway, as not only does it have adaptive cruise control, but also steering control to keep your car in the right lane. It'll even change lanes for you! Here's a video of it in action. So cool. So expensive. But so cool.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Convert your free trial into a paid subscription now and never miss an issue! Already a subscriber? Thanks for being awesome.