The Sizzle

Issue 38 - Wednesday 25th November, 2015 - Mine's The Scientist


The Optus HFC network NBN paid $800m for, needs an extra $375m to get it up to scratch
Ahh the NBN, what was once a forward looking twinkle in a politician's eye is now an expensive pile of crappy wires and routers, adding very little long term benefit. The latest "oops" saga is the state of the Optus HFC network, which is, to the surprise of nobody, ratshit. It'll cost $375m to bring it up to usable standard for NBN services as a lot of the equipment is now end of life and nodes are oversubscribed. This extra work blows out NBN's customer signup targets and they're even considering giving some of the people slated to get HFC, FTTN instead, as it'll be cheaper (but much shitter). Delimiter has uploaded the entire leaked presentation for your perusal.

Dell apologies for the dodgy pre-installed root CA, but still has trouble with its Foundation Services
That thing I mentioned yesterday about Dell pre-installing a root CA with the same keys on everyone's computer that could be used against you? Dell apologised and released a patch to fix it, as well instructions on how to do it manually if you don't trust the patch. That's good of em. But now Dell has a new problem with its Foundation Services - an app that provides Dell support with the ability to remotely detect your service tag, a unique ID. A researcher has figured out how to nab that unique ID and like all unique IDs, it can be used to track you across the Internet without your permission. Just another vector for monetisation or invasion of privacy.

NSW's licence re-imagining transformational innovation process has started and results to appear mid-2016
The horrible burden of carrying your drivers licence, the negative integer of first world problems, will be squashed by the NSW government starting mid-2016. The election promise (yeah I'm sure it won voter hearts and minds) is progressing, with the responsible serving of alcohol and responsible condut of gambling licences, the first to be available in a smartphone app. There's fuck all hard info on what this actually is - just a bunch of press releases. Don't go setting your plastic drivers licence on fire just yet.

Kim Dotcom to learn of his legal fate soon
The US Department of Justice extradition trial that's been dragging on for nine weeks in New Zealand against Kim Dotcom, reached its penultimate stage yesterday. Both sides have given their arguments as to why or why not Kim Dotcom should be taken to the USA to face criminal copyright charges and now we just sit and wait for the judge to make a decision, which could take weeks or months. The detailed intricacies of a nine week court case are difficult to summarise in 200 words, but if you go back through the stories about the case, it's pretty clear this is a very elaborate dog and pony show for the Hollywood mafia.

Apple purchased Faceshift - a motion capture company
Whenever Apple buys a company, it's a glimpse into what Apple is possibly up to. They only buy companies when they want talent, or intellectual property. Their latest purchase is Faceshift, who create motion capture software. It was used in the latest Star Wars film to give some of the CGI characters a more realistic range of facial expressions. Apple has purchased PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio, all augmented reality and facial recognition companies. With the addition of Faceshift, I wonder what Apple has planned for all these acquisitions?


DiecastAircraftForum is everything I love about forums
This has little to do with tech besides the fact it is a forum on the Internet, but finding weird niche forums like this are the reason I don't top myself with a noose made out of Ethernet cable. is exactly what you think it is. 25,000 members, 105,000 threads and over one million posts about model airplanes! As a collector of Qantas model planes (shut up, this is very cool and on fleek), this is a great resource for finding out the little differences between the brands of model airplanes and keeping up to date with the latest releases (come on Qantas 787-9!). People even take photos of their models, posed to look like the real thing.

Nintendo game counsellors - a relic from the 90s remembered
I remember those phone numbers on my Sega Master System cartridges, offering tips and advice for the game if you get stuck. I never called them because it was super expensive and my parents would kill me if I spent money just to get help playing a videogame, but I did wonder what the hell they'd actually do to help. The A.V Club got a few people who were Nintendo game counsellors back in the day to chat about what it is they did. Basically it was reading off prepared guides and a bunch of printed out maps of levels. Everyone hated it because they rarely gave people the info they needed and it was frustrating to even get on the same page as the caller. Truly a relic of its time, never to be repeated.

Cheap Mac apps in Parallel's Black Friday sale
If you're a Mac user who needs to partake in some virtualisation of Windows or Linux, Parallels is a fine choice. Normally it's US$80 on its own, but Parallels has bundled up with some excellent quality Mac apps to sweeten the deal. For US$80 you get Parallels 11, plus 1Password, Evernote Premium, Camtasia (great screencasting app), Pocket Premium (I use this all day for collecting stuff for The Sizzle), PDFpen Pro 7 (eh), SnagIt (fancy screen capture app) and Paralells Access (some remote access thingy for iOS). Excellent bundle for US$80, even better if you're already a Parallels user looking to upgrade to version 11, as the whole kit is only US$50.

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.