The Sizzle

Issue 39 - Thursday 26th November, 2015 - Nickleback


UK telcos seriously considering running ISP level ad-blockers
UK telco O2 is considering following competitor EE's plan to block mobile ads at the ISP level. They're framing it as a pro-customer exercise, removing the horrible shit sandwich that is advertising from people's phones, without them having to do anything. Awesome, right? Well really it's so they can extract money from advertisers and publishers to be whitelisted for EE or O2's customers. Genius move, extortion is a proven business model. I'm counting down the days until our local telcos say they're gonna do the same thing.

Third day of Dell's pre-installed root CA bullshit
Okay Dell, now you're just taking the piss. Another dodgy pre-installed root CA?! Just like the eDellRoot certificate, the newly discovered DSDTestProvider certificate is pre-installed on many Dell computers, all with the same private key. For a practical example of why this is Bad Stuff, check out this blog post where someone uses Lenovo's Superfish certificate to steal Internet banking credentials. This sort of exploit is not far fetched in the slightest. Let this be a lesson to anyone buying a new Windows laptop - nuke the entire HDD before using it and install Windows fresh from a legit ISO from the Microsoft website.

Many dealers don't wanna sell electric cars
Electric cars are great not just because there's no carbon emissions from a tailpipe, but there's also little to no servicing beyond checking the tyres and changing windscreen wiper blades. This is a Good Thing(TM) for us consumers, but the car dealerships are shitty at losing what is a nice revenue stream. It's not uncommon for dealers to sell at a car at cost in the hope of recouping profits via dealer rebates and overpriced servicing for years. So yeah, vested interests once again holding back something great, ugh.

30 Million PlayStation 4s sold
Sony has proudly announced that they've sold 30 million PS4s since it was released in November 2013. Microsoft hasn't announced how many Xbox Ones they've sold lately, but people estimate it's around 15 million. Looks like Sony is the horse to hitch your console wagon to, if you haven't already. I got one a few weeks ago and it's alright. I barely get to use it thanks to my wife hogging it for Fallout 4 whenever she gets a chance. To put this into perspective, Sony sold 25 million PS2s in its first 2 years and it went on to sell close to 155 million PS2s over its lifetime. I dunno if the PS4 will ever scale those heights. Consoles have a lot more competition from smartphones and tablets than they did back in the early-mid 2000s.

If your anti-piracy video doesn't go viral, we will bankrupt you
A Czech bloke called Jakub was nabbed by the BSA for being a naughty boy, posting links on warez forums to pirated software he uploaded to file sharing sites. Very illegal, very bad, depriving businesses their hard earned monies. Normally punishment for this sort of thing is a hefty fine, but in Jakub's case, the BSA agreed to let him make a video about how piracy ruined his life and post it on YouTube. Part of the agreement is that he has to get 200,000 views, otherwise the BSA will re-consider their decision not to chase a monetary punishment. Let's all watch the video over and over, so that Jakub can avoid harsher punishment.


25% iTunes Credit at Kmart
Cheap iTunes credit isn't exactly newsworthy. 20% off iTunes cards is a regular occurrence, but this 25% off at Kmart deal is worth a mention. Load up on $20 cards as Christmas gifts for people you don't really care enough about to purchase a more thoughtful present. Hopefully your workplace hasn't banned gift cards as part of Kris Kringle, otherwise you might need to put some effort into finding something inoffensive for a person you've maybe talked to twice in the past year.

MacBook charger teardown
Ken Shriff, the man who did a great series of teardowns on the official and counterfeit iPad and iPhone chargers has ripped apart an 85W MagSafe charger for our enjoyment and education. Two things popped up as interesting for me: A) The TI MSP430 microcontroller that monitors the charger's voltage and current is about as powerful as the CPU in the first Mac. B) the fake charger he tore apart wasn't that bad and Ken admits that Apple seriously overcharges for these accessories.

US fibre networks closely resemble US railroads and other network infrastructure adventures
Ingrid Burrington has been writing an excellent series of articles for The Atlantic, exploring what exactly is "the cloud" and visiting the physical locations associated with what's typical seen as a purely virtual thing. The latest article is about the famous US railroads - the platform for the USA's growth and expansion pre-WW2 - and how the next platform for America's growth, the Internet and fibre optic cable, physically follows the railroads set down over 200 years ago. Be sure to read the entire series as Ingrid drives around the USA, it's fascinating stuff.

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.