The Sizzle

Issue 71 - Monday, 25th January 2016 - I Quite Enjoyed Shortbus


Netflix start blocking some VPNs and proxies
When Netflix announced that they're operating in every country in the world (except China) now, they said they'll also begin to crack down on ways to work around the geo-restrictions. This has already begun for some Australians using uFlix, where it appears that random users are being told by Netflix that they're using a proxy or VPN and that they should turn it off to use Netflix. I'm sure the purveyors of region spoofing services will find a way around Netflix's attempts and hopefully Netflix don't try too hard to thwart them.

Blue Origin successfully re-use their New Shepherd rocket
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos's rocket company, managed to launch and land the New Shepherd rocket on the weekend. The same rocket they used back in November. SpaceX (Elon Musk's rocket company) hasn't managed to do this yet, so this is an important milestone for Blue Origin as New Shepherd is the first rocket to actually be launched, landed and then launched again.

Google gives Apple lots of money to be the default search engine on iOS
You know how when you do a search in Safari on your iPhone, it goes to Google? And you know how you can change it to something else, but nobody really does that? Well Google know and even though Apple and Google are deep into their cold war, Google gave Apple US$1bn in 2014 to make sure it remains the default option in iOS. Just another little gem of info in that Oracle vs. Google lawsuit going on right now.

NAB adds NFC payment to Android app
NAB have given their Android app a major new feature - the ability to use the NFC stuff in your phone for contactless payments. You can only use your NAB Visa Debit card (no credit cards), but it brings a relatively hassle free way to pay for stuff without needing to burden yourself with the physical plastic. The Commonwealth Bank's Android app does this too, but also allows use of your CBA credit cards, not just Visa Debit. Meanwhile, the NAB iOS app isn't even native resolution on iPhone 6/6 Plus and doesn't support Touch ID, ugh.

Tim Cook meets his holiness, the one and only, Pope Francis
Tim Cook met Pope Francis over the weekend. It's like my favourite thing and my mum's favourite thing crossed paths! The two chatted for 15 minutes and took a few photos. Dunno what they talked about. Molto bene.


An arcade themed hotel opens in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a nice place, full of canals and bikes and EFTPOS terminals that call you a cunt. Now it's home to a "gamer hotel", called The Arcade. Each room has a vintage gaming system in it and has a comic book collecion in the lobby. I thought it was cool and I miss Amsterdam.

Anandtech reviews the iPad Pro
Anandtech took a while to get their review of the iPad Pro out, but it's here and it's full of the nerdy details you know and love. There's an excellent explanation of how the ARM and x86 instruction sets differ and a large amount of head to head Core m3/m5 vs. A9X benchmarks. The A9X is a beast and comes close to the Core m3, but doesn't beat the Core m5 yet.

Amazon's customer service lets too much info slip
Eric Springer received an email from Amazon wanting feedback on how his recent customer service experience went. But he hasn't contacted Amazon customer service for a while. He asked for the chat logs between "himself" and Amazon and found out that Amazon would hand out his real physical address and phone number just based on an old, fake WHOIS entry on a domain name - giving the attacker enough data to use when contacting a bank to do real damage like getting a new credit card. A great example of how you can have security tight as you like, there's always a weak link in the chain somewhere and even a company like Amazon can be vulnerable.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!