The Sizzle

Issue 94 - Thursday, 25th February 2016 - Then Through Guts And Hard Work


Tim Cook talks to ABC in-depth about the FBI/DoJ stuff
Tim Cook has made his first public appearance after writing an open letter to Apple's customers in order to let them know what the FBI and Department of Justice want Apple to do. The full ~30min interview can be seen here on ABC's website and is worth a watch. Seeing Tim so emphatically take a stance on something controversial is so refreshing to see in an age where most figures of power tend not to take a strong public approach, lest they offend anyone important or giving them money.

Xiaomi caps off a busy MWC
The last of the big smartphone manufacturers to announce their latest wares is Xiaomi. They revealed their flagship Mi 5 smartphone, running a Snapdragon 820 SoC and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. It's got some other fancy stuff too like 4-axis OIS on the camera sensor, NFC, fingerprint reader, 3000mAh battery and UFS 2.0 storage. All this for just 2,600 yuan (AU$555). Runs MIUI 7 (which has its flaws and doesn't run Google services like the Play Store or Gmail, etc.) on top of Android 6.0 and only weighs 129g. Seriously nice piece of kit for what could sell in AU for under $600 landed from one of the many Chinese resellers that ship here.

Facebook expands the Like button to have Reactions
If the Like button on Facebook wasn't expressive enough for you, but you were too lazy to actually type out a comment on whatever it is you were Liking, Facebook's new Reactions feature is for you. Now when you press the Like button on Facebook, there will be 5 more options - Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Maybe there should be an "eh" reaction, as that's what I think of this news.

ASUS will be subject to 20 years of security audits for their shitty routers
The US Federal Trade Commission has settled a dispute with ASUS over ASUS's awful security track record on its networking devices. Back in 2013 huge flaws were found in dozens of ASUS products and the FTC decided to look into it. The FTC has today announced that ASUS's products put hundreds of thousands of customers at risk of hacking and as a punishment, ASUS needs to submit its networking devices for independent auditing for the next 20 years and must communicate with all its customers steps they can take to protect themselves from security flaws and when updates arise. This could be a good thing for everyone - all networking gear should be subject to this sort of scrutiny. The full case can be viewed on the FTC website.

Dick Smith is dead (the shop, not the bloke)
Once Dick Smith went into administration, the plan was to sell what they can whilst finding a buyer who could turn the beleaguered brand around. Unfortunately that hasn't happened and the administrators have decided to shut Dick Smith down. 301 stores across Australia and NZ will shut, with over 2,800 staff losing their jobs over the next eight weeks. Dick Smith's "cool" brand, Move, will also shut down, but their airport locations will remain.


The latest in creepy robot tech
Boston Dynamics (aka Google, aka Alphabet) have released a new video of their latest bipedal robot, Atlas. They like to make robots act as human as possible and this seems to be the current state of cyborg tech. Amazing stuff when taken into context. Still hopeless when it comes to mimicking the range of motion a human or an animal has. Very high on the creepy factor too. Imagine having the job of the guy who taunts the robots, hah.

Great price on a nicely kitted out Lenovo Thinkpad E460 laptop
In the market for a new laptop not running Mac OS X? The Lenovo Thinkpad E460 is at an excellent price right now. $888 gets you an i7-6500U CPU, 8GB RAM and a 14" 1080p screen (a rarity these days). Brilliant price for the specs and if you use Cashrewards, take a further 8% off. It doesn't have an SSD installed, but putting one in yourself is easy - just takes a normal 2.5" drive you can grab from MSY in whatever capacity you need.

Nissan LEAF's remote features very poorly secured
The Nissan LEAF is a fine electric car, but it's a not so fine computer. Troy Hunt and his buddies found out that its entire remote control API is freely accessible on the web with no authentication. This allows an attacker full control over the HVAC, which means the attacker can leave the AC/heat for hours, drain the battery and leave you stranded. Trip reports are also accessible without authentication, giving an attacker a way to find out where you've been in your LEAD. Troy let Nissan know over a month ago and Nissan is yet to resolve it, so he went public on his blog.

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!