The Sizzle

Issue 98 - Wednesday, 2nd March 2016 - Remember


Apple and FBI speak at US Congress committee on encryption
US Congress held a committee on the issue of encryption, hearing comments and asking questions of Apple, the FBI a professor and a district attorney. This gives all sides a chance to let Congress hear what they think should happen and for Congress to get a better understanding of the issue before they go making laws about it. Wired has a good summary of the day, as goes Re/Code. Motherboard summed up that the committee was actually quite hostile towards the FBI with Congress on the side of Apple, but still don't really understand the consequences of built-in backdoors to otherwise secure software. The New York Times ran with a headline highlighting the FBI's incompetence in handling the notorious San Bernardino iPhone. If you're keen, the full 5 hour meeting is on YouTube.

Twitter Moments now live in Australia
Twitter Moments is Twitter's latest attempt to be relevant to people that don't "get" Twitter. Launched in the USA months ago, us Australians now get a taste. Unfortunately, that taste is gross. I checked it out as it's now permanently in the menubar of the official Twitter app and it's very much like Apple News, but instead of proper journalists writing articles, it's a series of tweets on a certain topic from random people. It'll also insert random tweets into your timeline if you follow a certain topic. I'm now using Twitteriffic instead.

DJI unveil the new Phantom 4, one of the top of the line consumer drones
I've flown a few drones before and I suck at it. I crash em, break em and generally have no idea what I am doing. The new DJI Phantom 4 though, it has all kinds of smart stuff in it to make sure it won't crash as easily and even fly itself. It will slow down when it gets close to something and stop if it thinks it will crash. It even has the ability to track an object, say, a car or a person and do so withotu crashing. You could have the Phantom 4 follow you as you walk or run or bike around. Pretty fucken cool! It'll be sold at Apple stores (as well as DJI's usual outlets) for US$1399 (around AU$2200 inc GST) and will ship early April. Here's the official product page.

Western Digital bring 8TB helium drives to the masses
Seagate has had 8TB HDDs for a while using SMR technology, but they are relatively slow. Hitachi (who WD own) used helium in their expensive drives to reach 10TB drives for enterprise applications. Now WD has managed to bring the price down enough to make it part of its popular Red series of NAS optimised drives and provide 8TB drives that are the same speed or faster than the ones before it, unlike Seagate's. Should start seeing these hit the market in the next few weeks.

Turing Award goes to Diffie and Hellman, inventors of public-key cryptography
The Turing Award is akin to a "Nobel Prize" of computing, so it's rather apt that in the current climate of privacy and freedom vs. law and terrorism, that it goes to the inventors of public-key crypto, the very thing protecting all our valuable data. The concept was invented back in the 70s by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. 40 years later and most of the world still doesn't understand the concept (if that's you, watch this video).


Dominos seems to have ripped off Precision Tracking's delivery tracking system
I'm embarrassed I didn't find this story earlier, as it involves two of my favourite things, GPS and pizza. Sydney company Precision Tracking claims Domino's Pizza ripped off their patented delivery tracking system. Precision showed Dominos this tech, did 50 trial installs, but Dominos didn't continue past that. All of a sudden, something that looks very very similar pops up in the Dominos smartphone app and website. Precision Tracking think it's much more than a coincidence and are fighting Dominos to get their fair share. A documentary was made about the battle (arguably paid for by Precision Tracking) and Dominos managed to get the doco banned temporarily.

ICONIC - a book of classy photos of Apple products
An oldie, but a goodie - the ICONIC book has been out for a while and is pretty much the coolest gift you can give an Apple loving dork besides an actual Apple product (which they probably already own all of anyways). This book has beautiful product shots of classic and modern Apple products and comes in a variety of gift boxes. Really nice present for someone. My birthday is in November, by the way.

Hello and welcome to the most mid-90s technology thing you will ever see. Here's some ABC show explaining the Internet in a very hip and cool fashion. Features Helen Razer, who is totally confused and spiteful towards the Internet (I think she still is). I'm not gonna explain much, just sit back and enjoy what the Internet was perceived as 20 long years ago.

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!