The Sizzle

Issue 103 - Wednesday, 9th March 2016 - He Thought I Was Fiddling With His Woman


VAGO releases yet another report into busted government ICT projects
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has released a report of six Victorian government ICT projects that failed to be completed or completed anywhere close to the original budget or scope. The Victorian Department of Justice spent $60m on an infringement management and enforcement system that went nowhere. Worksafe and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation ended up spending within their budgets, but had to rip a lot of functionality from the the eventually completed systems. It's a fascinating report at how inept the government still is in planning ICT projects, after almost a decade of reports saying how inept the government is at ICT.

DoJ appeals NY court's decision on unlocking a drug dealer's iPhone
Last week, a New York judge rightfully agreed with Apple that they shouldn't have to unlock a drug dealer's iPhone. This upset the US Department of Justice, who is currently in battle with Apple over an iPhone involved in the San Bernardino mass shooting. The DoJ has asked the New York court to re-examine the decision - the first step in appealing the decision. Meanwhile the judge tasked with deciding the San Bernardino case is still yet to decide.

Nerd pokes around in his Tesla's firmware, so Tesla tries to downgrade his car
A lucky dude with a Tesla Model S managed to grab the firmware off his car and peek inside the software package. He managed to find reference to a Model S P100D, an as yet unannounced variant of the Model S. Apparently there's other stuff in the firmware he didn't want to share so he doesn't "ruin Tesla's surprises". Unfortunately, Tesla tried to remotely downgrade his car to an older firwmare which he managed to block from occurring. Elon Musk said he didn't ask for it to be done and enjoys the hacking antics.

Let's Encrypt hits one million issued security certificates
Let's Encrypt is a free certificate authority. Not only is it free, but it's also a piece of piss to obtain and install as the entire process is done via the command line - generating the CSR, getting the cert and installing it where it belongs is all automated. Today they provided their one millionth certificate since starting in December. The more websites using HTTPS, the better!

Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S7 are out
Embargo broke on local review of the new Samsung flagship and as such a flurry of them have been published. Here's Ausdroid's take (the dozen or so other AU "reviews" are kinda shitty) and part 1 of Anandtech's typical mega reviews. Seems like the S7 is a ripper of a phone. Top specs, excellent camera and IP68 rating. Damn I wish the iPhone was IP68 rated. Check out the pics Ausdroid took at Sydney's Mardi Gras - impressive for a smartphone! It still seems that the iPhone 6s is still the mobile browsing king though, with Javascript performance vastly superior in Safari than on Chrome.


TEENS REACT to Windows 95
Reaction videos are the low hanging, bottom of the barrel, shit of the Internet. But seeing these good looking wanna-be actor kids, exaggerate their surprise at using Windows 95, is cringeworthingly fascinating. I don't know if these kids are just talking shit because they're in front of a camera, but man, am I old (and probably you too). This was my childhood and they're making fun of it for a few lousy ad clicks.

Review of the Synology RT1900ac router
I'm a big fan of Synology products, so when they announced they're making a wireless router, I was interested to see how it'd perform. They haven't sent me one yet to review, but SmallNetBuilder has got their hands on the RT1900ac and torn it apart for one of their great reviews. Apparently the firmware is fantastic (as you'd expect from Synology), but the wireless performance is below average and it failed a max simultaneous connection test (i.e: BitTorrent), not allowing a single UDP packet through - likely a firmware bug.

Reasons why Person of Interest is a documentary, not a fictional TV drama, episode 137
The Chinese saw Person of Interest and didn't see it as a warning against an all watching, all knowing artificial intelligence that can be used against you, but rather, a documentary on what they should do with their own citizens. Literally like the plot of Person of Interest, the Chinese are feeding all their data into a single system that they call a "Situation-Aware Public Security Evaluation (SAPE) platform" in an attempt to predict crime and stop it before it happens. Australia isn't far behind them really with all our metadata collection and Five Eyes data sharing. Senator Brandis probably looks on at the Chinese system in envy rather than the disgust someone who adheres to Liberal party values should.

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!