The Sizzle

Issue 113 - Wednesday, 24th February 2016 - Jim's Upskirting

No Sizzle over the Easter holidays. The Lord will punish me if I undertake any sort of labour on such holy days. I will spend Friday in mourning over the death of our Saviour (fuck you Pontius Pilate) and then celebrating his return on Sunday, spilling into Monday. The Sizzle will return on Tuesday. Amen.


Government to launch a "Digital Marketplace" for its ITC procurement needs
The federal government spends a fair bit of money on computer related services and to get access to sweet government contracts you have to go through a bunch of hoops and red tape. Often the best and brightest working at smaller businsses just didn't bother and the government is worse off for it. The Digital Transformation Office wants to change that and using the power of the Internet, will open a portal for those skilled in a range of ICT areas to pitch their services. It expects the portal to be read in early 2017 (so expect it late 2018).

The outside source helping the FBI bust into an iPhone might be Cellebrite
No phone is unhackable - this is the claim of the Israel based Cellebrite, who are rumoured to be assisting the FBI in getting info off the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone. Nothing is confirmed, but a few Israeli news outlets have been pimping the fact, but this could just be some friendly boosting of a proud Israeli tech sector, rather than actual confirmation of Cellebrite working with the FBI. We may never know if the two are working together, but what we do know, is that the FBI are lying mongrels who know damn well forcing Apple to write a custom OS for them isn't the only way to get data off an iPhone.

Microsoft built an artificial intelligence based Twitter bot that acts as a teen
Humanity has been trying for decades to create an authentic simulation of a human in text form. They've failed pretty miserably. The latest contender for a computer to try replicate a human is Microsoft's Taylor. It's backed by the latest in artificial intelligence that is set to replicate the prose of a teenager on Twitter. You can tweet at it and it'll fire back witty repartee that a 15 year old would be proud of. Taylor is also on Kik and GroupMe, like all the other teens in 2016.

Apple making their own servers because they can't trust the supply chain not to hack them
Project McQueen is apparently Apple's move to build its own servers and networking equipment. A major motivation for this is a lack of trust in third party equipment that can be intercepted during shipping and replaced with compromised gear. Apple even had staff members take photos of the internals of equipment sent to it and asked vendors to explain the use of every single chip inside. This isn't unfounded paranoia - this sort of thing was done by the NSA on Cisco gear, which we know of thanks to Ed Snowden.

Pornhub launches VR porn
If you didn't have any practical use for all those VR headsets starting to come on the market, maybe Pornhub's partnership with BaDoinkVR will arouse some interest. Pornhub will host content produced by BaDoinkVR viewable on Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and the Oculus Rift. Here's Pornhub's safe for work trailer of the service. 4K 60fps, VR porn. Man, what a time to be alive.


Mum, where does lithium come from?
Lithium, it's what batteries crave. It's what stores the electricity all our gizmos and hopefully soon, our cars and homes need. If lithium batteries are so common, where's all the lithium come from? It's gonna come from South America. Chile, Argentina and Bolivia have the most lithium and after decades of non-investment due to some wonky governments, these countries are set for a lithium boom. Like Australia's coal and iron ore book, but hopefully much better invested and not as squandered.

Angolans are using Wikipedia Zero to spread pirated TV shows and movies
Wikipedia Zero is basically free Wikipedia for those in poor countries. The Wikimedia foundation subsidises the cost of providing Wikipedia to telcos in countries where accessing it would be cost prohibitive. Users in these countries can use Wikipedia all they like without having to suck up their already meagre data plans. The smart and enterprising citizens of Angola have used this fact to upload pirated TV shows and movies to Wikimedia and share the links on Facebook (which is also free), basically creating a pirate media ring that costs nothing to access off the backs of these supposedly altruistic services. Fucking awesome.

Apple inadvertently mocked 600 million potential customers
At Apple's product launch thing yesterday, Phil Schiller made a snarky joke that 600 million people are still running computers that are 5 or more years old. He then went on to say that's "sad" before launching into an iPad Pro sales pitch. This upset some people because getting use out of a 5 year old computer isn't sad. Shit, I'm using a PC built in February 2011 and it's working perfectly fine, if anything, it's faster than almost all the computers Apple sell besides the Mac Pro and iMac. Perhaps everyone at Apple has lost touch with the "commoners" who increasingly can't afford or justify the luxury and fashion pitched hardware they now sell.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Tuesday!)

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