The Sizzle

Issue 120 - Wednesday, 6th April 2016 - A Bright Pair of Newcomers Called Broz Had The World At Their Feet


Whatsapp adds complete end to end encryption
You know that super secure messaging app, Signal? That same platform is now utilised by Whatsapp, to ensure your conversations are private. Even though we've had secure messaging mechanisms for a while, the significance of Whatsapp implementing such security means that all 1 billion of its users are able to make phone calls and send messages without the fear of their government spying on them - that's pretty cool. I wonder how long it'll take until some government cracks the shits with Whatsapp and decides to sue them into oblivion or arrests Whatsapp's staff until they submit to their fascist jackbooted desires?

Geohot's autonomous car startup gets US$3.1m in funding
Geohot (aka George Hotz aka the guy that jailbroke iPhones and Playstations) has been working on a self-driving car in his garage for a while now. He's actually been quite successful with it, adding the system to a Honda sedan and using it on the highway. Others have seen this and want to be part of it, as he's snagged US$3.1m from Andreessen Horowitz to make conversion kits, turning regular cars into self-driving cars. Would be nice to add this to my existing car some time soon, for the period whilst I'm Tesla-less.

Production version of the HTC Vive gets some reviews and an official IKEA simulator
The HTC Vive is just like the Oculus Rift, just, different. It's the same sort of thing, where you chuck a headset on, wave some sticks around and immerse yourself in some VR fun times. It's now out, as a proper thing you can buy and plug into your high end computer full of expensive graphics cards. The Verge has a review and they kinda like it, but it's not a home run. The main reason the HTC Vive is good is because it's partnered with Steam - the darling of the gaming industry. IKEA has announced a VR version of its kitchen design app for the Vive, so you can see your new kitchen before you build it. I'd love to try this actually, seems like a perfect use of VR for something that isn't gaming.

Twitter purchases rights to stream Thursday night NFL games
Twitter dropped a few million on buying the rights to ten Thursday night NFL games. I don't know how it plans on streaming them, or even why they would want to stream them. The guess is that they'll stream it as a Moment, with side by side commentary. We don't know how much Twitter spent on this, but last year, Yahoo spent $17m to stream a single NFL game. So it's gonna be at least $100m, I'd assume. Why Twitter did it? I dunno, but The Verge reckons its to give Twitter more mainstream appeal.

HP makes the world's thinnest and lightest laptop with a 15W TDP CPU
HP has announced a new version of the Spectre, a 13" screen laptop running 15W CPUs that's only 10.4mm thick and weights just 1111 grams. To compare, the 13" MacBook Air, which uses the same class of CPU, is 17mm thick and weighs 1350 grams. If HP is making thinner and lighter laptops than Apple, something is wrong. Shit, even Dell are making 15W TDP 13" laptops lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air now. The HP Spectre has no AU info yet, but it starts at US$1170, which is around AU$1700 once you chuck on GST. Hope ya like rose gold, this thing is covered in bling and looks rather gauche.


Learn what the hell FTTdp is
Campbell Simpson over at Gizmodo AU (who has been doing a great job I reckon, I now cringe less when I read Giz AU), has explained what FTTdp is - a term you may have heard connected to the NBN discussion lately. It's basically a way of getting Internet to a premises that's cheaper than full on fibre to the home, but way way faster than fibre to the node. It'll probably be the cornerstone of the ALP's NBN policy leading in to the next election, so it's worth having a passing knowledge of what it entails.

Become a piracy bounty hunter and get $20k
The Business Software Association of Australia is upping it's reward for dobbing in large scale software pirates, from $5,000 to $20,000. If you report piracy and be a snitch for the BSA and their investigation results in a prosecution or settlement, you get 20 grand. I reckon I could be a piracy bounty hunter. Go undercover to businesses as tech support/tech help or whatever, look for pirated material, gather some evidence and submit it to the BSA. Do that once a month and you're sitting pretty on $240k. There's gotta be a lot of joints out there running pirate version of Adobe apps, Autodesk stuff - I actually don't know about Microsoft stuff getting pirated these days, as it's so annoying to work around, people just cough up the dough.

Bug in Dominos UK online ordering system resulted in free pizza, aka the greatest bug that ever lived
Paul Price, a security researcher in the UK found that the Dominos Pizza app's API allowed orders through without checking for a valid payment. He placed an order via the API, the store got it, made the pizza and delivered it to his house - all without entering a credit card. He was a good guy, reported the bug and paid cash for his free pizza, but man - what a loophole. I wouldn't have been so generous and kept it a secret, ordering free pizzas every weekend because I am a piece of shit who loves pizza.

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!