The Sizzle

Issue 188 - Thursday, 13th July 2016 - You're Four Time Double Cream

Pokemon free. Except for this bit.


Optus to eat a bag of dicks worth $2.4m
Optus has to cough up refunds totaling $2.4m to 175,000 of its customers that took out insurance on their mobile phones. ASIC was alerted to Optus's failure to give out a PDS to customers taking up the insurance, which is law and generally a good thing to do - even if nobody except fine print foragers like me actually read them. Whilst ASIC investigated Optus for this they found multiple examples of Optus generally making a dog's breakfast of billing. Incorrect charges, "forgetting" to apply promo rates and not allowing customers to use the cooling off period outlined in the contracts.

EU implements new Privacy Shield agreement with the US
The European Commission has formally adopted new data privacy laws that'll allow US companies to store EU customer data on US servers and try maintain an equal level of privacy as if it was hosted in the EU. You might have heard about the Safe Harbor agreement, which was made invalid by the EU a little while ago, on the grounds US law was too weak to ensure a similar level of privacy for EU data as if it was stored in the EU instead. The new Privacy Shield agreement is supposed to improve on those older laws.

Apple pays patent troll that might not actually be a troll, $25m
Apple has given in to a "patent troll", paying $25m to a company that owns patents relevant to the Cover Flow, Spotlight and Time Machine features in macOS. This one is a little more unusual than most trolling attempts, not just that Apple paid instead of fighting it (Apple can afford to fight), but that the troll, in this case, David Gelernter, actually met with Steve Jobs, who was interested in licensing the ideas. Pretty solid grounds to fight that Apple stole his concepts and probably why Apple just gave him $25m (much smaller than the original $625m a court awarded) to make it go away.

Ethiopia turns off social networking so students can concentrate on exams
Ethiopia decided to turn off access to social media because it was distracting students. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram and no Viber. Whilst the Ethiopian government reckons its doing this purely to assist its students to be the best they can be whilst they're in exam period, everyone who isn't a dickhead knows it's just to shut down communications networks the government doesn't control, because shitty corrupt governments hate it when people can talk amongst themselves.

Russia seizes large VPN providers servers
Meanwhile, the Russian government has seized the servers of one of the largest VPN providers, Private Internet Access (PIA). Law in Russia mandates that VPN services must keep logs of all activity, but PIA didn't do this because fuck that fascist bullshit. PIA wasn't even told it was happening or going to happen, police came in to the datacentre and took the servers. The final date for compliance is September 2016, but that didn't stop the Russian authorities. PIA reckons they were targeted on purpose, to show everyone else that the Russian government means business. As a result, PIA isn't gonna host any servers in Russia.


Boeing celebrates 100 years of being awesome
Not so much tech related, but planes are cool so fuck ya. Boeing is celebrating their 100th year of making planes and space rockets (and missiles, but they don't mention that so much) and they've made a website showing off their achievements that's fun to browse around. There's also a documentary called the Age of Aerospace, made by Boeing to explore Boeing's 100 years of operation, that I loved watching and if you're into aviation at all, you'll like it too.

Cheap external HDDs
There's some good deals on external storage via Ozbargain today. An 8TB external HDD for $285, 5TB for $162 and a 4TB 2.5" for $141. They're all on sale at Amazon and even when including shipping, they work out cheaper than buying locally.

A 3D printed, solar powered Tesla Supercharger for your USB devices
I want one of these 3D printed Tesla Superchargers that has a solar panel as a roof that'll charge your USB devices. This could be the incentive I need to bother with 3D printing. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe!

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Today's subject line is from Pussy Town, by Machine Gun Fellatio. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!