The Sizzle

Issue 231 - Monday, 12th September 2016 - We Really Love The USA


Tesla updates Auto Pilot to improve collision detection
Tesla has revealed version 8 of of their Autopilot software. This update to the self-driving features on the Model S and Model X cars takes more advantage of the built in radar to improve object detection as a result of the Model S crash involving a truck and bright light that the cameras didn't notice. Elon Musk reckons this radar improvement will cut accidents by half. There's also improved alerts and the ability for the car to exit the freeway for you if you have a route set or indicate to exit. The update will hit cars in the US over the next few weeks.

Revised Samsung Note 7 units will arrive in AU on the 21st of Sep
Non-exploding versions of the Samsung Note 7 will be available to Australians starting on the 21st of September. If you're a new customer not put off by the battery problems (really shouldn't make a difference if you wanted the Note 7 anyways), you'll need to wait until October for stock to appear. You can make sure your Note 7 is one of the revised models by looking for an S sticker on the packaging near the IMEI.

Dropbox's macOS security troubles
Dropbox has been caught doing some dodgy stuff in its Mac client to get around some of macOS's security restrictions. It's a bit complicated to explain in a paragraph, but it centers around asking users for their admin password and not explaining why it needs to do so. Dropbox has responded to the criticism by saying they do this because Apple's security model isn't granular enough for them to do what they want to do, so they have to go about it in a less than obvious way in order to provide the features people want.

California wants electronics to use less electricity by 2019
California is looking to set new electricity consumption standards for computers and monitors. This would have a flow on effect to the rest of the world, as if you're going to go to the effort of making gear use less power for one large American state, you may as well sell it all over the world. Most computers already meet the standards. I'm all for devices that use less power. Less power means less money spent on electricity - which is way more expensive in Australia than in California, so it's a win for us too.

Chrome to mark forms not using HTTPS as dodgy
As of Chrome 56, sites not using HTTPS with a login form will be adorned with a "not secure" warning in a little box next to the URL and a red triangle to signify dangerous things can happen. Google hopes this will motivate the chumps still not running HTTPS on forms to hurry the fuck up and do so. Chrome 56 is scheduled for Jan 2017, so you've got a bit of time to not prevent being embarrassed in front of your users by Google.


That Hasselblad Lenovo camera kinda sucks
That add-on camera Hasselblad and Lenovo made recently for the Moto Z has been reviewed by Anandtech. The "Moto Z Hasselbad True Zoom Mod" is not very good. It actually takes worse photos than that on other flagship smartphones. The only advantage this US$299 phone accessory has is its 10x optical zoom. Seems like a squandered opportunity to install something with a larger sensor and combine it with the fast CPU of a smartphone to take photos better than an entry level DSLR.

Why are some people still using Mac OS 9?
There are people still clinging on to OS 9, a 16 year old OS, and being somewhat productive with it! According to this article on Arstechnica, one of the reasons its still in use is that it's still pretty snappy. OS 9 on 700MHz G3 CPU has UI elements open much faster compared to an i7 CPU on the latest version of Mac OS X. Audio people still dig OS 9 as there's loads of still perfectly fine hardware accessories available for cheap that never received Mac OS X support, plus they also like the low latency on their virtual instruments and whatnot.

People are getting frustrated with wireless AP LEDs
Bright LEDs on wireless access points are pissing people off. APs installed in college dorm rooms, hospital rooms and hotels are frequently having their LEDs taped over so that people can sleep without an annoying bright green, red or blue LED flashing in their eyes. Sys admins are imploring the manufacturers of these devices to implement more LED control features in their management software so tht lights can be dimmed, or flashing stopped - rather than simply turning the LEDs off, which sometimes makes people think the wi-fi or AP is busted.

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 Geek USA, by The Smashing Pumpkins. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!