The Sizzle

Issue 325 - Monday, 6th February 2017


Old mate streams Foxtel pay per view on Facebook, Foxtel calls him to stop
Last Friday, Foxtel was charging a $60 once of fee to watch an anticipated session of two men punching each other. People, obviously, thought this was bullshit and went on Facebook to seek out pirate live streams of the fight. Brisbane man Darren Sharpe was ready and waiting, with a smartphone pointed at his TV, broadcasting the fight to anyone who cared to watch. Foxtel cracked the shits, called him while the stream was going and told him to stop it or face legal action. The conversation between Dazza and the Foxtel bloke is great reading.

The war between Apple and Australian bank is still going
The battle continues between three of Australia's largest banks and Apple. I'll spare you the background info on the bank's attempts to form a legal cartel to bargain with Apple on pricing for Apple Pay, that the ACCC said fuck off to and the banks appealed. Today Apple has responded to that appeal, saying the bank's are just protecting their profit margins and this has nothing to do with innovation or opening up the NFC feature on the iPhone at all. Apple goes as far as to say that the banks want a "free ride" off Apple's innovation, while passing the extra fees for using Apple Pay on to customers. Should see the bank's response to this later this week.

Alibaba opens Melbourne office and Jack Ma starts scholarship at Newcastle Uni
Alibaba - the online marketplace where if it exists, you can buy it, in bulk, direct from the supplier (say for example, 25 metric tons of frozen beef), in broken English - has officially opened an office in Melbourne, starting an attempt to get Australian businesses to sell stuff into China over the internet. The Victorian state government gave a heap of cash to make sure Alibaba chose Melbourne, but the exact figure is confidential. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, was also in Australia to start a $26m scholarship at the University of Newcastle, as a tribute to one of his mentors - Ken Morley, who was from Newcastle.

Popular Kodi plugin turns into botnet to protect creator from doxing
We're all familiar with Kodi - the pirate's choice for watching TV shows and movies on ya big screen television. One of the most popular Kodi plugins is called Exodus. This plugin scours the web for illegal streams of movies (like, right off HTTP, not even Bittorrent, haha - these guys have no shame) and compiles them into an easy to interface. Someone is trying to muscle in on Exodus's turf and is threatening to dox the developer. To protect his virgin arse from some federal prison pounding, he's used the huge install base for his plugin to create a botnet to attack the servers of the rivals. This pissed off users (who are often in shit poor countries with crap internet connections) so he made inclusion in the botnet optional. That still annoyed people, so he just retried from making this copyright infringement plugin. I reckon some suit over at Village Roadshow and Foxtel is reading this story and thinking this is a great way to dispose of some filthy pirates.

Ad blocking is more popular than ever
Ad blocking software is going gangbusters, with usage up by 30% in the past year according to PageFair - some ad consultants that try help companies based on ad revenue, thwart ad blockers. PageFair also reckon, 11% of internet users worldwide use ad blockers. 90% of those ad-blockers are run in the Asia-Pacific region! I wonder how it breaks down for Australia. I reckon we are the kings of ad blocking. Our lame internet, mobile data caps, plus relative intolerance for bullshit, is fertile ground for ad blockers. My internet connection is fast, but it's so much faster when an ad blocker is turned on. I can only imagine the pain someone with a slower computer and a slower internet connection goes through without an ad blocker. Pi-Holes for everyone!


Big data probably didn't give Trump an edge over rivals
There's been a few stories lately about how Trump used big data to win the US presidency. As interesting and relevant as that is, I never chucked it in The Sizzle because I thought it was a bit bullshit. My bullshit radar was spot on, or at least validated, by this bloke's more informed rant about how relatively ineffective "big data" is for politics. It boils down to the fact that there's just not a lot of data about most people. Sure, there might be a pile of data about people who spend a lot of time online (*cough* us *cough*), but that's hardly most people and even then, out of those people online, how many are actually honest online and how many give enough data in public to make a proper assumption about them? That's not to say harvesting data on people can't give you useful insights, but not enough to swing an entire country around to your point of view - that's done the old fashion way. Lies and fear.

Make a remote gaming rig on AWS EC2
Amazon's EC2 service has Windows Server 2012 as an OS you can install. It also has servers with decently powered videocards in them. A feature of Nvidia's drivers is the ability to stream video with low latency over a network. Combine all that together and you get a gaming computer in the cloud that you can fire up and access from any old computer at home. It's not free, costing US$0.53c/hr (more like ~A$1.40/hr for an AU server), but could be useful if you just wanna scratch a gaming itch but not outlay cash on a whole new computer. Might give this a shot soon, I'm interested to know how the latency fares. I can get around 20-25ms to AWS Sydney on my fibre NBN - dunno if that'll be good enough for an FPS, but might be sweet for Civ?

Anti-virus software sucks and is a waste of time
I think we've all known this in the back of our minds for years, but anti-virus software is bullshit. An ex-Mozilla developer has come out all guns blazing, railing on AV software that does user hostile activities, while pretending to be secure. Shit like installing its own certificates to inject shit into your SSL sessions, breaking software due to overzealous quarantining and blocking important security updates that it doesn't recognise. A Chrome developer has backed this guy up too, saying much the same issues were faced over at Google. The only good AV software is the one included with Windows, which Microsoft actively updates and makes sure doesn't shit all over the operating system.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!