The Sizzle

Issue 341 - Tuesday, 28th Feburary 2017


Two rich people paid SpaceX a deposit to take them to the moon in 2018
SpaceX has revealed that two wealthy private citizens have paid a deposit for SpaceX to take them to the moon. In 2018. Yep. Two people that aren't astronauts will go on a joyride to the moon in a SpaceX rocket next year. If it happens, it'll be the first time a human has been that close to the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. SpaceX will work with NASA to get the Falcon Heavy Rocket up in the air with two meatbags on-board the Dragon capsule. SpaceX will tell us who the lucky fuckers are once they pass a bunch of mission suitability tests. I would sell everything I own to see the Earth from space. Sure, I'll fail every health, mental and knowledge test there is, but damn it, I wanna see that big blue ball from a distance.

CloudPets hacked, kiddies secret voice recordings at risk
CloudPets, a manufacturer of talking teddy bears, has been absolutely, devastatingly, owned and pwnd and hax0r3d. They left their database's pants down in the middle of the internet and as a result, all the account info for 800,000 customers (aka kids) being leaked to whoever happened to find it. The passwords were hashed in a modern format, but there were no password strength requirements set, so heaps of accounts with weak passwords are vulnerable - allowing people to log in as that user and download any voice recordings their kids made to their sweet innocent teddy bear, that was uploading everything they said to CloudPet's servers. As usual, here's Troy Hunt's take on it, which is all you need to know.

MWC Day 2 - more gear you can easily ignore
MWC Day 2's product launches were a non-event, but in the off chance some dweeb at work decides to chat to you about it, here's what was announced: Alcatel has some new phones that won't suck, but aren't exactly anything special - one of them has a back full of "interactive LEDs" that looks pretty. Oppo has a camera system that'll let it to 5x optical zoom on a smartphone, but haven't announced a smartphone to put it in yet. Sony gave it's Xperia X lineup an upgrade, but no love for a compact sub-5" device. Sony also showed off a projector you can buy that'll turn any surface into a touch screen and concept earphones that may never be released. Porsche Design made a laptop and announced it at MWC.

Telstra to add LTE-B and Cat-M1 LTE to their network shortly
Telstra has been busy with their mobile network, announcing plans to launch LTE-Broadcast in 2018 and Cat-M1 LTE later this year. LTE-Broadcast is a way to multicast video across all its towers, without sucking up all the bandwidth. The first LTE-B product will be AFL and NRL games, as well as a 24/7 streaming TV channel operated by Telstra. LTE-B is only supported on a handful of Android phones though. Cat-M1 LTE is basically a slow as piss (like a few kilobytes/sec), but super cheap to operate part of LTE that's mostly useful for IoT purposes. Interestingly, no Cat-M1 LTE devices currently exist, so.. yeah. Hmm.

Another day of evidence that Uber are grubs
Another day, another series of Uber controversies. Today's list of things that happened at Silicon Valley's notorious pack of ratbags include: their Senior Vice President of Engineering "resigning" after just a month with Uber, because Uber discovered Google is investigating a sexual harassment allegation against him. Details of their total lack of co-operation with the very reasonable Californian DMV over self-driving car trials in San Francisco, showed that Uber is totally abhors complying to any regulation. Then there's another woman outlining her terrible experience at Uber in a blog post she didn't really want to have to write, but did because everyone has had enough of these pricks. I wonder what revelations will appear about Uber's awfulness will come out tomorrow?


Acorns app is exposing inexperienced users to high risk investments
You may have heard of that Acorns app where it takes skims your bank account info, finds transactions that aren't a whole dollar amount and asks you if you want to round that transaction up and use it as an investment. I think it's a stupid idea, but people fucken love it - so much so, they've been asking Acorns if there's a way to invest in the app itself and the shysters operators of Acorn are letting users do that. Which doesn't sound that bad, until you realise the customers Acorns are asking for money, are basically the least educated investors around and Acorns, is pretty much the highest risk investment you could make (a tech startup? Goodbye money!). What could possibly go wrong? (thanks to Sizzle reader @hughstephens for tweeting this)

Handle - a new robot from Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics has a new robot for ya to gawk at. This one is called Handle and instead of legs, it has hinged wheels that allows it to spin around, move really fast and creepiest of all, jump pretty high. No more words from me are needed - just watch the thing move. At least they didn't kick this one over or try trip it with a hockey stick.

Money go bye bye, bye money, bye bye money
That 10% off sale on eBay is still going on and the Ozbargain fiends have found more stuff worth buying. Shuttle XPC (little computers, good for HTPC setups) for $270 & $297. iPhone SE 64GB for $608. HP ML10 V2 server (good for a NAS) for $161. iPad Air 2 128GB Wi-Fi for $556. Anker 60W USB-C, 5-port charger for $57. Kingston mechanical keyboard with Cherry Blue switches (same switches as I'm using now!) for $96. Not in the eBay sale, but still good value, the Xbox One S 500GB is just $299 with a choice of games. Big W and Coles have a bunch of pre-paid SIMs very cheap (Optus $30 for $10, Lebara $30 for $10).

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!