The Sizzle

Issue 361 - Tuesday, 28th March 2017


Lots of Apple software updates out today
Apple's pushed out a bunch of software updates for ya. The biggun is iOS 10.3 - it brings an all new file system, APFS, which replaces HFS+, so make sure you've got a solid backup before upgrading. There's also new emoji, "find my AirPods" feature if you've got those, CarPlay enhancements and some new stuff for Siri (cricket scores!). watchOS 3.2 adds "Theatre Mode" (disables raise-to-wake) and a few other small things. macOS 10.12.4 adds Night Shift, just like on iOS, as well as security updates. The Apple TV remote app gets iPad support, that looks cool. Apple remembered iWork exists and gave it a once over with the update wand - Pages now has LaTeX support.

Samsung will refurbish or recycle most of the dud Note 7s
All 3 million unexploded Samsung Galaxy Note 7s that were ripped from their owners at birth are sitting in a warehouse somewhere, gathering dust. Some people were afraid they'd all get chucked in the bin, which would be incredibly wasteful, so Samsung has said that they'll refurbish them and sell them, or recycle some for the metals and chips inside. Don't know when this is gonna happen, or in which markets they'll sell the refurbished phones, but I'm glad 3 million perfectly good phones (just replace the battery?) aren't going to end up as landfill.

Cheaper Intel Optane storage for the plebs to use as a cache
Remember Intel's Optane storage from last week? That wicked fast, but also wicked expensive enterprise SSD? Intel has announced a consumer M.2 PCIe (i.e: one of those little sticks) version of it. It comes in 16GB or 32GB capacities and is designed to be used as a cache in conjunction with their Rapid Storage Technology drivers on Windows 10. It's cheap at just US$44 (16GB) or US$77 (32GB), but the actual benefits are iffy. Oh, and it'll only work on 7th-gen Core CPUs and a 200-series chipset. Chuck it in some other computer and it's just an expensive 32GB SSD that doesn't do anything special. I'd wait until there's some benchmarks for this - you're probably pissing $100 up the wall for very little real world benefit.

Neuralink - Elon Musk wants to hook his brain up to a computer
Elon Musk has started and funded a company working on brain-computer interfaces. Neuralink has hired: "Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.". Get the gist of what Elon's up to? Scared yet?

Netflix brings out the big bucks to get sweet content
Netflix is planning to spend US$6b on buying the rights to movies and TV shows and making their own - US$1b more than last year. To put this into perspective, that's double what HBO spend and HBO make some kick arse stuff. "Legacy" companies like Fox and WB are pissed off that they have to now compete for the best talent (actors, directors, etc.) with a company spending double what they spend. Not just that, but its employees - the ones with experience managing the pipeline of stuff Netflix needs are quitting and going to Netflix. Meanwhile, there's never been a better time to veg out in front of the TV and enjoy the golden age we're currently in.


Stack Overflow's 2017 programmer survey results
Stack Overflow is the biggest congregation of programmers on the internet, so their developer survey can reveal some interesting info about what programmers are up to. The 2017 results just came out and they had 64,000 developers respond (Australia was 1.7% of responses). 88% are male, 74% are white, over 50% of their parents have a masters or bachelors degree, 63% have a bachelors or masters themselves, 32% don't think formal education is important, 48% program as a hobby. Javascript and SQL are the most popular languages, 73% love using Rust, 88% hate Visual Basic 6 (is that still a thing?!), 20% want to use more Python. 70% hate Sharepoint and Salesforce, 69% love Linux and 20% want to work on Android more. This is getting a bit long, but there's loads of interesting stats in the full survey results.

The hard life of a famous YouTuber
From the outside, YouTubers have it pretty easy. Churn out videos of you doing something stupid and get paid. Media companies are falling over themselves to get involved with the yoof and there's loads of YouTubers around who want to be famous. But why do they keep fucking up and becoming closet racists or misogynists? Case in point: PewDiePie (who was probably stitched up by the WSJ, but I digress) - dude had a dream run, literally paid big bucks to do whatever he wanted on camera. This article posits that the main reason they keep boning their opportunity is the constant battle for more and more views and in that battle, there's no time to hone their craft slowly and methodically, nor is there anyone to help them when they fuck up.

The internet is no place for an innocent little dishwasher
The Miele PG 8528, an industrial dishwasher mostly found in hospitals, has an Ethernet port and an embedded web server, designed to send stats back to a server that it works or is finished washing or something. Normally you'd just chuck this thing on its own VLAN without internet access and keep all its traffic internal, but at least one Miele PG 8528 was actually given internet access (probably by accident) - and was "hacked". Here's the CVE explaining the vuln. This is the digital equivalent of standing in the middle of the street with your belt unbuckled and a sign saying "please dack me".

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!

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