The Sizzle

Issue 368 - Thursday, 6th April 2017


The ACCC is taking Apple to court over unjustly denying warranty repairs
The ACCC is taking Apple to the Federal Court over allegations Apple told customers that had their devices fixed by a 3rd party to pay for repairs, even if the issue they're presenting to Apple had nothing to do with the 3rd party repair and the device was under warranty, to piss off. This is a breach of consumer guarantees under Australian consumer law. The investigation into Apple started with the notorious Error 53 issue that loads of people complained to the ACCC about. During this investigation, the ACCC noticed that many people were being turned away, or asked to pay despite being inside the warranty period, if their device had been touched by a non-Apple repairer. I predict I'll be writing about this topic in The Sizzle for months to come.

Pebble releases update to allow its device to keep working post-server shutdown
Good news Pebble fans, your watches will still work even once the servers are shut down by new owners Fitbit. An update released today removes the need for Pebble devices to talk to a remote authentication server and apps can now be sideloaded. I know a few Pebble owners that are very loyal to their smartwatch, it would have been a shame if they had to ditch their device just because a few servers couldn't be left on. Good work Fitbit. There's also a community trying to develop an open source firmware for the Pebble hardware, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

APX-West find investors to get a Sydney-Perth-Singapore submarine cable built
The APX-West submarine fibre optic cable that is planned to run between Sydney, Perth, Jakarta and Singapore is now called Indigo and will be funded by a consortium including Google, AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telsta. This new cable will have 18 terabits of capacity on launch in 2018. It'll cost over US$100m and give people in Sydney another way to reach Singapore and those in Perth some more capacity to Singapore, which is often faster to use than services hosted in Sydney. It's also competition for Vocus's (disclaimer: I own Vocus shares) Australia Singapore Cable that'll light up 40 terabits of capacity between Perth and Singapore, also in 2018.

Ubuntu to stop developing Unity and use GNOME instead, also ceases mobile OS efforts
Ubuntu, the closest thing to a competent Linux desktop OS there is, has decided to drop its self-developed Unity user interface and adopt GNOME. Canonical, the company responsible for guiding Ubunut's development has ditched plans to leverage Ubuntu as a smartphone and tablet OS, instead deciding to focus on Ubuntu on desktop/laptop computers and servers. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, whcih will be out in APril 2018, will be the first to replace Unity with GNOME. The reason behind dropping Unity and the smartphone stuff is that it was becoming a drag on Canonical overall. The efforts expended on it were not getting the returns they hoped, so it's cut loose and Canonical can focus on what's going well for the company - cloud and IoT.

Microsoft releases details on what info Windows 10 collects about users
From the day Windows 10 was released, many people had concerns about all the data it was sending back to Microsoft about what you're doing on your computer. As a response to this, Microsoft are revamping the telemetry options in the upcoming Windows 10 Creator Update and have for the first time, actually detailed what data it collects from you. There's so much info collected, even at the bare minimum level a user can allow, to uniquely identify and fingerprint you. Unfortunately, there's still no way to opt-out entirely. Windows 10 Enterprise users can disable it all, but not us plebs. Microsoft insist this data is important to their security and reliability efforts, and that they take protecting this info very seriously. Mmmhmm.


A Canadian town is paying Uber to act as public transport
The Canadian town of Innisfil, with a population of about 36,000, has eschewed building its own public transit system and outsourced it to Uber. Technological disruption! The Innisfil government will subsidise Uber trips for its residents, which it reckons is way cheaper than running a bus network. People will be able to ride in an Uber for what a bus would cost (about $3), with the rest subsidise by the local government. I live in Bacchus Marsh, a town between Melbourne and Ballarat that has a population of about 20,000 and the bus service is shit. I reckon it'd be way more effective just to subsidise Uber (or some other ride sharing company that aren't a pack of dicks) trips around this place instead. Door to door rides for a few bucks instead of long meandering bus routes that don't even stop close to your destination.

Why are women in IT treated so poorly?
The Atlantic has a fascinating story about why IT is so hostile to women. It actually never used to be this way - women were heavily involved in early computing, but even then, were perceived as secondary to the real work that men did; hardware engineering. Since then, women participation in computer science has dropped from relatively high levels in the 70s and 80s, which is about the time the computer industry realised software is just as important as hardware in making them rich. Unfortunately, because the dudes running these tech companies are uncomfortable around women, they just don't hire them. On the off chance a woman is hired, things get weird as they don't know how to socialise with women (aka stop thinking with your dick) and we've ended up in a situation where talented and skilled women are unfairly treated like second class citizens.

Robert Mercer, Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica are fucking the internet while Facebook and Google provide the lube
In the midst of all this fake news stuff the leader of the free world likes to crap on about, there's people out there actually putting out that fake news and the internet is their best mate. The internet has enabled people like Robert Mercer to fund the dissemination of bullshit like never before. Who's Robert Mercer? The guy who gave money to Steve Bannon to fund Brietbart, which happens to also use Cambridge Analytica, a software company Robert Mercer has a stake in. Cambridge Analytica is basically Facebook enterprise and goes around hoarding everyone's info and it uses sites like Breitbart to track its users around the web, create profiles on them and then use that for electioneering. I don't know if it's as effective as described, but it sounds creepy as fuck. Anyway, go read this thing on the Guardian about it and contemplate how the internet has been subverted by a bunch of deluded fuckwits.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Refer a friend and get a month of The Sizzle for free!