The Sizzle

Issue 392 - Monday, 15th May 2017

If you like my blog posts, good news, I posted a fresh one today about the little Dell FX160 I use as a home server.


WannaCry, a cryptolocker worm worrying the plebs
Ladies and gentlemen, computer worms are back! WannaCry is a cryptolocker that uses Windows file sharing exploits the NSA kept for itself (until it was leaked), to spread like wildfire. You get get WannaCry in the usual way - clicking a dodgy link, but it then uses that exploit to connect to every damn file share it can get onto. On a big network, that's a lot of computers. There are also many people out there exposing Windows shares to the internet, so of course, the cryptolocker finds those too. Microsoft did patch MS17–010 in March, but because people are sloppy updaters for various reasons, WannaCry took off and has infected hundreds of thousands of machines. Things are getting so out of hand, Microsoft even released an update for Windows XP! There's a lot of coverage, but Troy Hunt has a decent explanation of what's going on and the Talos blog goes into a bit of detail too.

Waymo and Lyft say fuck you to Uber's self-driving car efforts
Looks like Waymo and Lyft are taking the saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" seriously, as they're partnering up to develop self-driving cars. Lyft, if you don't know, are mini-Uber (and don't operate outside the USA, yet). You know how Waymo is suing Uber for stealing their self-driving car tech? Yeah, interesting turn of events right? General Motors is a massive investor in Lyft too, so maybe there'll be some sweet synergy between GM's and Waymo's robocar efforts, creating a powerhouse of robocar excellence. Dunno what Lyft will be offering in this situation besides cars with lots of kilometres. Waymo and Lyft aren't talking about it.

Intel and Samsung join Apple in saying Qualcomm are pricks
Intel and Samsung have lodged their support with the US Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit against Qualcomm. They reckon Qualcomm isn't fairly licensing the necessary patents to create LTE basebands. Without access to those patents, it's impossible to legally create competing products. Sure, Qualcomm owns those patents fairly, but they are part of the LTE standard that Qualcomm agrees to licence out at a reasonable price. Doesn't look good for Qualcomm, who frankly, needed to be taken down a peg anyways. Intel posted what it thinks of Qualcomm on its Policy@Intel blog. Intel, if you didn't already know, are a huge wannabe Qualcomm competitor for that mandatory, complicated and expensive radio in your smartphone.

Netflix can't be downloaded to rooted Android devices & can't enter Cannes
Netflix users with rooted Android phones will no longer be able to download the latest version of the Netflix app. In order to curb piracy, Netflix has taken advantage of Google's Widevine DRM and is now able to detect a rooted phone before it's installed from the Google Play Store. A big reason for this is the fact a rooted phone makes it easier to take the videos saved off Netflix for offline viewing and then crack Netflix's DRM and post the vids online. Also Netflix related - the Cannes Film Festival doesn't want them there. Unless ya movie has been shown in French cinemas, you aren't eligible to enter. Snobs.

OVH choose Melbourne as their Asia-Pacific HQ
Huge European web hosting company OVH have chosen Melbourne to be their Asia Pacific HQ. OVH also launch a startup incubator sort of thing called Digital Launch Pad, where it'll give away free hosting to startups it likes. Another digital-ish company basing themselves in Melbourne. Cool. OVH are pretty good too. Sydney hosted dedicated servers for $130/m. I wonder if they got any government handouts? OVH say it's because of the "top talent" but they coulda gone to Sydney, or maybe even Brisbane. There's a pic of old mate Dalidakis shaking hands with the OVH boss in that article, so he's up to something. Not that the government shouldn't do a bit of palm greasing, but it'd be nice to know how much.


A Qantas A330's flight computer went crazy and the pilot is now scarred for life
The SMH had an interesting, if not emotional article about a notorious Qantas flight between Perth and Singapore back in 2008. QF72 was cruising along nicely, about 90 min away from Perth, then all of a sudden, the plane dived sharply, knocking around the passengers and crew not strapped in. The pilot had no idea what was going on and thought he and all the souls on his aircraft were going to plunge into the Indian Ocean. What happened was a computer malfunction and due to the way Airbus design their controls, the pilot couldn't take over. So, how about those robocars hey? Can't wait to be driven into a tree at full speed when Toyota's systems decide to lock me out.

Tesla's solar roof is very expensive and not worth it
Gizmodo AU tried to work out how much a Tesla solar roof would cost and if it is worth it versus a more traditional non-solar roof. There's no pricing in AU from Tesla, so the prices are taken from the Tesla USA's pricing calculator and converted to AUD. They worked out that a square meter is AU$318. If your roof is 300sqm, that's $95,400. Ooook. What's a normal roof cost? About $130/sqm for nice terracotta tiles - $39,000 for an entire roof. A $56,400 premium for a roof of solar tiles that work out to generate approx 10kWh. A normal 10kWh setup will set you back around $15,000. So you're paying a massive premium for those Tesla tiles. Bummer, I think they look awesome, but not that awesome.

Things I found on Ozbargain over the weekend
Here's some interesting stuff I've seen on Ozbargain. $100 cashback on Philips 30"+ 4K monitors, making the BDM4350UC (43" IPS) from MSY just $790 or the BDM4037UW (40" curved) $899 from Umart. You nutjobs who like wi-fi lights might be interested in this $15 off coupon for 2nd gen LIFX Colour 1000 bulbs, making them $39.99ea & free shipping. Get a Steam code for the great new version of Doom for ~A$16 from TheBlueDriod. They've also got Cities Skylines, Civ 5 Complete and South Park Stick of Truth (I liked all these games) for pretty cheap too. If you want a new laptop and you're not keen on the Dell XPS, the Lenovo ThinkPad T470s is $1579 (or $1500 flat if you use Cashrewards). I like the ThinkPad T470s. I have a T430s.

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. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!