The Sizzle

Issue 395 - Thursday, 18th May 2017


Stuff from Google I/O: Part 1, non-Android
Google's I/O developer conference is in full swing and here's the non-Android related stuff I think is interesting: Google Home is coming to Australia. When. Dunno. How much? Dunno. But it's coming. Google Assistant is now available for iOS. Apparently it's a bit better than Siri, but not as good as on Android. Google Lens will work with Assistant to add AI to your smartphone's camera. Point the cam at something Google will tell your more about it. Google Photos has added some nice photo and library sharing features, as well as the ability to make photo books. Google is going to offer businesses a "Visual Positioning Service" for Maps, so you can use a 3D scanner and 360-degree cam to scan your shop or whatever so when people get to you, they know where to go once they're there.

Stuff from Google I/O: Part 2, Android
These are the Android related announceables from Google I/O because slapping everything into a single paragraph would be a legibility disaster. The next version of Android, Android O, is now in beta, as opposed to developer preview. Things Google wanted to highlight about Android O are Fluid Experiences and Vitals. Codewords for "make shit not suck", really. Android Authority has a list of the new stuff in O. Android Auto is getting embedded into car head units, so you can get a legit version of Android (unlike those Chinese head units that are generally trash) in ya car without owning an Android phone. Android Go is an evolution of Android One, a version of Android for shitphones and people in developing countries.

Chelsea Manning is no longer in prison
Chelsea Manning is now a free woman. If you don't remember, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking what is now known as CableGate to WikiLeaks. President Obama commuted her sentence as one of the last things he did in office. She spent 7 years in prison all up. Glen Greenwald writes about what she did and the legacy she leaves after her brave (or treacherous?) act. One of the first things she did after her release was eat some pizza. I reckon I'd do the same. I don't know what life holds for her now, but I'm looking forward to reading/watching the inevitable interviews about the experience of fighting against the entire US espionage machine.

The pride of South Australia purchased an e-sports team
A few sporting clubs around the world have associated themselves with e-sport teams and some have invested heavily, but now the best sport in the world has a finger in the e-sports pie. The reprehensible Adelaide Crows (I might barrack for Port Power, but never for the Crows) decided to buy the "Sydney-based Legacy eSports" who are "one of eight top-tier League of Legends professional teams competing in the Oceanic Pro League (OPL)". This quote from the Crows CEO is great, "It is hugely popular with millennials and there are enhanced opportunities for current and new corporate partners to engage with younger, digital and social media savvy audiences" - basically, the kids are into it instead of footy, so we're gonna get into it too.

NBN spends a reasonable amount on coffee for its staff
I wasn't going to even give this story my attention, but a few of you told me about it and there's not much else worth writing about today, so what the hell. NBN spent $437,000 providing coffee machines and coffee for its 5000 employees. Wow! Big numbers! NBN said this in response: "Since the establishment of the company coffee and coffee machines have been purchased by NBN as an amenity for employees, contractors and visitors in order to aid productivity by reducing the time spent by staff purchasing coffee outside their offices" - just like pretty much every office I've worked in. There's many things wrong with the NBN, but giving their employees coffee machines isn't one of them. Anyone who uses this as a reason to shit on the NBN's mission failure is a pissant.


Panic's lead developer was hit with that Mac Handbrake malware
Steven Frank, a developer at Panic (who make some fine Apple software) got stung by that malware hidden in Handbrake for a few days. He tried to install an update for Handbrake via the in-app updater, but it broke, so he went to the Handbrake website to download the latest version, he thought nothing that the app asked for admin permissions (heaps of apps do, it's normal) and like most of us nerds, has the option to allow apps from any source, not just the App Store or identified devs, enabled. As a result, auth details for his and Panic's git repos were obtained and used to suck down the source code for Panic's apps. Just goes to show that even savvy and smart users like Steven Frank can still be stung by insidious malware.

McDonalds Australia has smartphone ordering now, but not delivery, yet
If waiting at Maccas for your food was too arduous, you can now pre-order it on your phone and it'll be ready when you rock up. Select a store, place your order on the app, pay in the app, then when you're close by press "I'm here". The chefs at McDonalds will lovingly cook your meal and you can pick it up inside. You know what's shit though? The app on iOS isn't full-resolution on an iPhone Plus. The fuck is this garbage McDonalds? Embarrassing. In the USA, McDonalds has partnered with Uber Eats - I can only assume that will hit AU soon. That would be extremely useful.

The perpetrators of WannaCry aren't making a lot of money out of it
You'd think the creators of that WannaCary ransomware would be rolling in cryptocurrency yeah? All that attention, so many important computer systems with mission critical data held hostage would result in some fat ransoms being paid, surely? Nah, they've only made about US$80k and the amount of payments going to the Bitcoin wallets associated with WannaCry's authors are slowing down. Damn, that's my early retirement plan shot to shit. Better sell more subscriptions to this stupid newsletter (I'm up to 404, heh, paid subscribers now).

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!