The Sizzle

Issue 407 - Monday, 5th June 2017


The Five Eyes want more access to encrypted social media and messaging
In the wake of the awful terror attacks on Manchester and London recently, the UK's Prime Minister has doubled down on her long standing promise to "deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online". Boing Boing has details on what the UK PM means when she says that (give us backdoors into social media and messaging app") and why that is so stupid (add a backdoor for the cops, the bad guys will get that backdoor too). Of course, our Prime Minister is saying the exact same thing, saying that social media companies need to give law enforcement access to their systems so they can monitor what everyone is saying.

EU tells Google to stop abusing their search monopoly & Twitter to remove hate speech
The EU is taking a tougher stance on American cowboy internet companies who think they can do what they please in Europe. First there's Google, who the European Commission are threatening with a US$9b fine for breaching EU antitrust rules. A 7-year investigation has lead to the EC alleging that Google was "distorting internet search results to favour its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers". Then there's Twitter, who the EU reckons is not doing its legal duty, removing racist and violent posts from its service. Only 38% of posts the EU claims are "hate speech" were removed from Twitter, whereas on Facebook and YouTube, 66% of reported posts are deleted. If these companies don't start removing more of the posts the EU decides are hate speech, the fines will start rolling in.

Palmer Luckey to use his talent building military-grade face detection equipment
Old mate Palmer Luckey, Mr. Oculus Rift, noted enjoyer of Donald Trump related shitposting and cosplaying, has a new startup. His new company is "working on surveillance technology designed to be used at national borders and at military bases, using a variety of sensors to watch for people crossing between countries or into restricted areas illegally" - great, this shithead went from making cute little games to being part of the panopticon. Fucker. The dude got access to meetings with Steve Bannon (that weird ogre looking dude that hangs out with Trump) and has received funding from Peter Thiel, one of Trump's henchmen.

SpaceX launch the first recycled Dragon capsule
SpaceX has launched another Falcon 9 rocket into space - nothing out of the ordinary there. What is special about this launch are two things: the first reuse of the Dragon capsule, which is the bit on top of the rocket that has the valuable stuff inside like satellites, or even people. For this launch, the payload is supplies and experiments for the International Space Station. That cargo is the other interesting things about this SpaceX launch - it's Chinese. Deng Yulin of the Beijing Institute of Technology, paid US$200,000 to a US company to get his experiment (studying the effects of space radiation on DNA) on the ISS. The US and China aren't exactly mates when it comes to space exploration. The Chinese wanted to be part of the ISS, but the USA said no, so China went and made their own space station.

3AM Tuesday morning - WWDC time
3AM tomorrow AEST, Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference from San Jose. There's very few leaks about what's gonna be announced, so it could be an extremely developer focussed 2 hours, or, something so fucken amazing, it'll blow us away. Arstechncia has a thing hypothesising what it reckons will be released (Siri Speaker, maybe new iPad Pro, maybe new MacBooks and the obligatory OS updates across the range). Over on Reddit, someone allegedly from Foxconn, that the mods from /r/Apple somehow verified, dropped heaps of info on what they reckon Apple is up to - augmented reality glasses apparently. Twitter user @stroughtonsmith found an app called Files on the App Store, made by Apple, that requires iOS 11. That's interesting.


These Dutch nerds want to put a server in your home to heat your water
A Dutch company wants to co-locate a server in your home that spits out enough heat, that it'll cover your home's hot water and heating needs. Nerdalize did a trial back in 2015 trying to make a wall heater powered by server, but it took too long to start getting hot and didn't generate enough heat to warm a small room. Their new crowd-funding campaign wants to heat water instead. The concept is solid, but turning it into a practical thing (bandwidth, security, reliability) is another. I wish them luck.

Gough Lui is back with two extremely nerdy blog posts
One of my favourite bloggers, Gough Lui, is back after a small hiatus travelling around Asia. He's uploaded a bunch of interesting posts - like this one analysing the Sydney FTA spectrum (good list of all the channels, what codecs and bit-rate they use and how they've bumped/lowered stuff over time) and reviewing some nice Xiaomi gear he get from the Mi Home store in Hong Kong (Mi Power Bank Pro with Quick Charge 2.0, Mi Max, Mi Band 2 and Mi Scales). I'm rapt to see Gough back online and posting. His blog is fantastic.

New grad trashes prod database, CTO threatens legal action
Those of you who work in IT, what's your worst nightmare? Yep, trashing production data. There's no feeling more likely to instil a pants shitting episode than those few seconds when you've realised you were fucking about on the production server and that data is gone. That happened to this bloke on his first day at work as as fresh grad setting up his development environment. The worst thing is, he was using instructions the company he works for gave him and the CTO of the joint is threatening to sue him for incompetence - disregarding the fact the production database had zero access control and the documentation was rubbish.

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!