The Sizzle

Issue 410 - Thursday, 8th June 2017


Kodi devs dropping like flies now that a few are getting sued in the US
The phrase "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" has struck a chord with some Kodi add-on developers, who have decided they don't want to go to federal pound me in the arse prison. Popular piracy plugins ZemTV and the TVAddons are being sued in a Texas federal court by Dish Network (America's Foxtel) for copyright infringement. Plugins such as Phoenix, plugins by Echo Coder and dozens of others have been taken offline by their developers who don't want to take the risk of being next in the courtroom. It was only a matter of time to be honest - these Kodi developers were so blatant in their piracy, making it way too easy for plebs to get shit for free. What did they expect was gonna happen?

Kaspersky cracking it over Microsoft's built in security software
Kaspersky is alleging the Microsoft is violating EU antirust laws with the security software in Windows 10. Kaspersky said, that "with the release of Windows 10, Microsoft started to create obstacles to competing manufacturers of security solutions, and introduce different ways of pushing users to forgo third-party software in favour of its own Windows Defender" - which isn't bullshit from Kaspersky, Windows actually recommends you disable 3rd party AV software if you want to use Defender, like this support article from ESET explains. If you were an anti-virus software developer, disabling your software is probably not be something you want customers to do. Looks like a repeat of the Internet Explorer as the default vs. the other browsers again.

Hyperloop One imagineering some new fantastic concepts that'll never happen
Hyperloop One, the company using Elon Musk's brainfart to transport people around in tubes instead of trains, has laid out 9 routes across Europe in addition to 11 across the USA earlier announced, it thinks its technology (that doesn't yet exist, remember) is perfect for. London to Manchester in 26 minutes, Munich to Berlin in 46 minutes, Chicago to Pittsburgh in 47 minutes - it all sounds amazing, but so far from actually happening. The UAE is still keen for their Hyperloop system to launch in 2021 though. Maybe if it doesn't kill any there, we'll get a Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra Hyperloop that takes ~50 min.

Airbnb grows a conscience, finds a way to use its powers for good
Airbnb's new Open Home Platform is a way for people who need short term housing to find people who feel like opening their homes for them to stay in temporarily. From the article: "To start, the platform will connect refugees with volunteer hosts in Canada, France, Greece, and the United States. People can register on the site — even if they aren't already hosts on Airbnb — and list their homes. Social service agency partners will vet them, and then place families for stays from a few days to a few weeks". Airbnb also plan to use this platform in disaster situations (e.g: flooding, bushfire, earthquake, etc.) so people who have lost their house have somewhere safe to live. You don't even need to be an Airbnb host to participate, so you can just be involved with the disaster relief or refugee support efforts if you don't want to also rent a spare room out for cash.

Uber in the shit again, this time somehow getting private medial records of a rape victim
Here's yet another story of an Uber exec doing nasty shit for no other reason than greedy self-interest. Eric Alexander was Uber's "president of business in Asia Pacific" and managed to get the medical records of someone that was by an Uber driver in New Dehli that lead to Uber being banned there. If the underhanded attempt to get an innocent victim's medical records for their corporate gain isn't bad enough, Eric shared the documents around the company as proof that the woman's story wasn't true (it was) and was an attempt by a competitor, Ola to sabotage Uber. I love how they jumped to that conclusion, because it's probably something these amoral bastards would totally do.


The 2017 Apple Design Award winners are nice, but boring, to me
The winners of Apple's 2017 Design Awards were announced at WWDC. No on stage presentations with the developer community though, just a private shindig with the winners and some Apple staff. Is it just me, or are winners themselves, are kinda underwhelming? The apps that aren't games are really well done, they're classy for sure - but the things these apps don't aren't that inspiring: a mail client, a note taking app, a colouring book app, a cookbook, a currency converter and a photo editor. I'm sure they're great pieces of software, but it seems like there's a bit of a lack of innovation amongst the winners here? We've had really nice apps that do those things for a few years now. I guess it is Apple's prerogative to show off apps that take advantage of Apple's technologies rather than apps that are new and original - but I remember when the ADA winners did both.

How did every printer we buy end up adding invisible tracking dots to everything printed?
If after yesterday's news about a whistleblower getting ratted out to the cops via invisible fucken dots on a document they printed at work left you wondering how the hell that feature even gets implemented, wonder no more. It began as a way for the European central banks to thwart currency counterfeiters. They asked the printer companies to do something so they can track who prints cash with inkjet and laser printers and if the printer companies (who were pretty much all Japanese) didn't voluntarily comply, there'd be regulation on their products (i.e: you need to own a printer licence or something draconian like that). So the printer companies did what the governments said and eventually the USA got involved too. Years later and that same technology has been refined and inadvertently used as a way to track what everyone prints. Hindsight's a bitch.

Blokes are spending more time playing video games whilst the their income & productivity decreases
A group of economists have hypothesised that blokes love video games so much these days, that they're happy to languish in relatively low paid jobs and just play games all day instead of upskilling and earning more money. Income for this group of people has pretty much stayed the same since the 90s, or for those a bit younger, fallen. Videogames are so much fun, why go to all the effort of further education for a few more dollars? What are you gonna spend it on anyways? Just kick back and play more games brah. Of course, it could also be that video games are simply growing in popularity and the link between time spent on video games and the decrease in income and employment for young white males is because the economy sucks and opportunities are slim. Either way, it's an interesting thought experiment - why forge a career when you can just chill and play cheap videogames? Read the paper "Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men" if you've got nothing better to do and found this topic slightly interesting.

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!