The Sizzle

Issue 416 - Monday, 19th June 2017


Amazon paid a lot of money for a US supermarket chain
Amazon will be buying US fancypants supermarket Whole Foods, for US$13.7b. No doubt this is Amazon's way of rapidly deploying all its physical retail experiments and blending them with its online technology might to make a big splash in the grocery market. The announcement of Amazon's latest purchase wiped ~$22b off the market value of its competitors such as Walmart, Target and Costco. Woolworths and Coles must be shitting their dacks as Amazon is coming here soon and no doubt will want a slice of our juicy supermarket pie.

Part of the EU wants to ban software backdoors and make end to end encryption mandatory
The EU has put an new regulation attempting to enshrine the right of people to use end-to-end encryption up the flagpole and wants to see if anyone will salute it. The proposal suggests making the use of end-to-end encryption in all digital communication mandatory, as well as banning any kind of backdoors. This is the exact opposite of Australia and the rest of the Five Eyes nations plan to do, because they don't give a rats arse about our privacy. That said, Germany and France aren't exactly too hot on this idea and they're the big players in the EU, so don't get too excited about the EU becoming a digital privacy wonderland.

Facebook moderators had their identity exposed & are prob on terrorist hit lists
Facebook's moderators have a tough job - they have to decide what sort of shit flies up on the world's largest cesspool and it's no surprise that some people take it way too far when their precious little posts are removed from the site. So you'd think Facebook would go to great lengths to protect the personal info of those doing Zuck's dirty work? Not so - a bug in Facebook allowed owners of a group to see that a moderator deleted posts in the group, which were linked to that moderator's personal Facebook page. 40 of those mods worked in a counter-terrorism unit and one of them spoke to the Guardian about how he's now in hiding from Hamas, afraid they'll get revenge.

Google's 4-step plan to rid YouTube of terrorists and racists
On the topic of terrorists and people filling up the internet with garbage, Google has come out with four steps on how it plans to get rid of terrorists and extremists off YouTube. There's gonna be a lot of machine learning love, that'll be trained to learn what a bad video is and then automate the removal of said video. A group of "Trusted Flagger" users will be assembled to create a vigilante squad that'll go around looking for shit vids and YouTube will pay more attention to their reporting versus a regular slob. YouTube will add warnings to some videos that skirt the edges of what it thinks contains inflammatory content and will also partner with "Creators for Change" to make ads that play within the naughty vids to tell people these videos are not cool and to consider their decision to join ISIS.

Melb MFB's CIO busted giving her stupid sons with no experience high paying jobs in the IT dept
I love me a good story of government IT incompetence and this one is a beauty. Just look at the first paragraph, "The former CIO at Victoria's Metropolitan Fire Brigade encouraged her two sons to change their names and falsified their CVs so she could hire them to lucrative jobs within her department, an investigation has found." The MFB was looking for someone to backfill an admin and project management role and the CIO happened to recommend one of her sons to do it, after a while he managed to get a full time gig as the "Manager of IT Administration, Finance, Procurement and Projects" despite not being qualified. Then her son asked his CIO mummy to give him a job and she got him a full time job as a procurement officer, despite having worked his entire life as mechanic and had no idea what the job entails. You gotta read the report for yourself (super easy to read, no jargon). It perfectly outlines how those absolute numpties you see at work got their jobs and manage to keep them.


Take part in the ACCC’s NBN quality monitoring project
The ACCC is after volunteers to be part of its NBN performance monitoring program. They need 4,000 households to install a box they send, onto your network, that'll log how your internet is going. Visit the ACCC's website to apply if you're on an NBN service and are interested in exposing how it really performs compared to what you pay for. I chucked my name in - let's see if they send me a unit. I'd be keen just to take one of these little boxes apart to see how they work and record what they're capturing. I get the impression if the ACCC chuck my name in Google, they might not give me one of these boxes. That's alright though, I'm sure someone I know will get one that I can tinker with.

Samsung has nice looking framed TVs
Look at this Samsung photo frame TV thing. It's a 4K HDR TV, but instead of a black or silver bezel as is the norm on most TVs - it's inside a frame. Like a proper photo frame, with a border and a bit of depth. When the TV is "off" it just looks like a nice photo on a wall and can do all the digital photo frame stuff you expect. Then turn the TV "on" and it's just like any other Samsung TV with its smarts and whatnot. This is so cool. I'd love to be rich enough to replace all the photos hanging on the walls in my house with these TVs. The Samsung Frame comes in 55" and 65" versions for US$2k and US$2.8k.

#DigitalSherlocks - they'll find out where you took that photo even if there's no EXIF data
Wanna see how someone can find out where you are based on a picture you've posted online? Michael Henriksen has harnessed the power of Google Maps and Google Images to find out where a friend was having lunch - without having the geolocation info in an EXIF tag. That would be too easy. There's actually a bunch of people who post pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #DigitalSherlocks and put out a challenge for strangers to find out where they are based on the picture they post. Someone needs to turn this into a smartphone game with rankings to see who's the best at it.

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!