The Sizzle

Issue 425 - Friday, 30th June 2017


Australia's cyber army gets permission to conduct first strikes on overseas cyber targets
Australia now has an information warfare unit that can launch offensive strikes on other country's digital assets. This new arm of the military can turn Australia into a land of the hacked, into the land of the hacker. Cyber minister Dan Tehan (I still find this ministerial title hilarious) said that the new division within the ADF will "integrate existing operations from across our defence forces to protect and support our ADF deployed personnel and systems. The division is authorised to conduct self-defence, passive defence, active defence and offensive operations". The Signals Directorate is now able to "expand offensive cyber operations from military targets to non-state civilian attackers offshore". So any filthy foreigners trying to fuck up Australia's computers - watch out, the ASD can and will pwn you. I'm actually surprised this wasn't already happening.

New stuff in Build 16232 of Windows 10 includes anti-cryptolocker features
Also in the wake of Petya, Microsoft is trialling an anti-cryptolocker feature in the latest build of Windows 10. Build 16232, Windows Defender has controlled folder access. "Controlled folder access monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain protected folders. If an app attempts to make a change to these files, and the app is blacklisted by the feature, you’ll get a notification about the attempt. You can complement the protected folders with additional locations, and add the apps that you want to allow access to those folders." There's more detail about it, and other new features in build 16232 (mostly security related stuff) on Microsoft's Windows Insider blog.

10 years of iPhones
10 years ago today, the iPhone went on sale in the USA. There's loads of stuff on the web reflecting on this milestone. 9to5 Mac went through each version of iOS, showing the changes each version made. They also have pics of every iPhone lined up and side by side. iPhone 4/4S is still the best one I reckon. Daring Fireball reminisces about launch day and argues that the iPhone disrupted so many industries, but also created a couple too. Joanna Stern tried to use an iPhone 1 in 2017. Surprisingly the App Store still works! The Verge has way too many thinkpieces about the iPhone. Motherboard has loads too, that are slightly more interesting than The Verge's. The Atlantic has a piece highlighting some of the attempts other companies made to make what inevitably became the iPhone. Here's a pic of my first-gen iPhone, along with some other now obsolete crap. RIP turbosim & alpine.

BMW to make an EV 3-series, but Tesla are in position to become a monopoly auto manufacturer
Rumours in German newspapers are floating around that BMW will announce full EV version of their 3-series sedan in September. Okay, sure, it'll probably be available to buy in 2019 or 2020 yeah. Still, it's cool BMW are finally going to get around to making a follow up to the i3. September is an interesting time for EVs because many other car makers will probably reveal their EVs at the Frankfurt autoshow (Honda, Mercedes, Volvo), as well as Nissan's 2nd-gen LEAF. It'll also be around the time we see a lot of Tesla Model 3s on the road. Tesla, apparently, have the opportunity to be a "near-monopoly" in the auto industry thanks to their years long head start in electric cars. No car maker today has plans for mass productions of EVs until about 2020, everyone's still ramping up whilst Tesla is on track for over 500,000 cars a year by the end of this year.

Facebook's solar powered internet dispersing drone didn't crash
Facebook's weird looking solar powered drone, Aquila, took off and landed again without incident for a second time. The B2-bomber-esque flying robot is designed to fly around, really slow, for 90 days, providing internet access to a ~100km area. Apparently it uses lasers to send data down to the ground? Sounds to me like an expensive project to keep some super important bored nerd from defecting or doing their own startup. Here's a blog post from Zuck, written about this time last year when Aquila made its first flight. This is gonna be absolutely useless when SpaceX and OneWeb get their 700 fancy satellites into orbit. It's an extremely slow news day today, this story doesn't deserve to be here.


Alpine has the first wireless CarPlay headunit
Alpine has a wireless CarPlay unit. Wireless! Just jump in the car with your phone and the head unit will connect, bring up CarPlay and do all its magic without needing a connection. Nice. The feature actually came out in 2015, but nobody's done anything with it until the 2017 BMW 5-series. The Alpine iLX-107 and its 7" touch screen goes for AU$900. So.. expect it for about $1500. Ouch. Besides, plugging the phone into USB when in the car is what I do 99% of the time anyways to give it a little top up of juice so I arrive at my destination with a bit more battery life. Still, if you're strongly anti-wires, there's now an option for ya.

Apple's A10X SoC is a beast and the die shots prove it
The SoC in the new iPad Pro is a very different beast than the one in the iPhone 7, despite both being labelled A10 by Apple. Thanks to some fancy microscope pics by TechInsights, we have a better look at what's going in what is probably the most advanced SoC ever made. For starters, the A10X is made using a 10nm FinFET process, the iPhone's A10 - the first 10nm chip in a consumer device from TSMC. The A10X also has an an extra CPU core and a larger L2 cache. No wonder it's so damn fast. Interestingly, Apple didn't bump up the clock speed, preferring to use the power consumption savings a smaller node process brings for stuff like 120Hz refresh rates and brighter screens. Surely Apple chucking one of these in a MacBook isn't far away? If Microsoft is talking up emulating x86 on ARM, Apple would have some cool shit in the lab too.

15% off everything on eBay, tonight only
eBay has another goddamn sale on! 15% off, store wide, if you buy something worth more than $75 using the code CRAZY. It's only until the end of today, so I'm gonna just dump a bunch of links with no explanation as to why they're worth buying, but trust me, they're super cheap:


Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

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!