The Sizzle

Issue 438 - Wednesday, 18th July 2017

Another reminder of the Sizzle reader meetup this weekend. Come down to the Boatbuilder's Yard in South Wharf on Sunday, the 23rd of July and say hello to myself and other Sizzle subscribers. I'll be there from 1:30pm onwards. Hope a few of you can make it!


Google Glass is back in business
Exhumed from a dumpster and restored from backups, Google has decided to resurrect Google Glass. Glassholes will now be a thing again, but only for specific, mostly industrial tasks. Google calls it Glass Enterprise Edition and has been seeding it in companies like DHL, GE, Volkswagen and Boeing where production line or factory floor staff wear the glasses and can receive real-time instructions or documentation whilst their hands remain free to work. Check out this video from GE, showing a dude working on a jet engine who is able to complete his work 16% faster because he isn't going back and forth looking for doco because the info he needs is now right in front of his eyes instead of behind him in a book. Boeing's workers love it for creating complicated wiring harnesses. Wired has an in-depth look at how businesses are using the new Google Glasses.

Snap's Spectacles now available on Amazon
On the other end of the smartglasses scale is Snap's Spectacles, which can now be purchased outside of a few vending machines around Los Angeles. They're US$130 and ship next-day, direct from Amazon. Expect to see a lot more of them out and about now. Maybe even a few trend setters here in Australia will import them and be the coolest person in their startup hub, social media agency or monthly influencer breakfast meeting.

Spotify accused of streaming music it legally doesn't have the right to
Spotify is being sued by multiple songwriters for copyright infringement. How is this so? Spotify has agreements in place for the music it streams, right? Well, it does, but it's complicated. The people suing Spotify are claiming they haven't been paid as the composers of songs, because the agency Spotify uses to locate the composers of songs isn't 100% accurate and a few fall through the gaps. At least that's what I think is going on. Copyright is complicated. Spotify could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars as it pays what it technically owes to the music's composers and fines for, as the songwriters put it a "pattern of wilful infringement on a staggering scale".

Devil’s Ivy - a new vuln that owns high-end security cameras
A new batch of security cameras have been exposed as having a vulnerability that can allow hackers to view the feed or take them offline. It's not as bad as the Mirai work that goes around infecting every shitty camera it comes into contact with, but this is a flaw in a library called gSOAP, that camera maker Axis and possibly others use in the camera's software. The big deal is that these cameras are generally used in important places like airports, banks, shopping centres, which are prime targets for people up to nasty shit. This exploit (people are calling it Devil's Ivy) provides are relatively simple way for someone to take those important CCTV systems offline, if the CCTV system isn't patched and secured properly (spoiler, they often aren't). Senrio, the infoec company that discovered the issue has published technical details about the exploit.

Adelaide Metro wants free wi-fi across all its vehicles and some stations
Adelaide is getting free wi-fi across all its various modes of public transport by the end of the year. Every bus, train and tram will have wi-fi provided by a commercial entity that'll cost the SA state government almost nothing. They expect whoever runs the free wi-fi to recoup costs via advertising. The government also wants patronage data, such as real-time passenger load info, so it can better plan services. Whilst your or I may have no use for slow free wi-fi when our devices are flush with 4G data, it'd be super handy for tourists, people strapped for cash and kids who often don't have or can't afford data on their phones.


Track planes with a Raspberry Pi and DTV dongle
Looking for a fun project for a Raspberry Pi? This guide will teach you how to use that Raspberry Pi to create a live updating map of the aircraft flying around you. You'll make an antenna, set up a digital TV tuner to act as a radio and then use a program called dump1090 to parse the data and display it on a nice map. You can even help contribute the data you collect and submit it to FlightAware or Plane Finder!

P2P blockchain EV charging for fun and profit
Here's an interesting idea - EV chargers that you can install at home and rent out when you're not using them. The company promoting it uses buzzwords like blockchain and peer to peer, but the concept is really quite simple. You have an EV and you install a charger at home, but most of the time, it just sits idle. If you place the charger in a spot the public can get to, they can scan a QR code with an app on their phone, charge their car and you get paid. Means there's more chargers around for people to use without government or business requiring a large capital spend. There's practicalities around a stranger sitting in your driveway (what if they're in the way when you wanna leave, hah), but if you live in a busy area near shops for example, it could be a sweet earner.

New major version of Panic's venerable Transmit
Panic's Transmit was one of those programs back in the day that made me love Mac OS X. It was just an FTP app, but it was so well made, I wanted more programs like this and Mac OS X was where they lived. Panic released version 5 of Transmit today. There's no upgrade pricing, which is fair enough as it's been a long time between new versions, and it costs a fair bit compared to the apps we're used to on smartphones (US$35!), but it's still really cool. Here's list of all the new features in Transmit 5.

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!