The Sizzle

Issue 457 - Tuesday, 15th August 2017


The internet: "I hate Virginia Nazis"
So how about those Nazis in the USA aye? Crazy shit. The issue has bled into the tech scene because unfortunately, the internet is how the Nazis are bred and groomed and seem to thrive. Airbnb shitcanned the Nazi's accounts when it found out its platform was being used to find accommodation for Nazis. Discord shitcanned the Nazi chat channels they were hosting. GoDaddy & Google shitcanned the domain registration for their website. Facebook's COO said the Nazi riot was a tragedy and upset her greatly, yet Facebook aren't doing much to stop the Nazis, just deleting a few posts here and there. Intel's CEO quit Trump's manufacturing council due to Trump's pissweak reaction to the Nazis. Here's a list of who's still hanging out with Trump and who has left the group. Reddit banned a few subs not because they're hate filled cesspools full of Nazis, but because they were doxxing someone.

DOJ wants Dreamhost to hand over 1.3m IP addresses of visitors to anti-Trump site
The US Department of Justice has asked Dreamhost to hand over everything they've got on - a site created to protest Donald Trump's inauguration. From Dreamhost's blog post: "The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website" - sounds awful yeah? Well in Australia the government wouldn't even need to ask, they already have info websites Australians are visiting. Thanks Senator Brandis! Obviously, Trump is still salty about that day, so he's got his good ol' boys on the job of finding the dissidents and making a list of who's against him. Lists of dissidents have always had great outcomes *looks at Cambodia, East Germany, Soviet Russia* Great outcomes.

AU telcos have to tell the government whenever they change network config
The Australian Senate has passed legislation that'll force every telco to "tell the Attorney-General's Department about any changes they plan to make that could have a material impact on their obligations to secure their networks". What does that actually mean? Again, according to the article, "outsourcing network management, off shoring, and purchases relating to sensitive parts of telcos' infrastructure". Basically, the government wants to know if you're installing dodgy Chinese or Russian shit that'll send sensitive data on Australian interests back to the motherland for analysis and that'll be used against us in trade deals or commercial activities - maybe even terrorists! Pain in the arse for the telcos though, who reckon it'll cost about $184,000/yr to comply with. Drop in the bucket for TPG or Telstra or Optus, but your regional WISP is gonna struggle.

AMD Vega GPUs are out and about, at last
After almost 18 months of hype, we finally have independent benchmarks from AMD's flagship graphics cards - the RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56. These two cards are designed to compete with Nvidia's GTX1080 and GTX1070, whereas the previous FX580/570 are mid-range cards. How do the Vega GPUs perform? Not bad. Not amazing, but good for the price - much like AMD's Ryzen CPUs. The Vega 64 is about the same as the GTX1080, but it'll cost less - a GTX1080 at PLE is $819, a Vega 64 is $699 and it just came out. The downside however, is that it uses almost twice the electricity as the GTX1080. Hmmm. The GTX1080 wins Civ6 performance at 4K, but only by ~10fps and it costs $120 more. Hmmmmmmmm. Not that I have any coin to build a new PC any tiem soon, but I can daydream. The high power consumption also has an impact on cryptocurrency mining - will be interesting to see how they go downclocked and downvolted on a dollar vs. hash vs. power consumption ratio.

Netcomm announce G.Fast (aka copper gigabit-ish) FTTC gear NBN might use one day
Those users on the NBN getting FTTC (aka FTTdp, aka fibre to the curb) have a legit pathway to maybe gigabit speeds one day. Netcomm Wireless (an Australian company) have made a distribution point unit that supports G.Fast for British Telecom in the UK. The units currently getting rolled out by NBN only support VDSL. There aren't any live services using FTTC yet, so, maybe, depending on how far along this hardware from Netcomm is, NBN can install these G.Fast ones first so they don't need to come back later? That said, the gigabit speeds are extremely dependent on the quality of the copper wire from your home to the pit in the street. The tests were done on 40m of cable, which is pretty damn short and G.Fast drops off rapidly. It's gotta be better than VDSL though and would at least allow for 100mbit+ speeds? Haha, look at me trying to apply logic to the NBN rollout. I forgot logic doesn't apply when it comes to NBN, my bad.


Ubiquiti pays Troy Hunt to make some nice UniFi tutorials
Troy Hunt has teamed up with Ubiquiti to create a series of YouTube videos explaining what its UniFi range of gear is, how it works and how to set it up. An excellent intro to making your wi-fi suck less. Related to this, a lot of Ubquiti gear is on sale on eBay! There's never been a better time to pick up an 8-port UniFi switch for $155.20, a Security Gateway (aka router) for $157.60, an AC-Pro access point for $188 (I have two of these in my home) and a Cloud Key for $119.20 (you can also use a Raspberry Pi instead of a Cloud Key, but the Cloud Key is way easier to get going).

500 smartlocks bricked via firmware auto updates, people locked out
Airbnb suggests the LockState RemoteLock 6i as the smartlock of choice for good Airbnb hosts. This allows you to control access to your property without having to cut keys and stuff. Nifty. Unfortunately, 500 of those locks are now bricked thanks to an over the air update gone wrong. What happens when a smartlock is bricked? It stays locked, even if it was open before the update. If you weren't inside when the update happened and wanted to get back in the property, you better hope there's a spare key handy. Anyway, all those bricked locks have to be replaced now, hah. I feel for the engineers - I get sweaty applying updates to a remote server that has a redundant access console. Imagine the white knuckle fever and virgin sacrifices involved in applying updates to a goddamn padlock on the other side of the world you've got no control over.

The big oil death spiral is coming
I may have already mentioned this article here before, but even if I have, it's worth repeating again, because it's that damn good. Someone smarter than both of us has written how he sees the oil industry shrinking by a huge amount sooner, rather than later. The oil death spiral will begin because the cost of running a fleet of cars will plummet thanks to the simplicity of electric motors. As soon as there's a critical mass of em, the price of oil will be so cheap that selling it will no longer recoup the expense of extracting it and shipping it around the world. It's already happened to coal. Of course, oil won't be totally useless. Plastics and fertiliser (two pretty important things for modern life) are derived from crude oil, as is aviation fuel and diesel, which will take a lot longer to be displaced than regular petroleum used in passenger cars. But that's a fraction of oil consumption overall.

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!