The Sizzle

Issue 494 - Friday, 6th October 2017


The NSA got hacked, Trump's chief of staff got hacked, Trump's kids probably got hacked
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Russian government hackers got into the NSA and stole classified info back in 2015. How? A contractor transferred files from a work PC to his home PC, which Kaspersky's AV software detected as weird files, and sent them back to Kaspersky's HQ (in Russia!) for "analysis", which is what AV software is supposed to do. Kaspersky denies sharing info with their government, but nobody believes them. Meanwhile, Trump's chief of staff was using a compromised smartphone for months and Trump's daughter and her husband, who are basically high level Whitehouse staffers, were using personal email accounts (aka, easy to hack) for government related stuff. Nothing to see here folks, business as usual. I guess if you were in the market for a T470, this is a nice unit, but it's a bit of an insult to the reason people love those old Thinkpads.
Discuss - Share

Turnbull reckons the NBN has a marketing problem, not a tech problem
If you've listened to talkback radio lately, in-between the racism and homophobia, people are getting arced up over the NBN. Now that people are getting forced to connect, they're realising what a clusterfuck the NBN is. It's hilarious hearing these boomers crack it. Anyways, the PM was on 3AW today defending the NBN, saying it sucks for 2 reasons - bad installers and ISPs not buying enough bandwidth - the technology mix is fine, copper is fine, relax okay?! This week also saw Akamai's most recent state of the internet finding that Australia has slower internet speeds than Kenya. The NBN took that as an awesome opportunity for another snarky blog post, saying that's not true and no to believe anything you read about the NBN unless its from the NBN's blog.
Discuss - Share

Uber's flying robocar idea might not be as stupid as it sounds
Uber has this pipe dream of having flying taxis that hop between buildings in dense areas to bust traffic. They call it Elevate and have a white paper and everything. Aurora Flight Sciences were one of the companies sucked in by Uber to work an aircraft to make their dream a reality. Boeing has now purchased Aurora and Boeing aren't here to fuck spiders, which when put together with Airbus's news that their CityAirbus craft will be ready as soon as 2018 to ferry humans around, might mean that Uber's pipe dream could come true sooner rather than later. There's no photos or video of any of these awesome aircraft, so I'd take it with a train of salt.
Discuss - Share

Microsoft's new Android launcher & IE Edge for iOS and Android
Microsoft's renamed their Arrow Android launcher to simply Microsoft Launcher. The new version brings "Continue on PC" functionality that'll work with the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update - select a document in the launcher on your phone, tap "continue on PC" and it'll open on your computer. It's also got the usual launcher stuff like news, weather, a calendar and frequently used app. If I had an Android phone I'd give Microsoft's Launcher a crack. Microsoft also made Internet Explorer Edge for iOS and Android - but they don't use the IE rendering engine. On iOS they use Webkit and the Android version uses Blink, so really, IE Edge on mobile is just a way to sync your settings and tabs and shit from desktop IE to your phone.
Discuss - Share

The 25th anniversary Thinkpad is a dud
Lenovo officially announced the Thinkpad 25, to celebrate 25 years of Thinkpads and it sucks. Like the moderator of /r/thinkpad said today, it has a 16:9 screen (bad), backlit keys (people want a light at the top of the screen), shitty hinges, bad Linux support, a touch screen (nobody wants a touch screen), the keyboard just looks like the old one (different switch mechs and material) and it really just a T470 with some different coloured logos. Oh and it costs US$1899 and they're only going to make 5,000 of them. Here's Lenovo's official 25 years of Thinkpad site, a review of it from Notebook Check and an unboxing vid from Lenovo's YouTube channel.
Discuss - Share


20 years of Slashdot
The Sizzle is very much influenced by Slashdot - which if you aren't familiar was (I guess still is) a super popular news site where people sent in links to URLs with a short description (just like The Sizzle) that were filtered by moderators and then made public for a huge audience to read and comment on. I would read it religiously as a teenager and I'd safely say it was one of the sites that formed my world view around computing. Rob Malda is the founder of Slashdot and to commemorate its 20th anniversary, he wrote this short blog post about how Slashdot went from a college hobby to a business and then a bigger business that burnt him out. He said that "today I don't know a single person who has anything to do with the thing that was at the center of my life for 15 years" - which is kinda sad.
Discuss - Share

Australia needs electric cars to secure itself from fuel shortages
This opinion piece on the ABC today about Australia stabbing itself in the eye when it comes to electric cars is goddamn perfect (even if it is written by an electric car lobby group). Simply put, Australia doesn't make its own fuel and if something happens to our supply from overseas, we are absolutely fucked. Electric modes of transport removes this problem and now is the time to start encouraging early adopters of EVs, like most developed nations are doing. Mass market electric cars are not far away (by 2020 almost every manufacturer will have some for sale), so now is the time to start developing programs to support those who want to buy them and reduce our dependence on foreign fuel imports.
Discuss - Share

I compared Plex DVR and Tvheadend for my family and realised I'm wasting my time
I wrote a thing about checking out some networked DVR solutions for my family. I got my mum a 6TB HDD for her shitty 10 year old Topfield PVR and she filled it up in like 5 months and now wants another HDD. I thought this be a great use of Plex DVR - set 'em up with a server with loads of HDDs, they can all watch the recordings from any TV, they'd love it and I'd be the good son making my parents lives easier. Unfortunately, Plex DVR is pretty much still a beta with a poor UI and Tvheadend with Kodi failed to surprise and delight, even though it mostly worked without a hitch. The experiment sucked and I embarrassed myself in front of the people that love me most.
Discuss - Share

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.