The Sizzle

Issue 495 - Monday, 9th October 2017


QLD police ran kiddie porn site as a honeypot for months after arresting the admin
Queensland police have been running "one of the dark web’s largest child abuse sites for almost a year", pretending to be the admin of the Child's Play forum after the original admin was arrested. The QLD cops continued to run it as a honey pot, providing intel for a dozen foreign countries that have resulted in arrests of child pornographers. Australia, apparently, is one of the few English speaking jurisdictions where law enforcement can actually partake in the dissemination of child porn in order to achieve an arrest. The Guardian article I linked to has the brief version of what went on, but the full report from VG is available in English and well worth a read, even if just for the technical info on how the journalists managed to find out that Brisbane cops were running the forum.
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Tesla and Google want to help Puerto Rico with restoring electricity & internet access
Puerto Rico's been through some shit lately - storms, floods and hurricanes have ravaged the US-semi state. It's communications and electrical grids are absolutely rooted. To assist the Puerto Ricans in getting some sort of basics back, Google and Tesla are lending a hand. Google's weird internet connected balloons (aka Project Loon) received approval from the FCC to fly its LTE enabled craft over the island, spreading internet where there currently is none. Tesla wants to cart in batteries to solve Puerto Rico's energy problems. Just like with South Australia, this happened because of Twitter - when someone asked Elon Musk to help and the Puerto Rican Governor got involved.
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A handful of iPhone 8s have swollen batteries
iPhone 8s are popping open left right and centre, or so it seems, but not really. There's one person in Taiwan who had their new shiny bloat up. There's a guy in Toronto who's iPhone 8 also swelled up, causing the screen to come apart from the chassis. Now there's this report from "China’s state-backed", where one bloke had his iPhone 8's battery swell and the display pop open. One guy! In all of China! Wow, what an epidemic. At least they aren't exploding like Samsung's.
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Microsoft hammers another nail into the Windows Mobile coffin
If you didn't already believe Microsoft's given up on Windows Mobile/Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile or whatever the fuck they call it now, here's more proof. Joe Belfiore, the dude in charge of Windows over at Microsoft, has come back from a sabbatical and tweeted that "building new features/hw aren't the focus" for Windows 10 Mobile. There'll be bug fixes and security patches, but that's about it. You'd reckon sooner or later, those will stop coming out too and Windows Mobile will be a dead platform. I reckon Microsoft will officially declare it dead and no longer supported by early 2019.
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AOL Instant Message will not BRB
AOL Instant Messenger is closing down for good on the 15th of December. No longer will you be able to log in to iChat and IM your mates, you'll have to use one of the dozens of other messaging services instead. Most of the articles mentioning this are quite nostalgic about AIM - childhood and teenage memories of relationships groomed online before Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat. But I think for most Australians in their 30s now, it'd be MSN Messenger that would generate the most nostalgia. That closed down in 2014.
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Watch out for dodgy USB-C cables
USB-C cables come in many different types and they're not always labelled or made properly to do what they claim to do. Some will handle 5W of power fine for charging a smartphone, but won't do 100W of power to charge a laptop, or support 4K graphics or 10GBps data transfer, even though, technically, these are all things a USB-C should be able to handle. Luckily for us, Benson Leung has been reviewing these cables for over a year, calling out the shit cables and praising the good ones. Most of what he recommends only lives on Amazon, but if you can find them in AU, good luck.
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Apple isn't crippling old iPhones when new versions of iOS come out
Every time a new version of iOS comes out, people bitch and moan that their previously fast phone is suddenly slower when they upgrade to the new version and that Apple does it on purpose to sell you a new device. Futuremark (the makers of 3DMark) used their huge database of user submitted benchmark results over the past few years and decided to put that theory to the test. The result: nah, iPhones don't get slower with new version of iOS. Sure, Apple doesn't optimise the new versions for the old iPhones, but they don't deliberately hamper it. Performance stays the same between iOS versions on the same device.
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An example of what might happen if (when?) computers get smarter than us
Nautilus has a wonderful excerpt from "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark" that gripped me so much, I bought the book. In this story, a group of engineers decide that they should develop a smarter than humanity AI, because if they don't, someone with less altruistic aims will. They then use that AI in the real world, to first make money, then use that money to try make the world a better place. It all seems to work, but then the excerpt ends with a question, so I assume the shit hits the fan, but I won't know until I get my hands on the book!
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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.