The Sizzle

Issue 500 - Monday, 16th October 2017

Wow, I've written this thing 500 times! When I started back in October 2015, I said to myself "look, just do it every day for a week and see how you go" - now look at me. The Sizzle is the best habit I've ever formed. Thanks to all 483 people out there paying me to write it! If you want a laugh, here's a link to the very first (public) issue of The Sizzle.


KRACK - the beginning of the end for WPA2 wi-fi security
WPA2 looks like it is cooked, according to the latest computer security bombshell. Details of KRACK, which will be released around 10pm AEST, outlines how a flaw in generating WPA2 pre-shared keys can be taken advantage of and used to gain access to any wi-fi network secured with WPA2-PSK, which is pretty damn common. It may not be as bad as it sounds, as the release of this seems to have been held back for a while, so maybe wi-fi vendors are working on updates? I hope. Expect more info in tomorrow's Sizzle.
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Tesla sacked 400-700 staff after a company wide performance review
Tesla sacked between 400 to 700 workers all at once last week, which is weird as they wildly missed their production target for the Model 3. You'd think if it's all hands on deck to meet a target, you'd be hiring people, not sacking them, yeah? It seems to be a mix of that stack ranking bullshit Steve Ballmer did at Microsoft where every year, you sack the bottom 2% or something as that's supposed to motivate people. Tesla said they will be replacing most workers, so it seems like it's a sycophantic effort to purge the under-performers, not simply consolidation after their various acquisitions.
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Telstra's report says Telstra is the best mobile telco (and it's true)
Telstra paid Systemics Group to go around the country, covering over 41,000km, to see how Telstra compares to its rivals Optus and Vodafone. Telstra was, unsurprisingly, way ahead in regional areas, but in the cities, Vodafone was often not far behind. Optus was pretty average all over the joint, coming 3rd for data speeds in the cities and country, but it had more coverage in the country than Vodafone, so it's 2nd by default really. Check out the full report from Systemics, even though it was paid for by Telstra, it's pretty objective - Telstra genuinely wanted to find out if it's network is still shit hot, so of it isn't, they can beef it up. Good work on them for sharing an unrestricted version of the findings.
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Twitter makes yet another promise to stop abuse
Over the weekend, a decent chunk of women decided to boycott Twitter for not taking their pleas of doing something about the abuse they receive on the platform (#WomenBoycottTwitter). In response, Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey let loose a tweetstorm talking about what Twtiter will do to stop abuse. Twitter plans to create "new rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence" starting "in the next few weeks". Okay, sure, let's see what happens - this isn't the first time Twitter's promised to do something about abuse.
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Samsung's CEO resigns while the company makes record profits
Out of nowhere, Samsung Electronic's Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh-hyun has resigned. Considering all the bullshit going on around corruption and bribery charges of other senior execs and chairs at Samsung, old man Kwon decided to call it quits. That said, it hasn't impacted Samsung's bottom line, as their electronics division (remember, Samsung is a huge conglomerate) is currently in a boom, recording all-time high profits off the back of its excellent OLED and flash memory businesses. Guess it's nice to go out on a high, aye Kwon?
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Desktop operating systems are crap, let's start again from scratch
Here's an interesting thinkpiece from Josh Marinacci about modern desktop operating systems. He argues that they're "bloated, slow, and layered with legacy cruft" - innovation in desktop computing died 15 years ago according to him. Josh doesn't mention it (the latter half of the article is basically a BeOS circlejerk, which I am totally here for), but I reckon the time is now for a revolution in desktop computing. We have all the normies using iPads and shit, let them have it. Let's build a full on nerd station for us dorks still wanting a desktop computer. Burn it all down and start again with few tabs of LSD and your best 90s research projects Microsoft. Or Apple. Or Google.
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RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 engine goes open source
There's now an open-source version of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 game engine! Pretty much like how OpenTTD is a remake of the classic Transport Tycoon Deluxe, OpenRCT is an open-source version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. Unlike OpenTTD, they haven't remade all the artwork (it took years for the Transport Tycoon artwork to be remade), so if you want to play it, you'll need to find your own copy of RCT2's data files, but at least now you can play it on your modern computer, on Mac, Windows or Linux. I think I still have a copy of RCT2 on a CD at my parents place.
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Dutch cops make a Pokemon Go for finding stolen cars
Dutch police have released a "Pokémon-like app" called Automon, that encourages people to photograph car license plates to find out if the vehicle is stolen. If it is, the person spotting the stolen car gets points and it helps the police find the car. The more stolen cars you find, the more points you get. There's plans to evolve this from stolen cars to missing people with an app called Search Together - "the app keeps track of what areas have been searched by volunteers and what areas still need to be scoured". Fascinating concepts, as long as we don't let this sort of thing devolve to earning rewards for dobbing in your neighbours doing petty crimes and shit like that.
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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.