Issue 526

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

In This Issue


Uber got owned, paid the hackers a "bug bounty" to cover it up

About a year ago, hackers contacted Uber saying they have a huge archive of Uber users and drivers, including personal contact info and drivers licence numbers. All up, 57 million people had their details in the hands of these hackers. At the same time this hack occurred, Uber was being investigated buy US regulators about claims of privacy violations, so Uber swept it under the rug, paying US$100,000 to the hackers to shut up and delete the data under the guise they were just participating in a bug bounty program. I don't know how they can prove it was deleted, but Uber is saying nothing bad has happened since. The New York Attorney General is investigating.

Amazon AU launches at 2PM tomorrow

Amazon Australia will start selling stuff sent from Australian warehouses at 2PM AEDT on Thursday. Perfect timing for excellent Black Friday launch bargains. Not sure how many sellers will be on Amazon AU, what Amazon AU will sell themselves or even if there will be Amazon Prime & free next day shipping. JB Hi-Fi has already reacted, offering same-day and 3-hr delivery on some items. Of course, any bargains thrown up in the Amazon launch sale, I will be sure to mention in The Sizzle. I got my affiliate link and everything, it's gonna be great!

Meg Whitman quits as HP CEO

Meg Whitman is stepping down as CEO of Hewlett Packard. On Feb 1st 2018, Antonio Neri, a HPE executive who currently serves as president, will become CEO and Meg will chill on the HP board. There's no reason given as to why Meg is stepping down, but I guess after 6 years and a lot of fat trimming, HP is still a pig, so it's time to give someone else a shot at running HP. The main thing Meg Whitman will be remembered for is splitting HP into two divisions - HP Enterprise (HPE) where the servers, networking and consulting (aka the profitable stuff) lives and HP Inc, where everything else HP does (printers & laptops mainly) is lumped in to.

Google was tracking Android users even if they had location stuff disabled

Google's been found out tracking user's locations on Android devices, even if location services are turned off and there's no SIM inside. They weren't using GPS, but collecting Cell ID codes (i.e: unique IDs for phone towers) your phone was pinging, which still works without a SIM inside. It's a rough map, but still enough info to determine someone's activities, particularly when used with other data. What Google was doing with this data is anyone's guess. They said that they were using Cell ID codes to "improve the speed and performance of message delivery", but I don't know how logging and sending back Cell ID info to Google helps send messages. Looks to me like Google is just sucking up whatever info it can, with no real plan on what to do with it and hoping you don't notice.

Google decides to "de-rank" Russian propaganda news sites

Google's gonna start de-ranking content from RT and Sputnik, well known Russian propaganda outlets, in a bid to stop the spread of fake news. Eric Schmidt said that this isn't censoring websites, the information is still out there - just that Google will give it less weighting than other sources of news (effectively censoring it, I guess). The Kremlin said if Google does this, they may have to resort to "more serious retaliatory measures", whatever that means. I wouldn't wanna be Google right now - they're screwed if they let this fake news garbage stuff go on, but they're also screwed if they don't and decide to be the internet police.

Not News, But Still Cool

DIY internet in Detroit

This video of people in Detroit conjuring up their own wireless internet access is brilliant and sad at the same time. Brilliant, in that the technology not only exists to share high speed internet across many kilometres, but that it's affordable and relatively easy enough to set up yourself without highly trained experts. Sad, because this is happening in a metropolitan area of the USA, the wealthiest country on Earth. At this point in time, internet access is equivalent to electricity or clean water. Denying groups of people access to information is depriving them of chances to succeed in society. It wouldn't surprise me if we see desperate people doing this DIY wireless broadband across Australia soon.

Random Tesla info

There's a few Tesla related things clogging up my bookmarks, so here's a dump. The first Tesla Supercharger Lounge opened up a few days ago in Kettleman City, California. It's like a roadside servo that you can only get in to if you own a Tesla. Tesla are selling branded USB batteries now, dunno if it's available in Australia. Non-Tesla employees are finally starting to be asked to configure their Model 3 for delivery in the next 4-5 weeks and someone uploaded screenshots of the ordering process. McKinsey has an interesting summary of how different automakers are going about constructing their EVs and the benefits of a native design versus shoehorning batteries into an ICE platform.

Cheap Quad Lock mounts, 4 months free Google Music, GTX1060, MX Master 2S mouse, 200GB microSD & Yubikeys

Quad Lock's online store has 30% off everything. Awesome quality phone mounts. Get 4 months of Google Play Music & YouTube Red for free if you haven't signed up already. PC Byte's eBay store has an Nvidia GTX1060 for $239.20 and the Logitech MX Master 2S mouse for $99.20. ShoppingExpress has a 200GB microSD card for $84.96 (use code PING20 for all these). Yubico will be taking 40% off 4x Yubikeys (use em for fancy 2FA) in a few days.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!