Issue 531

Wednesday, 29th November 2017

In This Issue


Huge security flaw in macOS High Sierra

There's a serious and incredibly stupid security flaw in the latest version of macOS. Turkish software developer Lemi Orhan Ergin discovered that if you're ever prompted for a username and password, just enter root without a password, let it fail, then try again and it'll let you in. To make matters worse, if you have Screen Sharing or SSH enabled and haven't changed your root password, someone can log into your Mac remotely, with root privileges. I'm absolutely astounded something this blatant slipped past Apple's quality control. Apple hasn't commented on it, nor released an update, so advice from experts is to change your Mac's root password now.

SA govt wants to give startups the right to break any law they want

The South Australian government asked Google, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Hill Ltd, Microsoft Australia, Samsung and Facebook what sort of laws they'd like to see in order to make SA somewhere they'd conduct R&D. The result of that consultation is a law that allows them to break any law they like. I'm not joking, that's literally what the law says. If a law is getting in the way of "innovative research and development proposal", the company can ask the Minister to temporarily suspend the law for them. The Law Society of South Australia (and any sane person) reckons introducing a law to allow certain groups of people to ignore the law is a Bad Idea.

Uber vs. Waymo court case encounters an interesting twist

There's been a few weird things going down in the Uber vs. Waymo court case lately. A letter sent to the judge by the Department of Justice about Uber's acquisition of Otto (Levandowski's robotruck company he started after, possibly during, his time at Waymo) has lead the judge to refer Uber for criminal prosecution. Now, an Uber employee has come forward in court to say Uber had a team set up specifically to steal trade secrets from Waymo and other companies and Waymo was one of those targets. Uber even went as far as to set up a fake server with "shadow" conversations, but the real stuff all happened on Wickr, as to avoid stuff on the record biting them in the arse later.

Bitcoin hits new all time high, 1 BTC worth over US$10,000

The price of a single Bitcoin is now worth over US$10,000 (as of 3:11pm AEDT, it is at AUD$13,614.18), but nobody really knows why. The guy who invented exchange traded funds (Vanguard's Jack Bogle) is not a fan of Bitcoin for the same reason I'm not a fan of Bitcoin - identifying the underlying value of Bitcoin is practically impossible. It's useless as a currency due to the hours it takes to confirm a transaction and doesn't have any other application besides a store of value. At least you can live in a house or melt your gold to use as jewellery. Ya can't live in or wear a Bitcoin!

Critical Vic government IT systems have shocking disaster recovery processes

"Five key Victorian government service agencies would not be able to recover all their critical systems in the event of disruption due to woeful disaster recovery processes, the state's auditor has found." - I'm utterly shocked the state government's IT systems are totally rooted. Shocked I am. The agencies in question are Victoria Police and the Transport, Environment, Health, and Justice departments. None of them had a disaster recover process robust enough to get systems going after some sort of major issue (i.e: a hack or fire) because the systems they maintain are so damn old. Here's the auditor's full report.

Not News, But Still Cool

New Civ 6 expansion pack coming soon, full of new gameplay features

There's a new expansion pack for Civ 6 coming Feb 8th 2018! Civilization VI: Rise and Fall is a bit more than just a few new civs and units, there's new game play features too. Governors make an appearance, special people you can assign to manage a city and their unique skill adds a boost in that city's capability. You can set up alliances between civs to boost Research, Cultural, Economic, Military, and Religious goals. There's other new gameplay features like loyalty, historic moments and golden and dark ages. It looks pretty awesome. Expect a few late issues of The Sizzle around the release of this expansion pack.

Apple chucks up some useful YouTube videos on how to use iOS

If you're gifting an iOS device to a less tech savvy person this Christmas, maybe add Apple's new Support YouTube channel to their home screen. It's just a couple of videos on how to do the stuff us nerds take for granted on iOS, but you imagine they'll add heaps more as time goes on. Stuff like how to take a screenshot, how to change the wallpaper, how to delete duplicate contacts are in there. Personally, I found the iOS 11 on iPad how-tos kinda useful. I keep forgetting to use the new dock and multi-tasking features.

Cheap Telstra mi-fi, Samsung SSDs, STM bags, Adobe Creative Cloud, Airpods & $8/m phone plans

Coles has the Telstra MF910V Pre-Paid 4GX wi-fi modem with 5GB of data for $29.50. Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD for $109 + shipping at Shopping Express. STM are doing 40.5% off their range of bags and cases (use code WELCOME to get 15% off the existing 30% discount). JB Hi-Fi are selling Adobe Creative Cloud Photography 1-year subscription digital download codes for $139. Myer has Apple Airpods back in stock on their eBay store for $183.20 (use code PMYER). Moose Mobile has an $8/m plan, with 500MB of data, unlimited SMS and 200 minutes of calls, on the Optus 4G network.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!