Issue 532

Thursday, 30th November 2017

In This Issue


Apple releases patch for High Sierra root login bug

Apple has released a patch for that nasty root log-in bug in macOS High Sierra that I mentioned yesterday. Install it now. Unfortunately, the patch introduced a new bug that broke file sharing, hahahah. Apple's patched that too. Also weird, there's now two updates called "Security Update 2017-001". If you're up for a technical explanation as to why someone could log in to your computer without a password and get admin rights, Objective-See has a detailed article that goes way over my head. What bothers me is that this bug was known for weeks, on Apple's own forums and nobody there did anything about it.

What happened to the ACCC's NBN speedtests?

Remember the ACCC's big announcement that they're gonna do a bunch of speedtests on NBN connections using thousands of volunteers around Australia? Well that was supposed to produce some results by now, but nothing has happened yet - nobody has received the speedtest devices, let alone sent any results to the ACCC to collate and publish on a quarterly schedule as planned. The ACCC reckons testing will begin in December. Which is tomorrow. I doubt anything will happen before Feb 2018 and results won't be published until mid-2018.

Andy Rubin left Google because of an "inappropriate relationship"

Andy Rubin left Google back in 2014 and we didn't really know why. It was kinda assumed it was to go and start his own phone company, which he did, called Essential, but a report from The Information (linked to The Verge because paywall) now claims Rubin left due to an "inappropriate relationship with a woman who worked under him and filed a complaint to HR". The woman who filed the complaint worked with Rubin in the Android division, which violates Google's policy on the issue. Rubin has taken a leave of absence from Essential to "deal with personal matters".

Facebook using selfies at CAPTCHAs & stops allowing racially targeted ads

Facebook takes another creepy step and if your account is flagged for suspicious activity (e.g: logins from weird locations), you'll be asked to send Facebook a selfie, which they'll do some machine learning, AI magic on, then let you back in. Facebook won't say what they do with the photo, but they promise to delete it permanently. Also related to Facebook - they've removed the ability to target ads at specific racial groups, which is illegal in US law and should never have been allowed in the first place.

Heaps of new AWS features announced at Re:Invent

There's a bucketload of new Amazon Web Services stuff recently announced at Re:Invent over in Las Vegas. I don't even know what half of these do, but there are over 50 announcements so far. There's new machine learning things (Translate, Comprehend and Transcribe look amazing), additions to Elemental that turn it into a white label YouTube, an operating system designed for microcontrollers and IoT devices (along with heaps of other IoT services), EC2 bare metal instances and heaps, heaps more. Something non-developers might find interesting is Australian and New Zealand language support for Alexa coming early next year.

Not News, But Still Cool

Assorted miscellaneous news

There's a glut of interesting links gathering in my Pocket feed from the past few days, so here's ones I want to mention but can't be bothered writing more than a sentence about:

GM shows off its robocars to a wider group of people

General Motors is confident enough in its self-driving car tech, that it's let a bunch of journalists ride around in it and tomorrow, will allow investors to try them out for the first time. A pretty big milestone for GM. The New York Times and Recode have relatively interesting puff pieces on GM's progress with self-driving cars. Reuter's experience was halted when the car got stuck behind a food truck and refused to drive around it. CNBC experienced similar "wtf is this car doing" moments. Luckily (or unfortunately?), there's still people in the driver's seat, ready to take over if the computer gets stuck or decides to do something stupid.

Cheap Google Home Mini, Mac software bundle, refurb Macbooks, microSD cards & Xiaomi batteries

Good Guys are selling the Google Home Mini on eBay for $54 or get it from Officeworks for $54 too. Even I'm tempted to allow a piece of surveillance technology into my home at this price. A huge Mac software bundle is available for US$8. The only app I would actually use is Paragon's NTFS driver, but even if you only buy that for US$8 you're ahead, the other apps are just gravy and maybe you'd use em too. Apple has 14-15% off refurbished, current model MacBooks. ShoppingSquare has great pricing on Samsung microSD cards (e.g: 64GB for $29.45) and 10,000mAh Xiaomi USB batteries - $18.95.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!