Issue 567

Thursday, 1st February 2018

In This Issue


Fuji buys the rest of Xerox and takes all the patents with them

Fujifilm now owns Xerox. The Japanese imaging giant scooped up its joint venture partner for US$6.1b and will consolidate operations to build scale and cut costs in order to remain competitive in a world that doesn't require as much ink on paper as it used to. The new company will be called Fuji Xerox. Things are off to a good start, with 10,000 staff getting the sack. Let me remind you of all the cool shit Xerox did (that it failed to capitalise on), such as laser printers, bitmap graphics, GUI/WYSIWYG interfaces, Ethernet, object-oriented programming and the model-view-controller software architecture. What a legacy! The book Dealers of Lightning is a great read about those magic (and long gone) times at Xerox.

Nintendo Online to start in September & Mario Kart for iOS in 2019

Nintendo announced that the Switch is a money printing machine and that they're gonna start an online service like PlayStation Network or Xbox Live in September 2018. It'll cost $30/yr and you can use it on your Switch to play games and chat online, as well as enjoy a back catalog of old titles. Nintendo also let slip that they're making a new iOS game - Mario Kart Tour. It'll come out in March 2019.

California's DMV releases latest robocar stats - Waymo & Cruise lead

One of the few ways us plebs can find out who's got least-shit robocars is via the Californian DMV. They force anyone testing robocars in their state to submit info on their progress and then the DMV makes it public. From those public records, we now know what Waymo doing better than GM/Cruise and the gap between them and everyone else is vast. Waymo drove 567,366km and experienced 63 disengagements (i.e: the human seatwarmer had to take over). GM drove 211,911km experiencing 105 disengagements and 22 crashes (Waymo had 0). Everyone else's (Nissan, Bosch, etc.) testing is so minor it's practically a rounding error. Also interesting to note is the absence of Tesla & Uber. Tesla said they prefer simulations and Uber didn't bother to get cars on the road in Cali until later in 2017. I wish more US states made this info public.

Dude who hacked GoGet has been named, charged & given bail

Remember that GoGet hack I mentioned yesterday? It's been revealed that "entrepreneur and self-proclaimed hacker Nik Cubrilovic" is the alleged person responsible. Old mate found a vuln in GoGet's system and let them know about it, for which GoGet gave him some credit as a thank you. The dodgy stuff occurred later when his girlfriend's account was suspended and he decided to hack his way back in and score the free rides. He's been charged with "two counts of unauthorised access, modification, or impairment with intent to commit serious indictable offence; and 33 counts of take and drive conveyance without consent of owner" and was granted bail under the conditions that include no internet access (fair enough) and no access to cryptocurrency (what?).

eBay and PayPal end their relationship

The 12 year partnership between eBay and PayPal has dissolved, with eBay deciding to instead process payments via a Dutch company called Adyen, who also do payments for Uber and Netflix. Soon, you'll be able to slap your credit card direct into eBay and eBay will process the payment and give the cash to the seller. Hopefully it means the fees for using a card will be reduced, as the 2.5% PayPal charge is an absolute joke. By 2020 eBay and PayPal will no longer be mates. eBay still owns PayPal, but spun it off into a separate company in 2014, after buying it back in 2002. Dunno why you'd announce this before selling PayPal off - you've just made it less attractive as an ongoing concern!

Not News, But Still Cool

Spotify have a new standalone radio app for Android only

Spotify has a new app called Stations, that's kinda like their spin on Pandora. It's only on Android right now, but you grab it from the Play store, and you're presented with a list of genres and themes for music. Tap one you feel like your ears would appreciate and music starts. Can't skip, can't go back. Old school radio without the annoying DJ. I've been using it today whilst writing this issue, it's alright. You can't get it anywhere else in the world either - just in Australia. I guess if it bombs, Australian Android users with Spotify accounts aren't exactly a huge audience to drop your pants in front of.

China installed backdoors into the network they set up as a gift for the African Union

China gifted the African Union (it's like a less intense version of the European Union) with a new headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. How nice of them, the African Union thought, an enduring symbol of Sino-Afro relations! (it's totally not neo-colonisation ok guys) It was all good until a few months later, when the IT department at the African Union HQ noticed a peak in data use between midnight and 2am, with all the traffic going to Shanghai. The Chinese installed a backdoor into the African Union's computer network whilst they were building it under the guise of it being a gift! Typical Chinese shenanigans really, they don't care who you are, they'll hack ya, it's not even personal, just what they do.

The internet induced golden age of free speech isn't that great

Zeynep Tufecki is one of the most interesting thinkers about the concept of freedom of speech and privacy in the internet age - her Twitter account is a constant stream of thoughts related to those topics and someone I highly recommend you follow it. She's written a piece for Wired about how our current golden age of free speech isn't as good as it sounds. Even though everyone can now have their dissent or idea heard by millions, we now have the problem of determining who we can trust in the sea of voices. On top of that disinformation, most "free speech" is funneled via Google and Facebook, who manipulate what we see in order to make money off it. What a goddamn mess. This month's issue of Wired is one of the best yet actually, check it out if you can.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!