Issue 674

Friday, 6th July 2018
Just a reminder that if you like The Sizzle, feel free to forward it on to anyone you reckon would like it too! A tweet or Facebook post about The Sizzle would be nice too :)

In This Issue


Sydney Airport & Qantas kick off couch to gate biometrics trial

Next time you fly with Qantas overseas via Sydney airport, you may be asked to participate in a "couch to gate biometrics trial". There's cameras all over the international terminal that will detect you through "four key steps in the passenger journey including automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding". This works in conjunction with the Department of Home Affairs automated clearance process for clearing immigration without having to show anyone your passport. It sounds nice in theory, just wandering around the airport without having to hand over ID or tickets, but will it actually work? Are the face recognition platforms that reliable already? I remain sceptical.

Series of lynch mob killings in India blamed on WhatsApp

Over the last 2 months, lynch mobs in India have killed 12 people accused of being pedos, based on nothing but a chain message on WhatsApp. India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that WhatsApp "cannot evade accountability and responsibility" for this vigilante justice and wants WhatsApp to do something about it. As a first step, WhatsApp will "publish new educational materials around misinformation and conduct our news literacy workshops", as well as offering $50,000 grants to researchers to study this phenomenon. Oh the wonders of instantaneous and frictionless mass communication.

Proposed EU copyright laws fail to pass parliament

That shitty copyright law in the EU I talked about yesterday failed to get up in their parliament. It was knocked back despite musicians like Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Placido Domingo and David Guetta who were among "1,300 musicians who urged politicians to enact a law forcing sites like YouTube and Facebook to use filters that would stop users illegally uploading their music". Thank fuck for that. I get the feeling that this is just the first step of the salami getting sliced and we will see smaller, more successful attempts to incrementally reach the holy grail of rights owners - content white lists enforced by ISPs and websites with criminal ramifications for avoiding them.

HealthEngine repents for its sins and promises to change

HealthEngine has seen the error of their ways been shamed by the media into changing their shoddy business practices. The Perth-based doctor booking service that "funnelled hundreds of users' health data to lawyers, and boasted to advertisers it could target users with marketing based on their symptoms and medical conditions", initially said it did nothing wrong, claiming that it had clear consent from its users. But it didn't, leading doctors to cancel their subscriptions. Now HealthEngine has announced it will "stop sharing users' data and will remove advertising from its website". Let's see how long HealthEngine lasts as a company without the prospect of revenue from selling patient data.

Random slightly interesting news because it's Independence Day weekend in the USA

Not News, But Still Cool

Itty Bitty Sites manages to shove the contents of a website in its own URL

Itty Bitty Sites is an amazing little project by Nicholas Jitkoff that places the entire contents of a website into the URL without the need for a webserver. Take this link for example. The contents of it after the # are called a fragment. This fragment is not interpreted by the web server, but is looked at by the web browser. The stuff you type in is compressed, then base64 encoded, placed in the URL post-fragment and when accessed by a web browser, the contents of the fragment are expanded locally and displayed on screen. How cool is that? Itty Bitty even generates a QR code of the URL for easier dissemination:

Appreciation for pizza box form factor computers

Thanks to @voltagex on Twitter, I have stumbled across a delightful blog exploring a computing niche I didn't think anyone really appreciated - pizza box computers. This variety of desktop computer had its day in the late 80s to the mid 90s and were named pizza boxes because the cases they came in were roughly the shape of a pizza box. Sophie Haskins has collected a couple of them and writes about her attempts to restore them to their former glory. The Quadra 605 and Power Mac 6100 have long been of particular interest to me because they exhibit two of my computing peccadilloes - Macs & pizza box form factors! The SGI Indy has a ridiculous boot chime and the HP 712/60 has a very funky POST screen.

Cheap GTX1060, Dell XPS 15, Viewsonic 27" WQHD monitor & Sony CarPlay headunit