Issue 688

Thursday, 26th July 2018

In This Issue


Facebook predicts slowing growth due to pesky privacy issues, market freaks out

Facebook's share price fell over 20% overnight after announcing its slowest-ever user growth rate and declining revenue per user. This wiped over US$123b (yes, billion) off Facebook's market cap. Why is user & revenue growth slowing? The European GDPR and other laws that make tracking users online slightly more difficult, plus Facebook's investments in security to prevent another Cambridge Analytica that Facebook reckon will hit its profitability for years to come. That said, Facebook still has 2.5b people using a their apps (Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger) at least once a month. That's almost a third of the planet. With an audience like that, they aren't exactly gonna go broke any time soon. Unfortunately.

Apple isn't gonna use Qualcomm chips in upcoming iPhone

Qualcomm's Chief Financial Officer gave the market a heads up that Apple will not be using Qualcomm chips for cellular modems in upcoming iPhones. He said, "Apple intends to solely use our competitor’s modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release" - which has been interpreted as Apple will use Intel's arguably inferior modems instead as they're probably Qualcomm's only serious competitor (though I saw something about Apple maybe using MediaTek modems). This makes a lot of sense considering Apple and Qualcomm are locked in a huge patent infringement and royalty dispute that looks set to drain both companies for a long, long time. If you were Apple, and suing a company, why would you use their gear? Also Qualcomm related, their US$44b takeover of NXP Semiconductors died, primarily because Chinese market regulators haven't bothered to decide (dunno if this is on purpose or they don't care) on whether they approve of the deal or not.

Google will sell hardware 2FA tokens soon

Google is making its own hardware two factor authentication key, called Titan. It's very similar to the YubiKey USB 2FA devices that are the industry standard for securing an account that absolutely must not be hacked. "The FIDO-compatible Titan keys will come in two versions. One with Bluetooth support for mobile devices and one that plugs directly into your computer’s USB port" and will "come in a bundle with both the USB and Bluetooth versions for US$50, or you can buy one or the other for about US$20 to US$25 each". Google Cloud customers are already using them and they've been excellent at preventing successful phishing attempts internally Google, but for the rest of us, expect to see them in the Google Store towards the end of the year.

Waymo's robocars will haul Walmart customers around Phoenix

Waymo is letting more of it's robocars loose in the hands of average punters in some Phoenix suburbs, by partnering up with Walmart to bring customers to its stores. "Starting later this week, the two will begin a test pilot that offers members of Waymo's early rider program grocery savings when they shop from The riders will be able to take a Waymo car to their nearby Walmart store for grocery pickup, when the order is ready". What I can't find out is if there's a meatbag in the driver's seat ready to take over when something goes wrong? I didn't think Waymo's tech is good enough yet to rock up to someone's house without a human inside and then deliver the human cargo somewhere. Maybe Waymo trusts it enough in this specific area to not freak out the passengers.

New Synology products & Intel NUCs on the way

Anandtech has news about upcoming Synology products and an update to Intel's little NUC computers. By the end of the year, Synology plans to release an update to its excellent router with a faster SoC and superior radios, a 12-bay desktop NAS and an updated 8-bay short-depth rackmount NAS. Intel has updated its range of NUCs to use the latest 28W Coffee Lake CPUs. These new ones are much like the old ones but faster for the same amount of power consumption. The NUC8i3BEK looks like a very nice little unit for every day computing. Expect these to be in stock around mid-late August. Why in God's name Apple just doesn't repackage these into a fancy case, slap on their massive margin and sell them as the Mac Mini is beyond me.

Not News, But Still Cool

RIP Apple Xserve, the only server I ever loved

In a previous life before I wrote The Sizzle, back in the early 2000s, I earned a living babysitting computers and my specialty was caring for about a dozen Xserves at the University of Melbourne, then 30 Xserves at RMIT University. I forgot all about the Xserve, Apple's rack mounted servers back when they sold things like rackmounted servers, until this post on MacStories popped up. It's a brief history of the Xserve and Apple's server products, written as a eulogy really as Apple no longer makes any of this stuff and is shitcanning the macOS server tools as I write this. Going by Apple's financial success, it was probably the right move, but I'd love to have seen where enterprise IT went if Apple stuck with the Xserve and having a proper go at making Apple devices a first class citizen rather than the half-arsed effort they seem to put in now.

Media piracy has never been better thanks to Terrarium TV

Do you miss Popcorn Time? Yeah, me too. It was the pinnacle of piracy, a shining example of how good things would be if there wasn't pesky copyright or territorial distribution rights for content. Well its kinda back with Terrarium TV, despite being a bit more complicated to use than it should be. Don't ask where it gets all the content from, just enjoy it. To install Terrarium TV you gotta allow non-signed apps (risky) and download the Android APK off Reddit. Here's a video of Terrarium in action. You probably wanna use a VPN for this sorta thing.

Cheap PC hardware, DJI Spark drone, VMware desktop apps, PC games & 10% off Macs at JB

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Jay Reatard - Waiting For Something