Issue 709

Friday 24th August 2018
Subtle reminder to order your Pi-Hole ad blocker this weekend! Orders close Monday night.

In This Issue


New DJI Mavic 2 drones with improved cameras & auto flight features

DJI has new drones for you to lust over - the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. The Pro has a new 1" CMOS sensor, 10-bit log colour profile and a "Hasselblad camera" that'll capture 10-bit HDR 4K H.265 video. The Zoom has a smaller 1/2.3" sensor that's coupled with a 2x optical zoom lens (24mm-48mm) that'll record 1080p H.265 video. It's also got a cool feature called Super Resolution that'll "uses the drone’s optical zoom to shoot nine individual images of a scene and then automatically stitch them together into a 48-megapixel photo". Heaps of other intelligent flight mode improvements too. The Mavic 2 Pro is AU$2,299, the Zoom is $1,999 and both are on sale now via DJI's website. DJI have a fancy video showing off the new features.

Microsoft accused of bribing government officials in Hungary to use Office

Microsoft's getting investigated by the US DoJ and SEC for possibly breaching the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. According to those agencies, "Microsoft sold its software such as Word and Excel to middleman firms in Hungary at steep discounts", "the intermediaries then sold those software to government agencies there in 2013 and 2014 at close to full price". "Investigators are looking into whether the middleman companies used the difference to pay bribes and kickbacks to government officials." Tsk, tsk, tsk. Naughty Microsoft. The full accusations are in the Wall Street Journal but I don't like linking to paywalled articles because you lot can't read it without a WSJ sub or finding a workaround.

Epic giving users who enable 2FA in Fortnite a unique emote

Fortnite (the game) has these things called Emotes, right. They're like little dances your player does in game when you press a button. It's very stupid, but the kids love it. Ever seen a tween swinging their arms by their side and swaying their hips? That's a Fortnite emote (which itself was taken from a SNL clip featuring Katy Perry???). Anyways, to encourage players to enable two-factor authentication, Epic (the publisher of Fortnite) is giving those who turn it on a special "Boogiedown Emote". The linked Engadget article has a GIF of a cartoon character doing his dance. Cool. Now a whole generation of children knows about 2FA and that can only be a good thing.

Reality Winner sentenced to 63 months in prison for leaking Russian election hacking info

Reality Winner, the whistleblower/traitor (what she is depends on who you ask) that "printed a classified document that showed how Russian military intelligence hacked at least one voting software supplier and had attempted to breach more than 100 local election systems in the days before the November 2016 vote", has been sentenced to 63 months in prison - the longest sentence a US court has handed out to someone who leaked secret government info to the media. Reality gave that document to The Intercept, who wrote this piece based on her leak. That pissed off a lot of people and due to Reality and The Intercept's poor op-sec, she was quickly arrested. I guess the moral of the story here is if you leak anything that embarrasses a government, regardless of how important it is that the public knows what's going on, they're gonna hunt you down like a dog and chuck you in jail because you made them look bad.

Jeremy Corbyn wants to tax big internet companies to build a nationalised version of their services

The British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he thinks a "a digital license fee, supplementing the existing license fee, collected from tech giants and internet service providers, who extract huge wealth from our shared digital space, could allow a democratized and more plural BBC to compete far more effectively with the private multinational digital giants like Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook". He would like digital licence fee to create a "British Digital Corporation" that would create "a public social media platform with real privacy and public control over the data that is making Facebook and others so rich". Hmmmmmm, a nationalised social media platform you say? The full text of his lecture on the topic is here. I hope this stuff is low on his list of priorities if he got elected, as there's way more important things that need sorting out before this shit.

Not News, But Still Cool

Teens using their Instagram accounts to earn pocket money via sponsored posts

Taylor Lorenz has a fascinating story about the dynamics of kids getting paid to promote crap on their Instagram accounts. It's mostly teen girls (like 13 year olds) hawking fashion and cosmetic things to their thousands of followers for a few bucks. The brands love it as it's cheap as hell, "if you have to wait for a week for a post that gets 30,000 likes and only cost $10, it’s worth it" and the kids are grateful for whatever crumbs they can get plus "it's easier to grow on Instagram than it is to get a raise at a job". They stash the money in PayPal where their parents can't see and use it on whatever kids use cash on these days. Smells like child labour to me. The brands here have such a huge knowledge and financial advantage over these kids.

This loose unit put Windows 95 into an Electron app

Slack developer Felix Rieseberg decided to put Windows 95 inside an electron app. Literally placing an entire instance of Windows 95 into an app you can run on your Mac, Windows or Linux computer. Nostalgia for us old fucks, a museum piece for the people who are adults now but weren't even born when Windows 95 came out. I lined up for at midnight to buy a copy of Windows 95! You know what, I'm looking at Win 95 now and man, how nice is that user interface. It looks so good. I want to use that every day. Could you still use something like Windows 2000 as a daily driver in 2018? That's when desktop computers peaked I reckon.

Cheap 60W USB-C PD charger, BeatsX, Harmony 350 remote, Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds, MX Master 2S mouse, 75" Sony 4K TV

That's it, see ya Monday!

The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps