Issue 819

Tuesday, 19th February 2019

In This Issue


Huawei is copping it from all angles again, but insists the USA "will not crush us"

Huawei's been in the news for a few reasons today, but let's start off with the UK's National Cyber Security Centre saying that they don't see a need to ban Huawei from 5G network tenders like their Australian and American allies. New Zealand is in a similar boat, saying they'll do their own assessment to see if having a Chinese backdoor to your telecommunications network is a bad idea. Over in the USA, Huawei's been accused by the DoJ of having a company wide incentive program to steal competitor secrets that lead Huawei staff to harass suppliers to leak technical info on the Apple Watch and copying parts of the MacBook Pro. And finally, in an interview with the BBC, Huawei's founder & CEO said that "there's no way the US can crush us", claiming the backlash against Huawei is politically motivated, not based in facts.

Big dump of new Apple product rumours from Ming-Chi Kuo

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo dropped a massive cache of upcoming Apple products that's too fun not to share. Plus it's a long weekend in the USA so there's fuck all news. "2019 iPhones will feature ultra-wide band connectivity for indoor positioning and navigation, frosted glass casing, bilateral wireless charging for charging other devices, upgraded Face ID with a higher power flood illuminator, larger batteries, and a triple camera design". 2019 iPads will feature less of a bezel and faster CPUs, but there will also be a new iPad mini (finally). AirPods 2, AirPower charging mat, an updated iPod touch and an updated ceramic case for the Apple Watch are also on the horizon for Apple in 2019. Most exciting is a "new MacBook Pro between 16-inches and 16.5-inches with an all-new design", a new Mac Pro with easy to upgrade components" and a 31.6-inch 6K/3K monitor. I want that 6K monitor now.

Japan's going on a big Shodan Safari to alert users if their internet connected devices are vulnerable

The Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology is going to go on a massive nationwide Shodan Safari! If you've never heard the phrase before, a Shodan Safari is where "security professionals" log in to Shodan, a search engine for devices and databases exposed to the internet with no security, and see what weird shit they can find. The NIICT is basically doing that, but for every device on the Japanese IP range - "Starting mid-February, the institute will generate IDs and passwords in its attempt to randomly break into about 200 million devices, such as routers and webcams. Owners of the devices that are breached will be informed that they need to improve safeguards". Not a bad idea I reckon, get those obvious security flaws fixed up before they cause a problem.

All mentions of the US$35,000 base version of Tesla's Model 3 disappear from website

Tesla's removed all mention of the US$35,000 Model 3 from their website. Right now the cheapest Model 3 you can get in the USA is US$42,000, which they advertise as US$35,000 (after fuel savings and rebates). The "cheap" one is still coming according to Elon, who said last month that "we expect to introduce the standard range Model 3 sometime during the middle of this year - it's a rough, rough guess". Why the US$35,000 version of the Model 3 isn't available yet is unknown. It could be because the manufacturing process isn't slick enough yet to enable economy of scale, that Tesla is deliberately holding it up so more people are tempted to stretch their budgets, or maybe, the Model 3 can't be built at that price point. Either way, I wouldn't hold your breath if you're an Australian reservation holder who wanted the base model. Late-2019 for the local release of mid & high end Model 3 and mid-2020 for the base is my guess.

Google temporarily changes mind on Chrome API changes that'll break ad-blockers

A few weeks ago it was floated by the Chrome developer team that they were going to modify the extension API in a way that would block ad blockers. Google said it was for security purposes, but seeing as Google is the world's largest advertising company, it doesn't take much creativity to extrapolate that halting the development of ad blockers would be a good thing for Google's bottom line. Anyway, Google said today that they're going to "revise" the proposed changes and that "it is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to prevent or break content blocking". Mmmhmm, sure thing Google. They do plan to do something to limit the use of the webRequest part of the Chrome extension API that ad blockers currently rely on, but what that change is remains to be seen.

Not News, But Still Cool

All ad blockers perform pretty much the same in real world use

And on the topic of ad blockers, "Who Tracks Me", a blog run by Cliqz, who happen to make a privacy focused web browser and ad blocker extension, have found that basically all the popular ad blockers are as fast as each other in real world performance. They benchmarked uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, Brave, DuckDuckGo and Cliqz/Ghostery in blocking ads in Chrome and with the except of DuckDuckGo, they all performed so quickly that a human wouldn't notice. Cliqz's ad blocker was the fastest on paper, but I don't know how much I'd trust that analysis seeing as it came from Cliqz. What's important to note here is that using any ad blocker will make your internet heaps faster, so use an ad blocker! (I like Pi-Hole)

A cool recreation of the very first web browser, WorldWideWeb

Some folks got together at CERN and spent a few days recreating the very first web browser (WorldWideWeb) inside a web browser! Visit and you can pretend it's 1990 and you're a smart person working at CERN in Geneva, seeing what the big fuss is about this "hypertext" nonsense that British bloke Tim keeps bothering you with. Quite impressive for five days work too! I've been to the CERN museum in Geneva and saw Tim's NeXT computer where the code for WorldWideWeb apparently still resides, but I've also been to the Science Museum in London where they claim to have Tim's NeXT computer where WWW was developed. Fucked if I know where the real one is then. Unless he had two? I asked Tim on Twitter what the go is and he never replied.

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That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin') - Dr. Dre