Issue 835

Thursday, 14th March 2019

In This Issue


Spotify complains to the EU that Apple is being anti-competitive

Spotify has filed a formal complaint against Apple in the EU, saying that Apple isn't playing fair. They even made a website dedicated to their complaint. Some of them are kinda tough titties stuff, like Apple won't implement our bug fixes and Apple won't let us send emails directly to iOS users, but some are seriously legit complaints like the 30% cut Apple takes if a user signs up for Spotify in-app (Apple Music doesn't incur this premium) and the fact Apple Music on the Apple Watch has superior API access than Spotify on the Apple Watch. I agree with Spotify here - in the case of streaming music on iOS, it's pretty obvious there isn't a level playing field and customers are worse off because of it.

Beta 1 of Android Q is out and about for Pixel owners

The first beta of Android Q has been released and is now available for Pixel devices if you sign up for the beta program. The main focus of this release is privacy, with Android now implementing the same location permissions as iOS (allow all the time, only when app is in use or never), wi-fi MAC addresses will be randomised by default and access to unique device identifiers like IMEI and serial number will be restricted. There's other stuff like folding/dual screen support, TLS 1.3 enabled by default, AV1 & Opus codecs, a dynamic depth file format so 3rd party apps can do that fake bokeh stuff with pics, a way to bring up system settings within an app so a user doesn't have to leave the app to change a system setting relevant to the app and a bunch of neural nework acronyms and buzzwords I've never heard of.

It's not just you, Facebook, Insta & Whatsapp were cooked today

Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp have all been down entirely or unreliable has hell all day. As I write this (1:30pm, gonna go have some lunch soon as I'm done with this bit), Facebook and Instagram are still stuffed for me. Facebook hasn't said what the problem is, but they've confirmed something has gone wrong and that it isn't a DDoS attack. Now there's a good idea - a grass roots effort to add your internet connection to a worldwide DDoS attack on Facebook. I reckon if you made the app easy enough to run, you'd have loads of people happily installing it in a sustained effort to make a DDoS attack so large, not even Facebook could stop it - keeping Facebook offline indefinitely.

More evidence that Elon Musk is a ratbag

Bloomberg has a story about Elon Musk's attempts to silence and bully Tesla whistle blowers. Most of the article focuses on Martin Tripp - the guy who "stole" data claiming Tesla is wasting 40% of its raw materials in the Nevada Gigafactory and is putting damaged batteries into cars. It appears that Elon/Tesla made up a story, telling police that Martin threatened to shoot up the Gigafactory. When police met Martin after the anonymous call, they told Tesla it wasn't him, but Tesla asked the police to put out a press release anyway. Tesla also hacked Tripp's phone and was able to read all his messages and track where he went. This is all backed up by a dude called Sean Gouthro, who was a security manager at Tesla during the time this all went down.

Volkswagen will start taking pre-orders for its cheap-ish EV in May

Volkswagen has said that pre-orders for the launch edition VW ID.3 will begin on the 8th of May, with the production version revealed in September and deliveries later in the year. The ID.3 is VW's mainstream electric car, with a base model price of "under 30,000 euros" (~A$48,000) and 330km range in a C-segment format (i.e: same size as a Golf/Focus/Corolla/i30). Chances are the launch model will be the top spec version with ~550km range and loads of fancy features with a price tag to match. Absolutely no details if Australia is gonna get any. VW has a hard time meeting EU fleet emissions quotas, so they'll likely sell every EV they make in the EU to avoid massive fines.

Not News, But Still Cool

People want to build a monument to Silicon Valley in San Jose

The San Jose City Council is entertaining an idea from a group calling themselves the San Jose Light Tower Corporation, to build a "universally recognized landmark" to reflect Silicon Valley's "power and reach". They're going to launch a design competition and then raise funding to have the best entry built in a San Jose city park by 2021. Besides the absolutely tone-deaf timing of such a monument (if you didn't notice, wider society isn't exactly happy with the bullshit coming out of Silicon Valley lately), what the hell would you build to reflect Silicon Valley anyway? A statue of someone walking into a pole whilst looking at their smartphone whilst a homeless person begs for money?

Jack Dorsey is hanging around anti-vaxxers whilst the rest of the tech industry is try to get rid of them

Whilst we're on the topic of tech buffoons, Jack Dorsey, possibly the biggest buffoon in Silicon Valley, was on a podcast hosted by a bloke called Ben Greenfield - a notorious anti-vaxxer. I don't think Jack Dorsey is an anti-vaxxer (just a wellness woo-woo enthusiast), but the optics of this podcast appearance is amazingly poor. Facebook and Pinterest just in the last week decided to stamp out harmful anti-vaccination material on their social networks and here we have the CEO of Twitter hanging out and thanking a known anti-vaxxer. Absolutely oblivious.

An interesting look at how TPMs can be bugged to get Bitlocker encryption keys

Eliza pinged me on Signal yesterday and let me know that the Bitlocker full disk encryption I rely on to keep my data safe if my laptop is lost or stolen isn't as secure as I thought. Sure, the attack isn't as simple as plugging the laptop's drive into an external enclosure, pressing decrypt and having the drive's contents revealed, but it doesn't seem impossible for someone like a business competitor, ultra-jealous nerdy lover or any semi-competent law enforcement agency to do what Denis Andzakovic has outlined here. Microsoft's response to this attack is to add some pre-boot authentication (like a PIN) to your machine.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Static - Screamfeeder