Issue 870

Tuesday, 7th May 2019

In This Issue


Developer related announcements from Microsoft Build conference

Microsoft has unloaded heaps of developer related goodies at its Build conference overnight. The Verge and Techcrunch have been keeping tabs on all the announcements, which I'll list here and you can then go off and read more if you give a shit about em: the Chromium based Edge browser is coming to macOS, Windows 10 will ship with a full Linux kernel via a major update to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a fancy new terminal app for Windows with a funny promo video and the launch of React Native for Windows (a very popular cross-platform app development framework).

NSA tries to hack China, China intercepts then hacks US allies using NSA's tools

The NSA have traditionally been the big dogs when it comes to state sponsored hacking, but it looks like the Chinese absolutely schooled the Americans, stealing their best hacking tools. According to Symantec, the NSA tried to hack the Chinese, but the Chinese detected it and learned from it, then managed to infiltrate the systems of at least Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. Targets included "scientific research organizations, educational institutions and the computer networks of at least one American government ally".

Android Auto gets a nice update

Android Auto is getting a refresh ahead of the Google I/O developer conference keynote tomorrow. The bottom menu bar has been redesigned (dynamically shows buttons relevant to the app instead of a static menu bar), improved notifications, info on screen is different depending on screen size (larger screens will show more stuff) and Android Auto can now be configured to appear on the screen as the car starts up so you don't have to see the OEM interface. I like Android Auto so much more than CarPlay.

ACCC's speed testing finds that 13% of NBN users aren't getting the speeds they pay for

The latest results of the ACCC's speed monitoring program have found that "13% of households participating in the speed monitoring platform could never achieve close to the advertised maximum speed of their broadband service. That included one in four of the FTTN services that had wholesale maximum speeds of 50 megabits per second or 100Mbps". The ACCC reckon that poor in-house wiring could be an issue for crap FTTN speeds, but NBN isn't responsible for what's going on in your house, so cough up for a private tech to clean things up or live with sub-par internet access that your tax dollars paid for.

Facebook to hand over massive chunks of data to researchers to study

Facebook is going to give 12 external research groups anonymised data about how stories are shared across its platform, so they can study how dumb things go viral. "Collectively, they'll be studying critical questions facing politics and technology: how disinformation campaigns play out on social media, the ways partisan communities become organized, and whether Facebook as a whole can swing an election". It's very rare for Facebook to provide this data to anyone outside of Facebook, so the results should be fascinating.

Not News, But Still Cool

Get beautiful satellite photos of Earth that dynamically update for your desktop wallpaper

Downlink is a very cool Mac app that grabs the latest photos of Earth taken by various satellites and makes it your desktop wallpaper. It updates with the latest image every 20 minutes from your choice of GOES-East, GOES-West or Himawari-8 weather satellites. Not that I see my desktop very often (it's covered in windows), but I chose Himawari-8, as it has a perfect view of Australia thanks to the fact Japan is in the same longitude as Japan. The quality of the image is amazing and Downlink is free from the Mac App Store.

Refurbish your old iPod with flash storage for 1TB or more of music

Got an old iPod lying around that could use a little love? iFlash has kits to refurbish iPods and replace the tiny 1.8" HDDs with modern storage like SD or microSD cards. There's even one unit that lets you place an mSATA drive inside an iPod! It uses more power than the card options, but you can have 1TB of capacity. That would have blown my mind in 2005 but today feels so mundane. I miss my iPods, but Spotify/Google Play (not Apple Music, Apple Music is bad) is pretty fucking cool too.

Cheap Vodafone prepaid, refurb 4K Apple TV, C&C Ultimate game collection, Sony wireless headphones, Viewsonic 27" monitor

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Drain You - Nirvana