Here we are, issue 1000 of The Sizzle! This is where it all began - issue one in all its plain HTML glory. I've been sending out The Sizzle almost daily for over 4 years since. It still flatters me there's over 600 of you that pay to read it. That's way more attention a bum like me deserves. Thanks so much for your support of The Sizzle over the last 1000 issues. 1001 goes out tomorrow.
Two former Twitter employees charged with spying on users for Saudi Arabia
Facebook discovers 100 new apps with inappropriate API access to Groups data
Uber’s robocar killed a pedestrian because the software had no idea what was going on
Microsoft’s ARM based Surface Pro X kinda sucks due to the total lack of native software
Cheap Nokia & Samsung smartphones, Canon EOS R, iPhone 11, Sony XM3 headphones, Amazon Echo & Echo Spot, Nintendo LABO, Silicon Power NVMe SSDs, Blitzwolf QC4/USB-PD charger
Two former Twitter employees have been charged by the US DoJ with spying for Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Abouammo is alleged to have "spied on the accounts of three users - including one whose posts discussed the inner workings of the Saudi leadership - on behalf of the government in Riyadh" as well as "falsifying an invoice to obstruct an FBI investigation". Ali Alzabarah is the other employee charged, who allegedly accessed "the personal information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts in 2015 on behalf of Saudi Arabia. One of those accounts belonged to a prominent dissident, Omar Abdulaziz", who was an associate of assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Yeah. Not much else to say, is there?
Oh look, Facebook found another 100 developers that had "extra" access to API features relating to Groups. According to Facebook’s blog post, "some apps retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity" - meaning if an admin of a group gave permission to one of these apps for say, making it easier to share videos a groups (one of the scenarios Facebook provides for why someone would connect an app to a group), the app developer would get full access to view everyone's details and posts in that group. I bet the group members weren't told these apps had access to everything they're posting. This is the exact thing Facebook got fined US$5b for by the FTC, yet they're still finding these remnant apps with API access on a regular basis. It's pathetic.
New details relating to the murder of Elaine Herzberg by one of Uber's Arizona robocars have been made public via the NTSB's report into the incident. In a 5 second window between when the car first noticed Elaine and when it made impact with her, Uber's software kept switching between "other", "vehicle", "unknown" and "bicycle" and didn't know what to do. At no point did it detect her as a pedestrian. Because the system couldn't tell what type of object she was, the car acted as if she wasn't moving and kept on driving. To make matters worse, Volvo's built-in emergency braking system was disabled as it interfered with the radars on Uber's hardware. If it was left enabled, chances are Elaine would be alive today. Amazing carelessness from Uber.
Reviews of the Microsoft Surface Pro X are now live (The Verge’s is best until Anandtech uploads theirs IMHO). Consensus seems to be that the device itself is awesomely built, looks great and the 3:2 aspect ratio screen is a delight. But the ARM app environment on Windows is rough around the edges. Basically any app compiled for ARM works well, very well, however there's so few of those apps around (Microsoft Office isn't even compiled for ARM), you're going to be using x86 emulation often. It's okay for 32-bit apps, but 64-bit apps just won't run at all. Battery life isn't even that much better than the Surface Pro to justify the software pitfall. If Microsoft can get their act together and more ARM Windows apps come out, it'll be sweet. Until then the Surface Pro X is probably not worth it.
Nokia 4.2 smartphone - $199.20 at JB Hi-Fi
Nokia 6.2 smartphone - $319.20 also at JB Hi-Fi
Canon EOS R camera body only - $2159.20 on Amazon AU (use Cashrewards to get 3.5% back)
iPhone 11 64GB - $1099 via Big W's eBay store
Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless NC headphones - $325 delivered from The Real Deal
Samsung Galaxy S10e 128GB - $679 refurb from Phonebot
Amazon Echo Spot - $49 from Officeworks or The Good Guys
Nintendo LABO Variety Kit/Robot Kit - $47/$45.62 from Amazon AU
Silicon Power 512GB/1TB P34A60 NVMe PCIe SSD - $97/$158 from Amazon AU
BlitzWolf BW-S12 27W QC4+ USB-C PD charger with AU plug - $18 from Banggood
🎶 Black Moon - Screaming Females
😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.
The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.