In This Issue


ASIO confirms it’s used the Assistance and Access Act to spy on someone

ASIO's boss delivered its Annual Threat Assessment last night and said that "ASIO has used the Assistance and Access Act to protect Australians from serious harm. We needed to take advantage of the new powers within 10 days of the legislation coming into effect – a clear indication of its significance to our mission. And I'm happy to report that the internet did not break as a result! The bottom line was this, these new powers helped ASIO prevent a real risk of injury to Australians". No idea what form of "assistance" was used and who on, but ASIO has gone about busting some form of previously secure comms. A transcript of the speech is on ASIO's website. It's basically what you expect - encryption makes it easy for terrorists to do bad things, there's some magical middle ground where we can spy on others whilst your comms are private (spoiler: there isn't) so if you don't want everyone you love to die you need do what we say.

Huawei announces products that were going to be announced at MWC but weren’t because of coronavirus

MWC 2020 would have been on right now if not for COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped Huawei from dumping a load of new gear. Huawei's foldable phone I was excited for until I saw how shit everyone else's folding phones were, got an update that makes the hinge more robust (shame about those plastic screens though). The MatePad Pro is a straight up clone of the iPad Pro but packs 5G and can wirelessly charge a smartphone. The MateBook X Pro looks like a very fancy laptop. A new flagship P40 smartphone wasn't announced at this event, but will be released March 26th in Paris. Slightly related, but Google clarified what the deal is with their software on Huawei's phones. Basically any Huawei devices made after May 16, 2019 are illegitimate bastards. Huawei has its own app store (called App Gallery) but it lacks most of the apps people outside of China want. Good luck selling the P40 outside of China without the Play Store.

New T-series Lenovo ThinkPads packing AMD’s latest mobile Ryzen CPUs

Lenovo has new variants of my favourite laptops, the T-series ThinkPads. Gone is the 400 naming structure (e.g: T470, T480, T490 etc), they're simply T14 (standard 14" screen, T14s (thinner 14" screen) and T15 (15" screen). Physically they look pretty damn identical to the previous generation T490/T590 but the new ones come with the option of AMD Ryzen Pro 4000 CPUs. These are AMD's new 7nm-based CPUs that are supposed to be as fast (or faster) than Intel's mobile CPUs whilst using the same or less power with the bonus of superior integrated graphics. I think this is the first time Intel's been beaten in the x86 laptop CPU segment? They'll go on sale Q2-2020, which I think is technically any day after April 1st. Very keen to see how that AMD Ryzen Pro 4000 goes in the real world.

Not News

Puffer is a really easy way to watch live USA free to air TV that I don’t think is supposed to work but does

If you ever need to watch local USA free to air TV for some reason, Puffer is the least hassle way to do it. A bunch of Stanford University boffins are experimenting with "using machine learning to improve video-streaming algorithms" and need people to watch their video to gather data to assist their algorithm. CBS (KPIX 5), NBC (KNTV 11), ABC (KGO 7), Fox (KTVU 2), PBS (KQED 9) and CW (KBCW 44) stream all day, every day and with no geoblocking. You have to tick a box saying you live in the USA, but it doesn't actually check if you're in the US. The quality is great too, full 1080p. Oh and a tip - it doesn't work in Safari.


🎶 Dead in a Ditch - Cosmic Psychos

😁 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.​