In This Issue


Potential denial of service attack patched in latest version of COVIDSafe

COVIDSafe got an update in the last 24 hours that fixed a particularly nasty bug discovered by Richard Nelson. "When devices running the app encountered a device advertising a malformed Bluetooth manufacturer identifier, the app would repeatedly crash until it was out of range of the attacker and restarted". Imagine the shitshow a bored kid could have created if that wasn't patched quickly! The update also added an option to make the persistent notifications optional. I can't find that option on my phone, but it's there somewhere. Finally, the defence minister admitted what we all knew - states are using health advice as the premise for lifting restrictions, "not based on the number of people who have downloaded the app".

TikTok still not verifying underage users and still not transparent about the data they collect on users

TikTok's copping heat from various child and digital rights groups for not abiding by an agreement they reached with the USA's Federal Trade Commission. Apparently a year after TikTok was fined a few measly millions and said they'd implement changes, they still aren't receiving parental consent for data it collects on children and has no way for parents to delete any data it collects on children - a violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). TikTok was also supposed to remove videos and personal details of accounts it couldn't verify not to be under the age of 13, but there's still heaps of accounts, some with many followers that TikTok hasn't done anything about. Monetising the activity of children is grubby at the best of times, but getting busted, saying you'll fix it, then doing nothing is just a middle finger to regulators.

Ampere is Nvidia’s new computational beast of a GPU architecture

Nvidia announced a new GPU architecture - Ampere. It follows in the footsteps of Volta and Pascal as the core for basically all their products. There's nothing to see here for gamers (rumour is consumer/gaming variants of Ampere will be released in August), but if you're into GPU computation (stuff like machine learning/AI, video encoding and just brute force data crunching) you might be interested to know what Nvidia has in store for you. Nvidia reckons its a "20x generation leap" compared to Volta GPUs, but that's in a very specific type of number format that I don't understand. If things like bfloat16 and TF32 mean something to you, you're in for a treat. They've already started shipping Ampere GPUs select customers (i.e: research labs) and if you have to ask how much they cost, you can't afford them.

Not News

Got old books or magazines you want digitised? Give them to me and I’ll add them to the Internet Archive!

I gave a presentation last night to the folks at Cocoaheads Melbourne about my antics scanning old magazines and uploading them to the Internet Archive. It's on YouTube if you're keen and I've blogged about most of what I've learned over at You can read about my scanning workflow, my investigation into offsite backups for the stuff I scan and how much I hate LTO tapes. They're very bad. There's probably a few packrats subscribed to the Sizzle, so if you have old books, brochures, magazines or anything really related to technology or computers that you think would be useful to scan and pop online, please let me know! I'll happily come around and take them off your hands so they're preserved for generations to come on the Internet Archive. Even if you're interstate, get in touch. Soon as COVID-19 eases up it would be great to do a road trip collecting material.


🎶 Pace It - Jebediah

😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

📡 Aussie Broadband is the best ISP I've used since Internode's glory days. Their CEO gives talks at AUSNOG about their network and they even have network utilisation charts for every NBN POI. Their pricing isn't the cheapest, but if you want an ISP that's fast & reliable, give them a shot. Use my affiliate link or my referral code (1001031) and we both get $50 credit on our next bill.

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.​