Issue 1415 - Monday 26th July, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Uber given slap on wrist by Privacy Commissioner for data breach

After a 3 and a half year investigation, the Privacy Commissioner has determined that Uber breached the privacy of 1.2m Australians. The breach occurred in 2016 after hackers got the AWS credentials of an Uber employee and downloaded the data of 57 million users, 1.2m of which are Australian. Uber paid the hackers US$100,000 via their bug bounty program to shut up about the breach, even though no bug was really found. The Privacy Commissioner told Uber to "prepare, implement and maintain a data retention and destruction policy, an information security program, and incident response plan that complies with Australian privacy law". Sounds like Uber got off lightly.

Alphabet tries again with new robot startup, Intrinsic

Alphabet has a new business to go alongside Google, Waymo, Wing and the dozen or so others you've never heard of - Intrinsic. This new company is all about robotics. The CEO, Wendy Tan-White, says that Intrinsic "has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications" and wants to "unlock the creative and economic potential of industrial robotics for millions more businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers". Alright then, good luck and god speed.

ARM found a way to make super cheap and flexible microcontrollers out of plastic

ARM has found a way to make a microcontroller "printed onto a plastic substrate, just as a printer deposits ink on paper" instead of silicon. They call it PlasticArm. The M0 isn't a powerhouse with "only" 128 bytes of RAM and 456 bytes of ROM that operates at 20-29kHz (not MHz!), but it is a 32-bit ARM chip that could "allow some amount of programmability in packaging, clothing, medical bandages, and others". You know those RFID tags on packaging? Imagine if there was a CPU in there too. It's still a bit of a research project, but this is sci-fi territory stuff.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Mark Zuckerberg really wants Facebook to create the metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg did interview with Casey Newton over at The Verge and it's pretty interesting to hear how the big dog sees Facebook's future. Zuck wants his monster to create the "metaverse", a word first coined in the book Snow Crash, where "humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world". Zuck sees it as a "successor to the mobile internet" that multiple companies will build on, with Facebook obviously playing a huge role in it, saying over the next 5 years "we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company". You should listen to/read the interview for yourself, but the impression I got is that Zuck watched or read Ready Player One and wants to make it happen.


The End

📻 Germs Burn - Thurston Moore

😎 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.

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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.​