Issue 1458 - Thursday 23rd September, 2021

There won't be an issue of The Sizzle sent out tomorrow because it's my favourite of all the public holidays - Friday before the AFL Grand Final. My beloved North Melbourne are not playing, but as a Son of the West - go the Dogs!

In Today's Issue

The News

Microsoft dumps a load of Surfacey goodness right on our heads and we love it

Microsoft dropped a bunch of Surface related goodies overnight. The Surface Pro 8 is a nice upgrade from the previous one (2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports!), but the Surface Go 3 and Surface Pro X are very mild updates. There's a new Surface Laptop Studio with a fancy sliding screen like its bigger desktop brother that'll likely replace the Surface Book as Microsoft's flagship laptop. The Surface Duo 2 got a big upgrade thanks to Microsoft shoving in a modern Snapdragon 888 SoC plus a fancy 3 camera setup, but the best news is that it'll go on sale in Australia late October (alas, for $2,300). The Verge has a hands on with the Surface Duo 2, which shows that thanks to the camera bump, you can't fold it open neatly, or use it on a table without wobbling.

Lithuania goes ham finding privacy issues in Chinese smartphones

The Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre did a deep dive into three popular Chinese smartphones on sale in their market (Huawei's P40 5G, Xiaomi's Mi 10T 5G, OnePlus' 8T 5G) and found that a bunch of default apps on the Xiaomi Mi 10T have the ability to filter content based on a remote blacklist. It's disabled by default on EU-region devices, but can be enabled remotely. If the phone finds phrases such as "Free Tibet", "Long live Taiwan's independence", "89 Democracy Movement" or 440+ other phrases within content in a certain range of apps (Mi Browser, Downloads, Themes, etc), it won't that content to the user. Arstechnica has an overview of the other dodgy stuff the Lithuanians found. Their full analysis is available as a PDF.

Facebook gives up negotiating new Australian media content

Facebook has given up negotiating content deals according to SBS and The Conversation, who were told by Facebook it has "now concluded" deals for content to include in Facebook News. Google did deals with smaller outlets, but Facebook isn't bothering now that the government is off their back. Remember, the revised media bargaining code got rid of the bits that forced Facebook and Google to negotiate because Google and Facebook did deals with the media companies government cared about. The law does gives the Treasurer the power to force Google and Facebook to force them if he reckons they're not co-operating, but then Facebook will turf the news again, the media companies will crack the shits and the government will have to back down again. A risk the Treasurer won't take for outlets like SBS and The Conversation.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Kids don't know what the hell a directory is and have no respect for file systems

Professors are apparently struggling with the fact that since around mid-2017, students have no concept of a computer file system. They reckon it's a combination of earlier teachers assuming kids knew this and never showing them, plus the fact they grew up with computers that abstracted away the file system, using search functionality to find what they want instead of knowing where they are. One student explains the data on his computer as a "laundry basket where you have everything kind of together, and you're just kind of pulling out what you need at any given time". This is so wild to me, but it makes sense. Why would you bother organising files on a computer when you can just use the search feature?


The End

📻 Hertz - Amyl and The Sniffers

😎 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.‚Äč