Issue 1522 - Monday 10th January, 2021

LinuxConfAU is back online this year (thanks COVID) and it starts on Friday! The Sizzle is a proud sponsor of this excellent conference, which despite its name, isn't necessarily only about Linux. Check out the schedule and you'll see a bunch of interesting topics that even if you don't use or care about Linux but love computers, you'll enjoy. Tickets are only $70, I'll see you there!

In Today's Issue

The News

Everything is going well with the James Webb Space Telescope

One of the news items I took interest in as we departed 2021 was the James Webb Space Telescope's launch. The 25 year, US$10b dollar project had a series of complicated unpacking steps once it reached space and I was legitimately nervous all that time and effort would evaporate should one of those steps not work. Today NASA delivers good news that everything has gone smoothly. This video shows the complex deployment sequence. You gotta hand it to the engineers for pulling this off. JWST is now on its way to "the second Lagrange point, commonly known as L2, nearly 1 million miles from Earth" where it'll spend 10-15 years sucking up infrared light that's billions of years old "with much higher resolution than ever before", "to study our own solar system as well as distant worlds".

Even the little anti-counterfeit chips on printer cartridges are in short supply

Due to the semiconductor shortage, Canon is selling ink cartridges for its printers without the chip that tells the printer if the cartridge is "genuine". Fortunately Canon isn't as militant as others (*cough* HP *cough*) with restricting use of non-official cartridges and simply displays a warning that is easily bypassed, but it is funny how after decades of scaring people with this message, their own cartridges are now impacted. Related and interesting, is this 2020 Australian High Court ruling against Epson who tried to sue Calidad (popular 3rd party cartridge maker) for infringing on their patents by refurbishing used cartridges, inspired by a US Supreme Court case between Lexmark and Impression Products.

Invest in lawsuits via the blockchain and cryptocurrency, what could go wrong!?

In today's I can't believe the cryptobros are doing this news, Ryval is going to "make the federal court system more accessible for all" by allowing regular punters like you and me to "buy and sell tokens that represent shares in a litigation and access a multi-billion dollar investment class previously unavailable to the public" with "50%+ annual returns". Sounds gross, but this isn't totally new. There's legal financing where investors fund legal costs for those who can't afford it and then recoup their funds (ideally more than they invested) out of any damages or settlements. Ryval is simply adding tokens on top to ride cryptocurrency hype and bypass regulations that restrict investing in lawsuits to "accredited" or "sophisticated" investors.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Moxie pops into web3, finds it's just a more complicated web2 with a shitload of money

Moxie Marlinspike (co-founder of Signal) has weighed in on Web3, the name for a growing movement to "decentralise" the internet using blockchain, but is associated with charlatans and scams. Moxie fiddled around with distributed apps and NFTs and found things like Ethereum are so complicated, that the vast majority of people will (and are) rely on platforms like OpenSea or Coinbase to use it - which is exactly how Gmail or Facebook or Slack work in making "web1" stuff easy to use for the mainstream. Nobody wants to run their own servers so this type of centralisation is inevitable. We (as in the nerds making/deploying/using this stuff) should be focused on "designing systems that can distribute trust without having to distribute infrastructure".


The End

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