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Issue 1192 - Monday, August 24, 2020

In This Issue


News

Apple’s eagerness to extract 30% from WordPress caused a stir over the weekend

A few weeks ago Apple told WordPress to implement in-app purchases in their iOS app or get turfed off the store. Confused as to the sudden shakedown for a slice of his business, Matt Mullenweg put out a few tweets explaining why the app hasn’t been updated in a while, which went viral and a day later resulted in Apple revealing what upset them – a mention of paid plans buried deep in a web view of generic support documentation. WordPress removed it and Apple was happy, apologising for “any confusion that we have caused”. Those EU regulations around how app stores must treat developers can’t go worldwide soon enough.

Big Aussie tech companies ask the government for more support during COVID-19

Some of Australia’s largest tech businesses like Atlassian, Culture Amp, Canva and more have signed a letter asking the government to help the local tech industry help Australia out of the COVID-19 economic hole. The letter is mostly about postponing proposed reform to the Research and Development Tax Incentive (RDTI) that would mean almost $2b fewer tax dollars going to tech companies. They argue that the tech industry is a “high growth, job-creating sector” and that “now is not the time to reduce the level of Government support for R&D in Australia, which already lags behind peer OECD nations in this respect”.

Facebook are cowards ruining society one blind eye at a time

Lots of Facebook being fuckwits news today. Their independent fact-checkers, a system designed to reduce claims of bias in Facebook’s moderation, have actually been successfully pressured many times in the US to change their decisions when a politician whinges. A Cambodian Buddhist monk is currently in exile after the Cambodian government “repeatedly used falsified Facebook posts or manipulated audio to defame and imprison politicians, activists and other human rights defenders”. Facebook has done as little as possible about it. Ditto in India’s latest election, where Facebook executives turned a blind eye to politicians saying crazy shit like “openly calling for shooting Rohingya Muslims on sight” for fear of suffering business consequences after the election. Finally, Zuck is probably the guy that got it into Trump’s head that TikTok is bad, telling him in a private dinner how “Chinese internet companies threaten American business”.


Not News

Handy things you can do with little effort and a cheap VPS

Low End Box has been re-vitalised lately (new owners I think) and as a result, has been on a streak of posting tutorials on nifty things you can do with the cheap virtual private servers they promote. There’s a guide on making a WireGuard VPN using a script in under a minute that when combined with $20-$30/yr servers all over the world make for a more private alternative to paying someone like NordVPN or PIA. This guide for using Google Authenticator as 2FA for password based SSH login is in my opinion a much more user friendly alternative to SSH key based authentication. With a slightly less low-end box, you can set up a low latency remote desktop in the cloud with Guacamole, Nginx, the xfce4 desktop GUI, Firefox, VNC and Let’s Encrypt. Not sure what to use that for exactly but it sounds handy. I reckon I would have loved that back in high school or even uni.


Bargains


Wolf Like Me – Local H

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.​

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