The Sizzle

Issue 418 - Wednesday, 21st June 2017


Uber's CEO has quit, but will remain on board
Travis Kalanick, Uber's ratbag CEO, has resigned, at the request of five of Uber's major investors. He'll still be on the board though. "I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight", Kalanick said in a statement. Maybe now the culture of the joint will improve and it can be a shining light for other startups to realise they can't act like sausage factories and bullshit machines and justify it because they feel like they're working on something important that isn't actually that important. I wonder who they'll get to be CEO? Marissa Mayer has a bit of free time these days.

Aussie kids probably overdoing it when it comes to screen time
The latest Australian Child Health Poll has revealed that "a third of preschoolers and two-thirds of primary school-aged children own smartphones or tablets – and 50% of them are using them unsupervised". Kiddies love those touch screens! Other interesting technology related factoids from the poll: 2/3rd of families reported family conflict relating to screen time use, teenagers spend 44 hours week using screen-based devices (more than a full time job!), and that the more a parent uses their devices, the more likely their kids are too. The director of the poll said that all this screen time has little evidence of boosting child development, but does have evidence of "sleep difficulties, problems related to unhealthy weight gain and then difficulties with social and emotional wellbeing". Well there you go, throw your phones in the bin and set fire to your computer.

NTSB hands down details Tesla Autopilot fatailty report
Remember the poor guy who drove into the back of a semi-trailer whilst using Tesla's Autopilot feature? The NTSB's final report into the accident was handed down yesterday. The 500-page report said that he ignored 7 warnings about not having his hands on the wheel, yet despite ignoring them, the car didn't slow down or stop. It also said that the "truck should have been visible to Brown for at least seven seconds before impact" and that the drier "took no braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision". Also slightly concern is that the NTSBN were unable to get independent info out of the Tesla's on-board computers - they had to reply purely on what Tesla gave them. There's no reason to think Tesla would hide of fudge any data, but if that trend continues, who knows if other car manufacturers wouldn't do that to cover their arse?

OnePlus 5 is a cheap Android smartphone full of the latest hardware
OnePlus has a new phone that looks identical to the iPhone 7. Like, an exact, shameless copy, but with a headphone jack and no camera bump. They really want you to know it has a headphone jack. Anyways, the OnePlus 5 is everything you expect in a top end Android phone - Snapdragon 835 SoC, 6GB/64GB and 8GB/128GB UFS2.1 RAM and storage options (fuck me, 8GB RAM?), 3300mAh battery, 5.5" 1080p AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 5 and to top it all off, a full RGB notification light that is fully customisable. It's even got dual SIM capability, Bluetooth 5 and NFC. It still uses Oxygen OS, which is one of the nicer stock-ish Android ROMs out there. The dual camera system on it is pretty high end, but the output seems a bit shitty in these sample photos from DP Review. Pre-orders begin on the 27th (no AU shipping, gotta go via a grey market reseller) and the 8GB RAM model will sell for US$539.

Twitch is now your one stop shop for Blizzard e-sports viewing
Twitch has managed to snag the exclusive rights to stream Blizzard's popular e-sports events. Official tournaments for games such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft and StarCraft can now only be seen on Twitch (who are owned by Amazon, remember) or Blizzard's own platforms - no YouTube, no Facebook. 20 such events will be streamed over the next 2 years. Thanks to the deal, Twitch subscribers will get cool bonus items (aka Golden Loot Boxes, oooh), just to make sure you remember to watch all your e-sports on Twitch, not those other filthy platforms. Pretty much like how if you wanna watch the footy properly, you've got to get Foxtel. Same shit with Twitch and Blizzard.


Apple has a leak about how it stops leaks
I usually don't like linking to stuff I haven't read, but story is too good not to link to, despite not having had the time to read it all. The Outline has a feature story about how Apple tries to protect its upcoming products from being leaked. Someone leaked (hahaha) a bunch of videos where Apple's security team gives Apple employees some gentle direction on how to talk about the things they work on and what the consequences are if they're caught, with a little bit of gentle intimidation via stories of what's happened to previous leakers. Apparently they've sewn the lips of the supply chain so tightly now, that most of the Apple related leaks we manage to read end up being from people within Apple.

Microsoft's new Surface keyboard has a hidden fingerprint reader
Microsoft has a new keyboard with a built-in hidden fingerprint reader. The "Modern Keyboard" looks just like the Surface Studio's keyboard, but under a key between Alt and the right-click impersonator key (dunno what it's called) is a button with a finger print on it that reads your fingerprint and looks just like the other keys. It's US$129.99, but not out just yet. Come on Apple, integrate Touch ID into a desktop Mac's keyboard already, carrrnnn. Carrrrnnnnnnnnnnn.

As GPUs get faster, your strong password probably isn't so strong now
Jeff Attwood has another fascinating blog post, this time trying to get the passwords out of the forums he runs, in order to try and beat the hackers at their own game. He downloaded the database, took the password hashes and salts, gave em to a security researcher who then ran them through hashcat. On a single GTX1080 Ti GPU, he was able to get 39 passwords out of almost 12,000 hashes. The rate was relatively low because the forum software has a strong encryption method and strong password requirements. But if you were to get 8x GTX1080 Ti GPUs in a single box, you'd be able to get 5% of a forum's passwords in just 3 weeks. Suddenly your strong minimum password requirements aren't so strong, are they?

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!