The Sizzle - Issue 1005

Thursday 14th November, 2019

In This Issue

  • New 16” Apple MacBook Pro now has a proper keyboard and physical ESC key

  • John Carmack is gonna work “Victorian Gentleman Scientist” style on artificial general intelligence

  • New report claims NSW’s iVote system was vulnerable to voter fraud during 2019 state election

  • An oral history of Limewire, where 80% of pirated music came from at its peak

  • Cheap Logitech X50 speaker, Yamaha RX-V385 amp, S5 Apple Watch, Google Pixel Stand, 7th-gen iPad, Google Pixel 4 Telstra plan, 10% off Macs at JB


News

New 16” Apple MacBook Pro now has a proper keyboard and physical ESC key

Apple held a private media event for a few Apple propaganda disseminators, sorry, journalists, to show them the new 16" MacBook Pro. It's like the previous MacBook Pro but with a slightly larger screen, all new keyboard with a scissor mechanism that's very similar to the Magic Keyboard 2, physical ESC key and proper arrow keys, the CPUs are modestly faster, 32GB of RAM is an option, much improved internal speakers, about 150g heavier, larger battery, newer AMD GPUs and the price went up a little because the AUD-USD exchange rate blows. The new MBP is on sale now and will ship in next week. Here's my mate Pete's take, who I think was the only Aussie that attended Apple’s NYC shindig, and he’s happy with the new MBP (but he’s a fucken weirdo that liked the old keyboard). Marco Arment was also given a 16” MBP to try out and he hated the old keyboard with a passion, but likes this new keyboard.

John Carmack is gonna work “Victorian Gentleman Scientist” style on artificial general intelligence

John Carmack, the legendary genius programmer that's been kept in a prison cell at Facebook working on VR stuff the last few years, is stepping down to be a "Consultant CTO" for Oculus so he can dedicate most of his time working on artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI for those unfamiliar, is "a machine that can understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can" according to Wikipedia. John plans to "be going about it Victorian Gentleman Scientist style, pursuing my inquiries from home, and drafting my son into the work". I guess if anyone can sit in his home office and come up with usable artificial general intelligence, it's John Carmack. Good luck to him and please watch the Terminator so we don't repeat the same mistakes they did with Skynet. I don't want to be cannon fodder in the meatbag vs. robot war.

New report claims NSW’s iVote system was vulnerable to voter fraud during 2019 state election

iVote is an online voting system used in NSW as an alternative to postal voting and weeks before the 2019 state election, a vulnerability in the Swiss implementation of iVote was made public. At the time the NSW electoral commission (NSWEC) said there's nothing to see here, but today Dr Vanessa Teague has published a new report about the flaw dismissing the NSWEC’s claim that the particular attack process doesn't apply to NSW's implementation, and that there was absolutely a way for someone nefarious to fiddle with votes during the election. There's no evidence this happened, but wouldn't it be nice if the code for iVote was open sourced so the job of scrutinising this piece of electoral infrastructure was easier?


Not News

An oral history of Limewire, where 80% of pirated music came from at its peak

MEL (a magazine, not the airport in Tullamarine) has a semi-interesting article about Limewire. It's a bit hard to follow as it's made up from multiple interviews over many years, but I like it because it takes me back to the early 2000s when downloading MP3s was a thing. Hardly anyone does it anymore because of things like Spotify and Apple Music being so easy, but back in the day most people's iPods were full of stuff scored from Limewire after Napster burned out. What struck me as weird was that Limewire started off as an actual business - Lime Group LLC. They sought from day one to make a buck off illegal downloads. That's kinda shitty if you ask me - giving someone else's work away for free is one thing, but trying to profit off it is a blatant dick move.


Bargains


🎶 Anthem for the Year 2000 - Silverchair

😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

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.​