The Sizzle - Issue 881

Tuesday 21st May, 2019

In This Issue

  • Huawei given an extra 90 days to support existing US

  • AFP bust a bloke mining cryptocurrency on government computers

  • Google Glass is still a thing and got updated today

  • NAB customers can use Apple Pay at last

  • Contact details of millions of Instagram influencers leak

  • Save your Raspberry Pi’s SD card by limiting logging

  • The IndieWeb sounds interesting if you want to escape the social media ratrace

  • Cheap Optus SIM-only plan, LIFX Mini White, Bose QC35 II, DJI Spark, Nokia 3310


News

Huawei given an extra 90 days to support existing US customers

The US government has given Huawei a temporary 90-day license to "provide service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16, 2019" - I can only assume that when this 90-day license expires, Huawei devices will be left stranded in regards to updates, even though stuff like the Google Play Store might still work. I reckon Huawei will soon stop selling smartphones in markets where the Google Play Store is the dominate app delivery method. Making their own app store is easy, but getting developers to make apps for it? Ask Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung how their attempts went.

AFP bust a bloke mining cryptocurrency on government computers

I'm sure many of you working in IT have seen loads of computers sitting idle most of time and thought "hmm, I could install some cryptocurrency mining software on these machines!". A 33-year old Sydney IT contractor working for the federal government (article doesn't say which department) decided to do just that, but got busted by the AFP and charged with "unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment and unauthorised modification of restricted data". All he got for his efforts was $9000. A perfect example of not shitting where you eat.

Google Glass is still a thing and got updated today

Remember Google Glass? Google pivoted it from Glassholes to an aid for workers that would benefit from hands-free access to a computer, such as those working in manufacturing, logistics and field services. It's still a thing and was updated today with new hardware. Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 costs US$999 and now has a bigger battery, faster SoC, more RAM and the option of safety frames - pretty important for the industrial and engineering uses Google is pitching this thing for. If you want one of these, too bad - it's only for enterprise users and is deployed with custom made software specific for the customer.

NAB customers can use Apple Pay at last

NAB finally implemented Apple Pay. You can grab your NAB issued Visa card (both credit and debit - I just added my NAB Visa debit card) and use it just like every other Apple Pay card on your iPhone or Apple Watch. NAB, along with a few other banks fought long and hard against Apple, all the way to the ACCC, saying the cut Apple wanted wasn't fair. But now Commonwealth Bank, Bendigo Bank and NAB all have it. Westpac is the final holdout and if you've seen Westpac's internet banking setup, it's probably because it's from 1998 and integration with Apple Pay is impossible, rather than Westpac wanting to keep treating its customers like mushrooms.

Contact details of millions of Instagram influencers leak

Security researcher Anurag Sen found an AWS database belonging to Chtrbox (a Mumbai-based marketing company that specialises in social media) wide open to the public, containing "contact information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts". TechCrunch called a few of the people in the database and was able to confirm they were the legit phone numbers of "prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers". Just another case of poor security and a high level of contempt for the sanctity of user data.

Not News, But Still Cool

Save your Raspberry Pi’s SD card by limiting logging

One of the most common causes of something running on Raspberry Pis or other single board computers (SBCs) shitting itself is the flash based storage dying after just a few months. The operating system running on these devices logs all manner of crap, constantly, wearing out the SD card that's got a certain amount of write cycles on it. You can get "industrial" SD cards, but you can also just slow down or modify the logging process so less writes take place. Log2RAM is a nice and easy way to write log files to RAM, and write them to disk every hour or at shutdown instead, saving stress on the SD card.

The IndieWeb sounds interesting

Leigh Price (hello mate) sent me this New Yorker article about the IndieWeb, which sounds to me like a bunch of nerds who remember an internet before social media, leading a new group of nerds who don't remember a time before social media, into rebelling against Facebook, Google, Twitter and other siloed, addictive and frankly tiresome social media services. These people subscribe to the POSSE theory - "Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere". I love the sound of it and it basically boils down to running your own website instead of relying on someone else's platform for your creative and business output and then sharing that content in de-centralised places instead of one or two mega ones like Facebook or Twitter.

Cheap Optus SIM-only plan, LIFX Mini White, Bose QC35 II, DJI Spark, Nokia 3310

  • Optus has a special Click Frenzy SIM-only plan deal, with 80GB of data a month for just $40.

  • LIFX Mini White 800lm wi-fi smart LED bulb (B22 & E27 fittings) - $29.99 at Bunnings.

  • Bose QC35 II noise cancelling headphones are $317.70 from Videopro for eBay Plus members.

  • Australian Geographic has DJI Spark drones for $427.71, cheapest I've seen it.

  • Those retro Nokia 3310s are just $39 at Big W if you want a shitphone for weekends or when socialising or whatever.


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😁 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.​