The Sizzle - Issue 883

Thursday 23rd May, 2019

In This Issue

  • Huawei shut out from ARM’s products due to US trade ban

  • Amazon shareholders vote to continue selling facial recognition software to law enforcement

  • Australia’s child support payment IT system is still garbage

  • FTC busts Qualcomm for dirty business tactics that increased the price of its gear

  • Ireland begins investigation of Google’s non-compliance with the GDPR

  • Panic and Teenage Engineering have made a cute little handheld gaming device

  • Use DockSTARTer to quickly fill your Linux server full of self-hosted apps

  • I got all nostalgic watching this Mac G4 Cube tear down video


News

Huawei shut out from ARM’s products due to US trade ban

ARM is the latest company to suspend working with Huawei due to US trade bans. I don't know why exactly, as ARM is based in the UK and is owned by Softbank, a Japanese business, but employees at ARM were told not to "provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters with Huawei, HiSilicon or any of the other named entities". Without ARM's instruction set, Huawei can't develop new SoCs, which not only impacts its smartphone business, but networking gear too.

Amazon shareholders vote to continue selling facial recognition software to law enforcement

Amazon employees have been begging their bosses to quit selling facial recognition gear to governments and law enforcement, because it's too crappy to be used in situations where people can end up in jail. Management didn't listen to the workers (nothing new there), but a small group of shareholders picked up the cause and managed to get it on a shareholder's ballot that was voted on yesterday. It lost by a "wide margin", so Amazon will keep on making billions of dollars off tech that puts innocent people behind bars.

Australia’s child support payment IT system is still garbage

Last year, the federal government gave Deloitte over $1m to produce a report on Pluto, the Department of Human Services project to update Cuba, a system to handle the collection and disbursement of $1.5 billion in child support collect payments. Deloitte handed that report in today and said that "the current functionality is not fit for purpose to enable the Child Support business to perform and function effectively" and that despite 8 years and $100m already being spent, "significant investment" would be needed. What a shitshow.

FTC busts Qualcomm for dirty business tactics that increased the price of its gear

Apple and Qualcomm have settled their beef, but Qualcomm was still in trouble with the US Federal Trade Commission for multiple anti-competitive actions like not fairly licensing patents and forcing customers to exclusively use its modems by jacking up the royalties if they used a mix of Qualcomm's and a competitors chips in their products. A judge agreed with the FTC's claims that Qualcomm abused its market power and now Qualcomm has to renegotiate all its modem chip agreements to ensure the terms are fair, make its patents fairly available to those who ask and a bunch of other stuff including a 7 year FTC monitoring period.

Ireland begins investigation of Google’s non-compliance with the GDPR

Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner has opened an inquiry into Google after complaints from the public that Google isn't complying to the GDPR. One of those complainants is Brave (who develop a privacy focused web browser), who reckon "when a person visits a website, intimate personal data that describes them and what they are doing online is broadcast to tens or hundreds of companies without their knowledge in order to auction and place targeted adverts" - which goes against parts of the EU's GDPR. Heaps of US tech companies have their EU HQs in Ireland, so the results of this investigation will be very interesting.

Not News, But Still Cool

Panic and Teenage Engineering have made a cute little handheld gaming device

Teenage Engineering and Panic have teamed up to make the Playdate, a handheld gaming system. It's pretty damn weird, with a crank handle on the side that isn't for powering the device, but for interacting with the games, which are all in black and white. They're keeping the games secret so there's no video demos of em, but the Playdate itself will cost US$149 and 12 games are included in "Season One" when it all ships in early 2020. I love that Panic are doing this more than the actual device itself. I hope someone I know buys one I can try it out.

Use DockSTARTer to quickly fill your Linux server full of self-hosted apps

DockSTARTer is a really easy way to install some common self-hosted stuff like Plex or Sabnzbd (here's a full list) on Linux. Just add the DockSTARTer repo to your package manager, install it, and then selected the additional apps you want from a menu. You kinda have to trust that the apps you're installing haven't been tampered with as they're pre-configured by DockSTARTer, and sometimes there can be port conflicts if you've got multiple services that decide to use port 8080 (for example). But other than that, it makes setting up a home service a piece of cake.

I got all nostalgic watching this Mac G4 Cube tear down video

EEVblog has torn down an Apple G4 Cube. This is the computer that made me give a rats arse about Apple as a 16 year old. I was in year 10, doing work experience at a joint called Choice Connections and my boss was watching the MacWorld keynote where the Cube was announced and I was like "what the hell is that?". The Cube is still a cool looking computer to this day. I never owned one, but if I was the kind of person to spend money on collectable things (I'm not), I would find a G4 Cube with the matching LCD and speakers and leave it on a shelf to gather dust.


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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.​