Weekly Update: 2020-01-19 to 2020-01-25

How Jeff Bezos’ iPhone X Was Hacked

The theory is a video sent via WhatsApp from Mohammed bin Salman (Saudi Crown Prince) contained malware that compromised his phone.

via nytimes

Wikipedia Now Has More Than 6 Million Articles in English

It really is hard to remember the internet before wikipedia. But you used to have to really dig around to find information, checking several sources and comparing the results. It is difficult to overstate the significance of wikipedia.

via slashdot

Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day, But a $30.4B Microsoft Puerto Rico Tax Dodge Was

The largest, by dollar amount, audit in the IRS history.

via slashdot

Librem 5 phone hands-on—Open source phone shows the cost of being different

I think I’ve said this before but my biggest beef with the librem 5 is the lack of any biometrics. The argument against them is that they are not protected in the US the same way a passphrase is, and you can be compelled by law enforcement to provide a fingerprint, etc. Personally I don’t care and I’m not willing to give up the convenience of biometrics for that additional security. It might seem like a minor quibble but I can’t imagine having to type in a password the dozens or hundreds of times a day I need to check my phone.

This TLDR is that we are still a long way from a real, usable product.

FCC Shuts New York Out of $20 Billion Broadband Fund, and Senators Are Angry

I guess at this point there’s no love lost between the Trump administration and the state of NY.

via slashdot

Wine 5.0 Released

I’m the most excited about multi-monitor support. Awesome!

Samsung Galaxy Fold review: The future is an ugly disappointment

The end product was an unmitigated disaster, but how they got to that point is a fascinating, albeit all too familiar, story about Chinese IP theft.

Check out the conclusion:

The Galaxy Fold is an exercise in how not to build a foldable smartphone. Developing a totally new form factor like this is something that requires careful consideration of how the hardware and software would work together, but Samsung seemed more concerned with being first to market than making a good product. The embarrassing, fumbled launch period wasn’t an aberration, the Fold is a start-to-finish rush job that can’t back up any of the hype. This is an aborted prototype that was rushed onto the market for rich suckers. Let us repeat: do not buy it.

via slashdot

Microsoft To Force Bing Search in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus Users

The "new" Microsoft is forcing user’s browser to use Bing as the default search engine.

via slashdot

Tesla Surges Past $100 Billion Market Value, Usurping VW

Always good to remember that Tesla is not ONLY an automobile manufacturer.

via slashdot

Microsoft Discloses Security Breach of Customer Support Database Containing 250 Million Records

Rough week for Microsoft.

via slashdot

Frontier, an ISP in 29 states, plans to file for bankruptcy

I’ve never heard a good thing about Frontier.

AR is the 'Next Big Thing', Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

via slashdot

Annual Global PC Shipments Grow For the First Time in 8 Years

Obviously driven solely by the end of support for Windows 7. I expect we’re headed into a very dark time for PC sales over the next 5-10 years.

via slashdot

How digital sleuths unravelled the mystery of Iran’s plane crash

Just a reminder that originally Iran tried to deny that it shot down the plane.

via wired

Vint Verf Response Regarding .Org Sale

I agree with a lot (but not all) of this. I think the most interesting takeaway for me was the lens through which they believe the sale was the right decision. Because "[…​] highly qualified financial advisors concluded that this was a transction in its interest […​] ." I realized that I was looking at it through a lens of what was best for .Org customers, not for PIR.

Microsoft To Replace Edge With Its Chromium Browser This Wednesday

It’s really hard to believe that given all Microsoft’s resources they would throw in the towel on maintaining their own browser engine. Maybe the future of "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" is by attempting to control probably the most crucial piece of web technology there is - the world’s most popular browser engine?

via slashdot

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

I feel like this is kind of making the rounds again. It’s more or less a "right to repair" debate between John Deere and tractor owners. Adding "ukranian firmware" certainly makes for quite a headline.

via vice

ICANN Wants to Let VeriSign Raise Prices on .Com Domains

Looks like someone got jealous over the PIR deal for .Org. How much, you ask?

VeriSign has released a "proposed agreement" with ICANN to amend their exclusive .com registry agreement to allow them to raise the price of dotcom registrations up to 28% every six years.

via slashdot


"No One But Us" - exploits that the NSA believe only they have, so they do not report to developers for patching.

via wikipedia

Advertising Makes Us Unhappy

It’s reassuring to know there is science behind my disdain for advertising.


Juhyo: The Snow Monsters on Japan’s Mount Zao

You really have to see the pictures to understand.