Japan's lunar transformer is the cutest space mission yet
Japan sending a cute transforming ball bot to the moon, Have I Been Pwned going open source, a Google privacy mess and lots more.
More pwned than ever
The amazing service that lets you check if accounts related to your email address have ever been compromised, Have I Been Pwned, is moving to an open source model to allow for greater collaboration with the wider cybersecurity industry. Created by Australian Troy Hunt and managed largely on his own since inception, the changes are allowing organisations like America's FBI to add its discoveries to the database to allow for greater transparency of who and what has been compromised. If you don't already have the website bookmarked, you really should. It's a handy way to show people just how many times their personal details have already leaked to the darker parts of the internet.
Cops ink first Starlink deal
The NSW Police Force has announced it is Australia's first enterprise customer of the SpaceX Starlink satellite broadband service. Starlink launched in Australia very recently and offers speeds between 50 and 150Mbps, faster than NBN Skymuster satellite services. The initial rollout in Australia covers Victoria and the southern regions of NSW. iTnews reports that the NSW police deal may include mobile use in a new concept police vehicle design.
Don't mention the (privacy) war
In a court case in the USA, documents have revealed just how overtly Google has tried to make privacy settings difficult for users to access. The Arizona attorney general sued Google last year over illegal location data collection, and internal documents discovered during the case show the company viewed the use of privacy settings as a "problem", and that led to moving settings deeper into the system settings to make them harder to find. The documents also suggest Google also pressured Android partners to keep these privacy settings as concealed from users as possible. In one quote a Google staffer says: "So there is no way to give a third party app your location and not Google? This doesn't sound like something we would want on the front page of the New York Times."
Lazier can be faster
Transforming robot heads to the moon - for science
In science, Japan has announced it plans to send a robot to the moon and in true Japanese style it is sending a transformer. The cute robot was designed by the Japanese space agency JAXA along with input from Sony and toy-maker Tomy, with a ball-shaped robot for easy transport that will then pop open to allow a camera system to take pictures of the lunar surface for soil analysis. Here's hoping the toy version won't be too far behind the official mission.
A curious show
On the red planet, NASA's Curiosity rover has captured images of a rare cloud cover event on Mars, making for some weirdly familiar photos. Analysis suggests the clouds were very high up in the Martian atmosphere and were likely made of carbon dioxide ice crystals – think dry ice floating in the sky.
Sentinels take first crown
Finally, in esports, the Valorant Masters tournament wrapped up overnight, the first major tournament for the game, and America's Sentinels defeated Europe's Fnatic in the final. The game also got its first sense of story, with the release of a Valorant lore cinematic to give players and fans more of a sense of the world these characters are killing each other in.
Inside Acer’s ambitious and wonderfully messy plans for 2021
Good chat with the CEO that reminds me of why I really love the Taiwanese manufacturers – they're often really open to exploring crazy and interesting form factors in the open, and they don't mind if some ideas don't stick. But by showing the world the cool weird stuff it helps push things forward faster.
Google promises not to build itself privacy sandbox ‘backdoors,’ but advertisers are skeptical
Google may not be opening a proverbial backdoor for itself, but it still owns the house.
Apple has a long lead in wearables
A good deep dive on the many reasons why Apple made the right bets early around its Watch. It wasn't perfect, but its competitors bet on other angles that didn't work out, and now Apple has a huge lead in a space that will become bigger in the years ahead.
Own the Internet: A bull case for Ethereum
A good primer on why Ethereum is so much more than a 'cryptocurrency'. With its recent announce of a shift in processing that will reduce its power consumption dramatically, it's worth grasping what a platform like this can do.
Essays on Empathy and how Deconstructeam rediscovered its love for making games
We need more short videogames in the world. We chat to Jordi de Paco from Deconstructeam on their devotion to making them, and go to some very raw discussions of pushing too hard with work and needing to reset and rediscover the joy again.
On this day...
1991: The Sega Mega Drive version of Zero Wing hits stores. Poor translations of its introductory cutscene in the European version gifted the world the classic "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" meme.
When Nicolas Coppola took the stage name 'Nic Cage', what inspired his choice of surname?
Friday's answer: 2015