Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Quite the bit of police work that: In one of the most remarkable digital policing operations ever seen, the Australian Federal Police in conjunction with America’s FBI managed to essentially run an encrypted messaging app for criminals, collecting masses of information and evidence over years before a massive worldwide sting broke up mafia and gang operations. Operation Ironside was a dazzlingly bold concept – literally running the app the criminals used to communicate in real time. It has led to thousands of arrests across the world in everything from drugs to human trafficking. Expect the movie in 2022.
Taking the ‘Distribution’ out of CDN: Things weren’t running quite so smoothly last night for many major websites, unfortunately, with Content Distribution Network Fastly having a major outage. CDNs help big websites run close to wherever their users are around the world, but in this case when something goes wrong it means no one can access the services that the CDN supports. Everything from Amazon to Reddit, BBC to Buzzfeed, disappeared behind a 503 error for two hours. An eternity in Internet time.
NBN ‘fair use’ rules heading to a clearer set of guidelines? Moving to another network with a poor reputation for uptime, the NBN is working to clarify the way ‘fair use’ rules are managed on the network. Users are already subject to potential removal from the network for abusing ‘unlimited’ download limits, but the rules have always been managed under vague terms like “inappropriate and excessive” use. According to iTnews, the new move aims to build clearer rules that focus on activities like unauthorised stress testing or volume testing, and NBN is set to call for the industry to build a consensus on the rules for how to both identify and remedy such problems.
More WWDC picks: Apple’s developer conference continues through this week, with more new features being spotted amongst the many updates on show for its app developer community. One we missed yesterday is an API to make it easier for app makers to perform object capture for augmented reality, with tools to quickly and effectively turn a series of photographs of a real world object into a 3D model.
In audio technology, Apple is also aiming to make it easier for apps to include audio recognition technology, and not just on Apple’s own platforms. You might already know the Shazam app that can identify songs by listening to something playing near you. Apple has owned Shazam since 2018, and is opening up the Shazam backend technology for third-parties, including those creating apps for Android.
Playdate gets a date (and more): An exciting update was announced overnight to the intriguing handheld game console Playdate. The retro-style monochrome handheld with a crank on the side has been in the works for years, and is set to be up for pre-orders in July for US$179. But the big news was a free no-code tool for making games for the platform called Pulp. Via a web browser anyone can put together graphics, sound, animations and scripts to create real games for the Playdate. A great way to ensure game making is accessible and creative for this weird little platform.
Delving deeper: In bigger games news, the first part of Minecraft’s massive Cliffs and Caves update has gone live in the game, adding new underground environments for fans to explore. New creatures, new blocks, new light sources, new things to make fans run the latest update and make their world feel fresh all over again. Meanwhile in Fortnite, Season 7 begins today and I feel like Season 6 just started last week so if you want to get in on the alien invasion action happening over there, it’s now happening and you can get everything from Superman to Rick Sanchez skins this time around.
Thanks to the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online Blackwood expansion (June 8) we have the official ‘Hot Sauce of Oblivion’ to giveaway! We have FOUR bottles to giveaway, so get in there!
The price for Ubers, scooters and Airbnb rentals is going up as tech companies aim for profitability.
The livestreaming platform for gamers helped pioneer the patronage systems that prop up so much of the internet today.
There is an opportunity for ad-supported streamers to edge into subscription-based services’ share of audiences’ attentions.
It’s been too long but the Byteside podcast is back for a catch up on what we’ve been watching and playing, plus WWDC and the Fastly mess.
On this day...
1948: The International Council of Archives was formed by UNESCO. Seriously, archivists are the essence of the modern world.
Where in the world can you find the oldest tree alive?
Yesterday’s answer: Herbert George
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