TLDR 2022-01-26

Netflix for drinks 🥤, Google Topics API, hacking Apple's webcam 💻

Elastic Community Conference: Free Tech Event — Sign Up and Win a T-Shirt (Sponsor)

Elastic, the company behind Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash is hosting its annual community event on February 11–12. It will feature keynotes from founders, CEOs, and CTOs and stories and learnings from ELK, Elastic's observability, security, and search platform. Join us today!
Big Tech & Startups

Google abandons FLoC, introduces Topics API to replace tracking cookies (3 minute read)

Topics is Google's new method of showing advertisers which ads to serve to users. Its previous replacement for third-party cookies was heavily criticized and many browsers have refused to use it. The new Topics API identifies five user interests based on recent web activity and stores the information on the user's device for up to three weeks. Browsers will be able to view the topics and serve relevant ads to users without all the privacy concerns that cookies present. There is no information on when developer trials for Topics in Chrome will begin. Google has promised to replace third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023.

Nvidia is reportedly preparing to abandon its $40 billion takeover of Arm (2 minute read)

Nvidia is preparing to abandon its $40 billion acquisition of chip designer Arm. Regulators have sued to block the transaction on antitrust grounds and there are multiple other regulatory obstacles to overcome. SoftBank, who currently owns Arm, is still optimistic that the sale will go through. Nvidia is not expecting regulators to allow the deal to be finalized.
Science & Futuristic Technology

After 7 years, a spent Falcon 9 rocket stage is on course to hit the Moon (3 minute read)

In 2015, SpaceX launched NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory on a Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket's second stage didn't have enough fuel to return to Earth's atmosphere and it lacked the energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system, so it has been tumbling around in space for the last seven years. It is now on course to hit the far side of the Moon in early March. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, which are both currently orbiting the Moon, will be able to observe the impact crater. It will be the first time a piece of space hardware unintentionally strikes the Moon.

Cana Unveils Molecular Beverage Printer, a ‘Netflix for Drinks’ That Can Make Nearly Any Type of Beverage (3 minute read)

Cana has unveiled a drink machine that can synthesize almost any drink. The machine uses a cartridge that contains flavor compounds that can be combined to create the flavor of nearly any type of drink. It is about the size of a toaster and could potentially save people from throwing hundreds of containers away every month by allowing people to create whatever drinks they want at home. Around $30 million was spent building Cana’s proprietary hardware platform and chemistry system. Cana plans to start full production of the device and will release pricing by the end of February.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Datadog Monitoring and Security (Sponsor)

Datadog provides a powerful, easy to use observability and security platform. Try it out today.

Hacking the Apple Webcam (11 minute read)

This article describes a vulnerability within iCloud Sharing and Safari 15 that allowed hackers to gain unauthorized camera access on Macs. It details how the vulnerability was discovered and how the exploit was developed. The vulnerability demonstrated how a design flaw in one application can enable a variety of other bugs. All issues were patched in early 2022 and the author was awarded a $100,500 bounty.

systemd playground (Website)

This playground contains a basic systemd setup for developers to learn about systemd interactively in the browser. It hosts a stripped down version of systemd with everything that is not strictly necessary removed. A blog series with examples on how to use systemd is available.

Google Is Forcing Me to Dump a Perfectly Good Phone (5 minute read)

Google has stopped providing software updates to the Pixel 3, its flagship phone from just three years ago. The company claims that the three years of security and OS updates provided customers with a great experience. Lack of support for older devices has been a problem with Android since it was introduced. The planned obsolescence forces customers to either spend money on a new device or risk running a device without security updates. It also creates electronic waste. The most recent version of iOS can be installed on the iPhone 6s, making iPhones a more sustainable option.

Apple's AirTag uncovers a secret German intelligence agency (3 minute read)

A German researcher used an Apple AirTag to locate the offices of a German secret intelligence agency. The AirTag was sent to a telecommunications authority thought to be a front for the secret intelligence agency but it ended up in offices based in another part of the country. This proved a link between the telecommunications authority and the intelligence agency called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The German government has denied that the federal telecommunications service exists.
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