The Truth: Fuselage Cracks in Boeing’s 737 NG, No Political Ads on Twitter, Hacker Uses Smart TV to Defraud Amazon Customer

Friday, 1 November 2019

Oh, look at that! It’s already Friday. The weekend is here! But wait, before you go, here’s a quick overview of the tech news from today.

Boeing is in trouble because of the 737 again. This time it isn’t the Max 8 model, but its predecessor, the 737 NG line. It’s developing cracks in the fuselage and several airlines have grounded their planes as a result of it. Forbes writes: “Earlier this month, U.S. regulators ordered the inspection of hundreds of 737 NG planes in the U.S. that had completed more than 30,000 takeoff and landings (or cycles), after the plane maker reported problems with its pickle fork –the section that attaches the main body of the plane to the wings. But the recently grounded Qantas plane had flown less than 27,000 miles, according to the airline, with none of its 737 NG planes had completed 30,000 cycles. The Federal Aviation Administration is now seeking to widen the number of 737 NGs being inspected.” According to Boeing, as quoted in an ABC report, “the cracks do not compromise safety”.

Apples AirPods Pro can’t be repaired at all, because of “Apple’s liberal use of alcohol-resistant adhesives, which makes it almost impossible to separate components without causing serious damage”. The company that continues to pat itself on the back in ads and press releases about how green their tech is apparently just doesn’t want you to repair anything. Better buy new stuff. More money for Apple. But hey, at least these earphones won’t come apart when you drop them in your beer, right?

Twitter is stopping all political ads on its platform. Permanently, world-wide. Apparently they don’t like money. I wonder what their shareholders think of this…

In case you hadn’t noticed: It’s earnings season. Today, it’s Samsung’s turn. They’re not doing so well. In Q3, their profits were down 56%. Due to a “weakness in the memory chip market”, Samsung says. They still made $6.6 billion, though, so I guess they’re drying their tears with hundred dollar bills over there.

A guy on Reddit discovered that hackers are connecting smart TVs to other people’s Amazon accounts to purchase gift cards with the unsuspecting customer’s money. They then presumably sell the gift cards for cash. Apparently this is very hard to detect, even for Amazon, as non-Amazon devices attached to an Amazon account don’t show up in the customer’s settings or, indeed, in Amazon’s internal system. Why the hell Amazon lets people connect devices and then hides them, even from itself, is a mystery, it seems. The Register has the full story, if you’re interested.

“DeepMind’s AlphaStar AI bot has reached Grandmaster level at StarCraft II, a popular battle strategy computer game, after ranking within the top 0.15 per cent of players in an online league”, The Register reports.That means it’s better than 99.8% of all human players. Which, I guess, is about the level of a pro player of the game. It’s hard to say how representative these results are, though, as the AI only played a few hundred matches.

The developer of Notepad++, an open source text editor for Windows, has been pissing people off again. The release of version 7.8.1 of his software caused a Twitter shitstorm and denial of service attacks. Why? “Notepad++ v7.8.1 was designated the Free Uyghur edition, in reference to the predominantly Muslim ethnic group in western China that faces ongoing human rights violations and persecution at the hands of Beijing.” This isn’t the first time, either. “Previous politically-themed Notepad++ releases have focused on Tiananmen Square and the terrorist attack on French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.”

And that’s it for The Truth for this week. I’ll see you on Monday. Until then, I’ll leave you with a song from Disco Elysium, a video game I’ve been enjoying massively in the last few weeks. In the game, you’re a drunken, heartbroken wreck of a detective …and you can sing karaoke. If you do, here’s the song he sings: The Smallest Church in Saint-Saëns.

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