The Truth: Magic The Gathering Account Leak, Oracle vs. Google Going to the Supreme Court, Free Internet from Labour

Monday, 18 November 2019

Very late newsletter from me today, I know; I apologise. I’ve been on the road most of the day. Anyway, here it is.

It looks like Oko, Thief of Crowns has turned some database admins over at Wizards of the Coast into elks. They uploaded an unencrypted database with the online account information of 452,634 Magic The Gathering players to a public AWS bucket. Included in this are real names, email addresses, usernames and hashed (and salted) passwords. About 470 accounts seem to be associated with Wizards employees, judging by their email addresses. Some of these accounts date back to 2012, suggesting at least a number of them belong to Magic Online rather than Magic The Gathering Arena, although some accounts seem to be newer as well. Techcrunch, which is reporting on the incident, is saying Wizards believes “that this was an isolated incident and we have no reason to believe that any malicious use has been made of the data.” Wizards said they will notify the effected players. They’ve also banned Oko.

HP has turned down Xerox' takeover bid: “Our Board of Directors has reviewed and considered your unsolicited proposal dated November 5, 2019 at a meeting with our financial and legal advisors and has unanimously concluded that it significantly undervalues HP and is not in the best interests of HP shareholders.” They’re not entirely opposed to a merger, it seems; just not on those terms. In fact, HP’s letter also includes the following passage: “We recognize the potential benefits of consolidation, and we are open to exploring whether there is value to be created for HP shareholders through a potential combination with Xerox.”

Nvidia seems to be bouncing back from what The Register calls “the ill-conceived and costly error of doubling down on the crypto-market”. Turnover is down 5% year-over-year, but up 17% from the previous quarter. And notably it’s better than the stock market’s predictions. Unsurprisingly, this is mostly down to gamers. I’m kinda thinking the fact that the crypto guys bought so many GPUs that gamers were left in the lurch had something to do with the decreased sales. The moral of the story: Always know who your customers actually are.

The UK Labour party is saying it wants to give everyone in Britain free broadband internet access by 2030 if it wins the election. How are Corbyn and his mates planning to do this? By partly nationalising BT (and presumably renaming it back to British Telecom). Experts seem to think that this retro 1980s move would not go down well, The Register quoting an analyst as saying: “This is a spectacularly bad take by the Labour Party. The almost cut throat competition between broadband rivals has meant faster speeds, improved coverage and lower prices for consumers up and down the country. The current government, and independent regulator Ofcom, have spent the last three years incentivising alternative operators to BT to deploy faster fibre technologies. Companies such as Virgin, CityFibre and others have committed billions to rival Openreach. Those plans risk being shelved overnight. Only one other country in the world has come close to going down this route, and for a good reason – it’s hard, expensive and fraught with difficulty. Australia’s NBN is years late, massively over budget and offering speeds and technology a fraction of the original political intention.”

Looks like the Oracle vs. Google fight over Android and Java is finally going to be decided. The US Supreme Court has decided to hear the case. The case has being going on for nine years and has huge ramifications for programming in general as it is basically going to create a precedent if APIs are copyrightable or not. The Register sums up a short history of the proceedings so far: “Google won the first ruling on the case in 2012, only to have that decision overturned in 2014. The Chocolate Factory again prevailed in the 2016 jury trial, but that decision got tossed in 2018 by a circuit court. Now, following an appeal from Google, the nation’s top court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold the circuit court decision or strike it down.”

This is an archived issue of my daily newsletter FOXTROT/ALFA. You can find more information about it, including how to subscribe via email, on this page.