The Truth: Google Stadia launches, US Telcos Get an Extension for Their Huawei Gear, Microsoft Adopts DoH

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Well, I’m a bit earlier with the newsletter today… There’s also quite a lot of things happening in the tech world at the moment, so here’s an overview. Especially these DNS over HTTPS developments with Windows are something to keep an eye on, I think.

There’s yet another bugfix update for iOS devices; version 13.2.3 has just been released. Executive summary via Engadget: “This one gives iPads and iPhones fixes meant to address issues with the built-in Mail, Files and Notes apps, as well as a problem that could stop apps from downloading information in the background – Apple didn’t mention any fixes for security issues.”

Apple has also finally seen the light and has reverted to its pre-2016 keyboard design for notebooks, ie. the one that wasn’t totally fucking broken. Took them long enough…

If you are still running an old Pentium-based desktop machine with an Intel board, you might want to consider upgrading now, because Intel is discontinuing older driver and BIOS updates. The Register has more details on this.

Google’s gaming service Stadia is launching today. TL;DR from The Verge: “If you’re expecting it to look or work as well as a high-end gaming PC or even a high-end game console, or if you’re hoping for a killer app, you may come away disappointed. But the overarching reaction I had while playing Stadia was the same I have with half-decent headphones: I’d happily keep playing if I wasn’t already spoiled.” So apparently it’s the best of these streaming services to ever come around – which, to be honest doesn’t count for much – but pretty much any other gaming platform is still superior. I would also caution anyone wanting to try this: Better make sure you have a good internet connection. From my own experiences I can tell you that testing setups of tech journalist nerds don’t line up well with the experience of everyday users.

Microsoft has announced that it will adopt the name resolution security and privacy protocol DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH): “We are making plans to adopt DNS over HTTPS (or DoH) in the Windows DNS client. As a platform, Windows Core Networking seeks to enable users to use whatever protocols they need, so we’re open to having other options such as DNS over TLS (DoT) in the future. For now, we’re prioritizing DoH support as the most likely to provide immediate value to everyone. For example, DoH allows us to reuse our existing HTTPS infrastructure.” The idea of DoH is to prevent other people from seeing which internet addresses you visit. This isn’t without controversy, though, as ISPs for example might have reasons to do so – for example if they are required by law to filter certain content. It is also under fire because the company providing the DoH-enabled DNS servers still gets to collect that data – which in the case of, say, Google clearly isn’t a privacy win. Microsoft says it wants to avoid this by allowing its users to chose which DNS provider they use. They’ll probably collect this data with their own servers by default, though.

The US government has given the country’s telecoms providers an 90-day extension on the trade restrictions with China, allowing those companies to use Huawei equipment for the time being. “According to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the stay was necessary because a number of small, regional telcos still rely on Huawei kit for their day-to day-operations, making it necessary for some suppliers to continue to work with the Chinese company”, The Register reports. If the US and China don’t finalise their trade deal until then, telcos will now be able to use Huawei gear until February 16, 2020.

In other geopolitical tech news, the Irish seem to be the clear Brexit winner when it comes to sever, storage and networking sales. UK sales went down 14% in Q3 of this year, generally in line with shrinking sales in the EU. Irish distributors managed to rake in a 26% increase in sales, though. In the previous quarter, Irish sales even jumped by 34.8%.

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.