Thursday, 26 September 2019

Good evening and thanks for subscribing to The Truth! Here’s your daily look at the madness that is the world of IT. Today we have Google breaking things, patent trolling, Quake II finally coming to Germany and Gmail going dark.

Cisco has published its scheduled half-yearly collection of security patches. This time, the company fixes 29 bugs in devices running the IOS and IOS XE operating systems. If you’re administering these things, you probably know about it already. If not, why are you still reading this? Get patching!

A Chrome update has been breaking the file system on some Mac systems. Google has stopped shipping the misbehaving update for now. Apparently it broke so many Mac Pros used for video and audio editing that Avid, the maker of Media Composer and Pro Tools, started to investigate the problem before Google finally fessed up to it. It only affects Macs with System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled, which means mostly macOS 10.9 and 10.10 – everyone else should have no problems unless they disabled SIP manually. The Register has a command line fix users can perform from Recovery mode to get their systems to boot again.

Patent troll alert! The GNOME Foundation, who produce arguably the most popular Linux desktop environment, are being sued over their photo management app Shotwell. The case is being handled at the US District Court for Northern California and has been brought by Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC because it has a patent for what it calls “a wireless image distribution system and method”. Apparently software maker Magix has been sued over the same patent. The GNOME Foundation is of the opinion that the patent is “baseless” and will “vigorously defend against” it, they say.

We now live in a time where having a dark mode is a headline feature for an app that you can lead with in the release announcement. Today, Gmail is going dark. Shoot me now.

Dropbox wants to make your workday easier to handle by hiding emails and chat messages from you. The new service is called Dropbox Spaces and uses machine learning. Of course it does. And of course you need to feed it all your data for this to work. And most likely, you’ll be feeding it your data and it won’t work. As The Register aptly sums it up: “Much of this wonderful future capability, like a lot of Silicon Valley announcements these days, is predicated on artificial intelligence capabilities that simply don’t exist right now.”

One of the kids from the TalkTalk hack back in 2015 has now been indicted in the US for allegedly hacking the cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta in 2017. The guy is now 19 and apparently can’t stop hacking into things. According to The Register he was just in court in the UK last month, also over computer misuse offences.

Samuel L. Jackson will lend his voice to Amazon’s Alexa assistant. I’m not making this up. I’ll be seriously impressed if they actually leave the swearing in.

Magic The Gathering Arena, the best way to play the oldest collectible card game in the world digitally, has left the beta phase today. They’ve also launched Throne of Eldraine, the latest expansion to the game which is themed after classic fairy tales. The physical cards for the expansion come out on 4 October.

For the first time since 1997, id Software is allowed to sell Quake II in Germany. The local censor Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (BpjM) has now removed it from the ban list (the original Quake was removed in 2011). This means the original version of the game and the raytracing remake Quake II RTX are now both available on Steam from within Germany. Heise is reporting on it here (German).

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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.