March 21, 2023

Snippet: DPReview To Close ☍

Scott Everett:

After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future. This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year.

The site will remain active until April 10, and the editorial team is still working on reviews and looking forward to delivering some of our best-ever content.

Everyone on our staff was a reader and fan of DPReview before working here, and we’re grateful for the communities that formed around the site.

Disappointing as it was always an interesting read, even after smartphones because the default camera for most people. Reading between the lines, I suspect this is another moment where Amazon sucks.

March 17, 2023

Snippet: Multiple Internet to Baseband Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities in Exynos Modems ☍

Tim Willis for Google’s Project Zero:

In late 2022 and early 2023, Project Zero reported eighteen 0-day vulnerabilities in Exynos Modems produced by Samsung Semiconductor. The four most severe of these eighteen vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-24033 and three other vulnerabilities that have yet to be assigned CVE-IDs) allowed for Internet-to-baseband remote code execution. Tests conducted by Project Zero confirm that those four vulnerabilities allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone at the baseband level with no user interaction, and require only that the attacker know the victim’s phone number. With limited additional research and development, we believe that skilled attackers would be able to quickly create an operational exploit to compromise affected devices silently and remotely.

The fourteen other related vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-26072, CVE-2023-26073, CVE-2023-26074, CVE-2023-26075, CVE-2023-26076 and nine other vulnerabilities that are yet to be assigned CVE-IDs) were not as severe, as they require either a malicious mobile network operator or an attacker with local access to the device.

This vulnerability affects a lot of Android devices, so be sure to see if yours is affected. Although the fix is to temporarily disable Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE, most carriers in the US require VoLTE for calls—T-Mobile is the only national carrier that still is running a small 2G network that could work if VoLTE is turned off. Nonetheless, it’s worth watching for developments in this area and applying any patch as soon as it becomes available.

March 16, 2023

Snippet: Just Buy This Brother Laser Printer Everyone Has, It’s Fine ☍

Nilay Patel for The Verge:

Here’s the best printer in 2023: the Brother laser printer that everyone has. Stop thinking about it and just buy one. It will be fine!

Seriously, ask around or just look in the background of Zoom calls: there’s a black Brother laser printer sitting there. Some people have the bare-bones Brother HL-L2305DW, which costs like $120. We have the $270 Brother MFC-L2750DW, which adds a sheet-fed scanner, because my wife is a lawyer and scans things for judges or whatever she does with it. It doesn’t matter. We only bought that one to replace our previous Brother laser printer that we lost in a move, and even then, I didn’t even look at the model numbers. It has been connected to our Wi-Fi for like six years straight, and I have never replaced the toner. It prints Amazon return labels from my phone without complaining, and it does not feel like the CEO of Inkjet Supply and Hostage Situations Incorporated is waiting to mug me or enable DRM at the slightest provocation.

This has to be one of the best posts on The Verge ever.

March 13, 2023

Snippet: Samsung ‘Fake’ Moon Shots Controversy Puts Computational Photography in the Spotlight ☍

Hartley Charlton for MacRumors:

Samsung introduced a 100x zoom feature with the Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2020, becoming a mainstay on recent flagship handsets from the company. Since its debut, Samsung has touted its devices’ ability to take impressive pictures of the moon. Unlike brands such as Huawei, which simply overlay a PNG of the moon on such images, Samsung says that no overlays or texture effects are applied.

Yet on Friday, a Samsung user on the subreddit r/Android shared a detailed post purporting to “prove” that Samsung’s moon shots are “fake.” Their methodology involved downloading a high-resolution image of the moon, downsizing it to just 170 by 170 pixels, clipping the highlights, and applying a gaussian blur to heavily obscure the moon’s surface details. This low-resolution image was then displayed on a monitor and captured at a distance from a Samsung Galaxy device. The resulting image has considerably more detail than its source.

I’d be interested to see more tests to prove/disprove how computational photography might be “eager” to help.

Snippet: Facebook Paid GOP Firm to Malign TikTok ☍

Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell for The Washington Post:

Employees with the firm, Targeted Victory, worked to undermine TikTok through a nationwide media and lobbying campaign portraying the fast-growing app, owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, as a danger to American children and society, according to internal emails shared with The Washington Post.

Targeted Victory needs to “get the message out that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat especially as a foreign owned app that is #1 in sharing data that young teens are using,” a director for the firm wrote in a February email.

Campaign operatives were also encouraged to use TikTok’s prominence as a way to deflect from Meta’s own privacy and antitrust concerns.

I think I saw this headline when it was first published, scanned it, and thought nothing of it. A year later it seems especially relevant with all the bans being discussed and how Facebook Meta has quite a bit to gain with TikTok out of the way. I’ve always taken the stance that TikTok is not necessarily innocent, but broad privacy laws for everyone make more sense than cherry-picking individual services.