This Week's Recap: Raspberry Pi Zero, no Hybrid for Apple, Li-Fi, DELL and its Certificate Problems, Scripts to Automate One's Work

Raspberry Pi Zero: a computer for the price of a beer

When it was launched 3 years ago, Raspberry Pi was a little revolution in itself: a credit-card size computer that cost $25 and could be used for a ton of fun and original stuff... Here comes the newer generation: Raspberry Pi Zero, which measures 6.5 cm x 3 cm, and cost a whopping $5! Well of course it doesn't come with a screen, a GUI, a mouse or a keybaord, but it is still a real computer, with a 1GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, a mini-HDMI slot and two microUSB slots. So. Many. Possibilities!

No MacBook/iPad hybrid for Apple

Asked during a conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook clearly stated that the company would NOT develop a product combining its MacBook and its iPad. “We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad. Because what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.” Cook additionally said that he continued seeing a profitable market for personal computers in the foreseeable future. We're trying really hard not to see an attack to the new Microsoft Surface Book in these comments!

In other news, Apple issued a semi-apology (in the purest "sorry not sorry" tradition) about last week's security certificate problem:

Will Li-Fi come to replace Wi-Fi?

Harold Haas, the inventor or Li-Fi, gave a TED talk during which he spoke about his "baby". Li-Fi is a very high-speed data transmitting protocol, which uses artificial lighting. Why yes! VLC, or visible light communication, to be exact. The technology seems simple enough at first glance: lights send binary signals by constantly switching on and off REALLY, REALLY fast. In a lab setting, the data transmission speed reached 224 Gb per second, compared with 600 Mb/second for Wi-Fi! But of course, implementing this is not as easy as it sounds. A first work setting test still reached about 1 Gb/second. On top of its speed, this protocol could have other perks, for instance security, since light cannot go through walls. But at the same time, it's not so great if users lose their connection whenever they leave a room? To be continued.

DELL is shipping PCs with an important security issue!

Oops! Looks like DELL didn't learn from the Superfish debacle from last February... The company is experiencing is own little snafu by shipping computers already equipped with easily clonable digital certificates. What it means: ill-intentioned people could very well use the cryptographic signature and pretend to be Google, a bank, or other HTTPS-based sites. At least two laptop models, the Inspiron 5000 and the XPS 15, have been shipped with this certificate, which uses the same cryptographic key for both. The problem came to light thanks to a crowdsourcing community this week. DELL said that its technicians are "investigating the issue". Let's just add that the company is probably feeling a little less proud right now than it did in early 2015, when it openly capitalized on the Superfish problem.

Scripts for automating work

A really funny story emerged on GitHub: after a build engineer left the company he worked for, his coworkers reviewed his work and "legacy," only to discover that he spent most of his "on the job" time... automating his job. He wrote a whole slew of completely silly/out there/hilarious scripts, for instance hacks that could automatically reply to a customer he didn't like. Also among his opus: a script that sent a text message to his wife as soon as there was activity on his workstation passed a certain time at night. The text said that he "had to stay late at work," and even provided a randomly selected reason from a list! And what about his script that forced the coffee machine to start making him a latte, but to wait 24 seconds before pouring it in a mug? Because, of course, that was the exact time it took time to walk from his desk to the said machine.