Hackaday Links: August 7, 2022

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If you ever needed proof that class-action lawsuits are a good deal only for the lawyers, look no further than the news that Tim Hortons will settle a data-tracking suit with a doughnut and a coffee. For those of you who are not in Canada or Canada-adjacent, “Timmy’s” is a chain of restaurants that are kind of the love child of a McDonald’s and a Dunkin Donut shop. An investigation into the chain’s app a couple of years ago revealed that customer location data was being logged silently, even when they were not using the app, and even far, far away from the nearest Tim Hortons. The chain is proposing to settle with class members to the tune of a coupon good for one free hot beverage and one baked good, in total valuing a whopping $8.68. The lawyers, on the other hand, will be pulling in $1.5 million plus taxes. There’s no word if they are taking that in cash or as 172,811 coffees and doughnuts, but we think we can guess.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s involved with the recovery of data from busted SD cards, check out this brief but fascinating video of the process. First, the plastic enclosure of the memory card is ablated by a laser engraver, which exposes the traces within. A series of probes are then lowered onto various pads within, presumably to bypass a defective controller and access the memory directly. We’re not sure if this is the standard method used when a whoopsie befalls an SD card, but it sure is interesting. If anyone knows of a full-length video or has more information on this method, send it along — we’d love to do a more in-depth article.

If your personal edification shortlist includes understanding quantum programming, you could do worse than watching New Mind’s latest video on the subject. Where this one stands out for us is in the comparison of quantum concepts to what most of us already know about how digital computers work — how normal gates compare to quantum gates, for instance. We have to admit that the first watch-through didn’t entirely sink in — we’ll be giving it another go soon, hopefully before the next part is released.

And finally, who says scientists don’t have a sense of humor? At least one French physicist does, and Etienne Klein proved it by posting a picture he purported to be a stunning up close and personal look at Proxima Centaurus, our nearest extra-Solar neighbor, courtesy of the new James Webb Space Telescope. It seemed plausible — we’ve all seen what the $10 billion space observatory can do, and the level of detail in the photo sure seemed like it could be an image of the red dwarf star. But alas, a few days later Dr. Klein came clean with the news that the picture is just a slice of chorizo on a black background. We can understand the confusion — check out the thumbnail of the video below to see how close the sausage matches a legit picture of our own sun. But while we appreciate the lulz here, we kind of regret that it will inevitably feed the trolls who insist that we never landed on the Moon. After all, if sausage can stand in for a star, why can’t green cheese be used to stage a Moon landing?


10 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: August 7, 2022

    1. That’s to cover the both sides’ lawyers fees, the free doughnut and coffees, and the cost of a PR team to pretend it never happened.

      Fining companies like this doesn’t really work – the execs still get paid (unless a large % of their remuneration was shares and the share price got significantly hit, which isn’t that likely.), and the costs just get paid for by the consumer. The only people who win are the lawyers.

    1. Okay, I missed the part about the thumbnail of the video was the whole point of adding the video.

      But a weekly space wx podcast might be nice addition to other activities.

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