Sunday round-up: 5 must-read pieces from the web this week

Forsooth ’tis a balmy weekend morning here in Sunny Johannesburg. There’s a definite smell of spring in the air that’s more than the rotting corpses of baby birds slaughtered by next-door’s psychopathic cats. No, the world is brighter, the air is warmer, the atmosphere is just that little bit more relaxed: which means it must be time to take a few minutes off and read our weekly round-up of the five pieces of writing on the web this week.

  • Sci-fi author Bruce Sterling has produced one of his best essays in a while over at Medium, in which he takes stock of the world post-Bradley Manning trial and Ed Snowden’s escape from Moscow airport. The Ecuadorian Library is a paean to the pair, along with fellow travellers Richard Stallman and Julian Assange. Worth reading just for the cigarette analogy at the end.
  • We were supposed to be chatting to a couple of people out in Vegas this week for a few words on the Black Hat hacking convention, but it all went to pot at the last minute. Ars Technica carried a great piece about the Crytopocalypse and why your current encryption methods might be next to useless soon.
  • The FBI is Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight, apparently, as it can turn on Android phones remotely and use their mics as roving bugs and trackers, according to the Wall Street Journal, It’s not necessarily a new disclosure but there’s a lot of detail as to how it’s done and why its use as a crime fighting tool is on the increase.
  • In gaming news, Everquest Next sounds awesome. More than just another MMO sequel, it’s potentially the first truly realistic online world in which the entire landscape is destructible and can be blown apart by players in-game. Properly next-gen for a change. Adam Smith witnessed a wizard sinking an entire bridge of goblins LOTR style and records his spellbound thoughts over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  • Back in South Africa and the tech news has been dominated by television stuff this week, what with Top-TV, SABC and DSTV all doing Important Stuff. Stephen Grootes’ looks at the background to SABC’s new 24 hour news channel and the intrigue revealed while a beat reporter covering our national broadcaster years ago.

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