The Sizzle

Issue 24 - Thursday 5th November, 2015 - Nasty

Sometimes I write stuff that isn't The Sizzle - either it's for Reckoner when it's tech related, or for PC & Tech Authority when they give me money. This week though, I wanted to write about how to use Qantas points to redeem free business class trips around the world. Two articles, one explaining the best value for money Qantas award and another detailing how to use the archaic KVS Tool to search for flights, then how to book them using the Qantas website, are up on my personal blog right now. Enjoy!


YTS, YIFY and Popcorn Time assassinated by the MPAA
It looks like the good times of easy piracy are over. The MPAA has shutdown the release group YIFY, the related website YTS and the wonderful PopcornTime app. The MPAA managed to sue YTS and YIFY, which were run out of New Zealand. Apparently YTS has settled with the MPAA already. Popcorn Time was targeted via the Canadian courts, with the MPAA going after the integrated VPN service inside Popcorn Time,, as well as all the key Canadian developers of Popcorn Time, David Lemarier, Robert English and Louie Poole. I think the lesson here is that unless you're good at covering your tracks (encrypt, encrypt, encrypt), don't pirate shit any more, the MPAA have nothing better to do these days, so will hound you to the end of the earth to get their slice of the action. Oh, and maybe don't develop the Netflix of piracy, no matter how awesome it could be. Engadget has a nice explainer on YIFY and it's importance in the piracy scene.

China remembers Bitcoin is a thing
Bitcoin's back on the boil! The price went from around USD$300 to USD$500 overnight and is back down to around USD$400 at the moment. Apparently the Chinese are back on the Bitcoin train, after their government tightened more asset rules and credit rules. So instead of buying stuff like houses and shares as investments, they're throwing it at Bitcoin again. Any of you still sitting on some old Bitcoins, playing the long game? I sold all mine back when they were around US$1000ea. Those there the days.

Pete reviews the Surface Pro 4
Peter Wells (hey I know that guy) has reviewed the Surface Pro 4 and wants to love it, but just can't get it across the line. Pete has the same issues with the Surface Pro 4 as I do - shit tablet apps make the Surface a rubbish tablet and the inability to use the Surface on anything other than a table make it a less than useful laptop. It's a shame as the concept is great, but in reality there's only a narrow window where it excels. If the tablet portion was better, like, as good as an iPad, maybe the using it on your lap thing could be forgiven. I don't know how Microsoft can get more developers to make 1st class apps for the tablet portion of Windows, but they need to otherwise all the wonderful effort in making the Surface is going to be for nothing in a few years when they can it because nobody is buying them.

UK to start an Internet Connection Record
Yesterday I mentioned the awful Investigatory Powers Bill that the UK government wants to get approved, so that they can hide their Orwellian desires behind a thin veil of national security. Well it was approved this morning, but heavily modified. The bad shit about adding a backdoor inside end-to-end encryption was removed, which is great. However, they saw no problem with the "Internet Connection Record" part - a 12 months rolling database of all UK citizen's web browsing history, but just the website you visited, not the actual content of the site. Where have I heard that before? Hmmm.

Facebook's Q3 results - profits good, soooooo many users
Facebook released their Q3 2015 results and things are on the up for the largest social network. They've hit a record 1 billion "daily active users". That is insane! 1 billion people use Facebook once a day. Is there any other service in the world used by as many people? I don't even think Google is used by a unique 1 billion people a day. 900 million people use WhatsApp each month, 700 million use Messenger and 400 million use Instagram. Financially, they're turning a profit and growing. US$4.5b in revenue, US$869m profit. The largest chunk of their revenue came from the USA & Canada and worldwide, they make around US$2.97 per user. That's how much you're worth to Facebook, about three bucks. Fascinating stats.


6 months free Presto
Use the code TEL515TBV3 to sign up for 6 months of free Presto action. Dunno how long that code will last for (found it on Ozbargain), so sign up ASAP before Presto decides to shitcan it. People have been bagging it for some reason, but I really like Presto. It supports Chromecast and AirPlay, is in 1080p and has a lot of BBC, HBO and AMC content. With 6 months free, there's a lot of time to explore the stuff there. If you're stuck with what to watch first, here's a little tip to get you started - one of my favourite under-rated shows is called Review With Myles Barlow. Enjoy!

A video tour of the Rode's Sydney factory
Rode make awesome microphones. I've been using their gear for years and it's been good to me. I've got a Podcaster, VideoMic Pro, smartLav and NTG1, together with a bunch of accessories that work flawlessly and were well priced compred to the competition. If I need a product that Rode make, anything competing with the Rode thing has to be really really awesome for me to not buy the Rode product. This video from 2011 is a great guided tour by the Rode CEO, of their factory in Sydney. Yep, a factory in Sydney. They make their mics and accessories in Sydney! Who said Australia can't make anything anymore?

The Steve Jobs Archive
Steve Jobs was loved by many people and died way too soon of a terrible disease, which probably could have been prevented if he took the medical advice seriously instead of taking a fruit cleanse. Luckily, there's lots and lots of media around to remember the guy. Someone has collected all the videos they could about or relating to Steve Jobs and sorted it out chronologically. You'd have to really like Steve Jobs to watch them all, but there's fascinating stuff in there. So weird watching those antenna-gate videos now. You can see the contempt in his eyes and hear the loathing in his voice, over having to do this dog and pony show for the media.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Convert your free trial into a paid subscription now and never miss an issue! Already a subscriber? Thanks for being awesome.