The Sizzle

Issue 26 - Monday 9th November, 2015 - Frogsack

In today's issue:


BlackBerry Priv gets some reviews and it's not bad, but BlackBerry is just another Android OEM now
The BlackBerry Priv has finally landed in the hands of reviewers. This is BlackBerry's first Android based device and it's also BlackBerry's last ditch effort to remain relevant in an industry that has left them behind. The verdict seems pretty much what we all expected - unless you're infatuated with the physical keyboard, there are better Android phones out there. It's not that the Priv is a bad phone, it's actually quite good, but for the money you can get better. The keyboard isn't as nice as everyone expected as it doesn't have the same key travel as the older BlackBerries. No word on when, or if, the Priv will hit Australian telcos. After the Z10 sales disaster, I'm not sure they want to take that risk again. Wired, Engadget, The Verge and TechCrunch have their takes and they're all pretty much the same.

Snapchat has 6 billion video views a day now - was 2 billion back in May
Back in May, Snapchat was proud of the fact it had 2 billion views a day. Today they're pushing 6 billion views. That's a lot of growth. Hockey stick like growth even. It's nicely pitched as competition between Snapchat and Facebook for eyeballs, where Facebook has 8 billion views a day compared to Snapchat's 6 billion. Why is this important? Ads! Slip a few interstitials between those snaps or those Facebook likes and you're rolling in a few hundred million bucks extra. The entire "digital video ad revenue" space is worth US$7.5b now and will grow to US$12.6bn by 2019. Now you know why these gigantic numbers are so important to a company like Snapchat - 10% of that $12.6bn is a billion dollars a year in revenue.

New Xiaomi Band coming on November 11
Xiaomi's fitness band is one of the neatest $20 gadgets you can get your hands on. It's just like the Jawbone Up, but reliable and a quarter of the price. It's basically a glorified pedometer that syncs over Bluetooth to your smartphone. On Android it'll even unlock your phone when pick your phone up and vibrate when you get a call or message. Looks like Xiaomi is releasing an all new Mi band, which is the same as the old Mi band, but with a heart rate sensor and improve band material. Comes out in China on the 11th of November. Perfect product for office Kris Kringle I reckon - if whatever Chinese direct shipping website you buy it from actually delivers it before Christmas.

Zoe Quinn to get a movie based on her Gamergate harassment
Last week I mentioned Zoe Quinn's tips on what to do if you're targeted by an Internet lynch mob. Over the weekend it was announced she's sold the rights to a movie based on her upcoming memoir, Crash Override: How To Save The Internet From Itself - a novel about her experience being harassed by Gamergate loonies. The book is out some time in September 2016 and it's way too early to know when the movie will be released. I love how the Gamergate babies are actually achieving the opposite of what they intended here - instead of silencing her and making her go away, she's now got a book and a movie out of the whole thing, hahah. Eat shit Gamergate pricks.

Victorian Taxi Association crawls out from under their rock and realises it's 2015
The Victorian Taxi Association has finally realised that perhaps the reason everyone is using Uber instead of a taxi is because taxis in Victoria suck, not some Californian brainwashing conspiracy. They want to encourage feedback and say they'll respond to criticism, but haven't actually said how they'll do this. At least they're stopping their embarrassing strike action, as the VTA admits that it's not very effective. That said, UberX is still illegal in Victoria and the fact the government allows it to proceed is a joke. The ACT has made UberX legal, Victoria just needs to do the same so the ambiguity is removed. At the start of the year I wrote a long piece about UberX's legal status in Victoria, so if you're into that sort of thing, check it out.


Data centres are where the world is run from, so you better have a passing knowledge of what's inside one
Have you ever been inside a data centre? I've been in a couple, sometimes for far too long (here's a pic of the first time I ever went inside one - you can tell from the gear in the rack and the computer I was using, roughly how long ago it was!) and it's always fascinating to see what sort of gear is being used by who. All those computers, all those connections to other data centres around the world - it's literally the engine room of the 21st century. For those that haven't been inside one, Google has some pretty photos of their datacentres, a list of where their data centres are and even the ability to use Street View to virtually walk around one.

Raspberry Pi + TV Headend = I can watch cricket on my computer and iPad
It's cricket season again - that means hours of it running in the background whilst I sit at the computer. My computer isn't near a TV socket this year, so I can't plug a TV tuner into my computer or set up a TV next to it so I can enjoy the insightful and intelligent commentary of this 170 year old game from Tubs, Warnie, Slats and JB. What I can do though, is plug a USB TV tuner into a spare Raspberry Pi, set up Tvheadend and stream it over my home LAN to whatever device I happen to be sitting at that supports VLC (i.e: practically everything). Now I can feel bad when Australia pummels the poor Kiwis in November, enjoy us comfortably beating the West Indies in December and feign indifference when we get thrashed by India in January. TVheadend runs on all sorts of Linux systems, not that hard to install and is super versatile, check it out if you want a TV server running in your house.

National Film and Sound Archive celebrate 40 years of colour TV in Australia
On the topic of TV, the National Film and Sound Archive (subscribe to their YouTube channel, it's awesome) gave a nice history back in March about the 40th anniversary of colour TV in Australia. Apparently Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War held back colour TV in Australia due to the crap economy at the time - nobody could afford colour units and the stations couldn't afford colour transmission and broadcast equipment. The post includes a crazy video from the 60s made by channel 7, shown at Brisbane's Ekka, to convince people to buy colour TVs when they come out. I reckon that would have blown people's minds. A cool video is also included giving a tour of the Philips TV manufacturing plant in Clayton. It seems so quaint now that Australians made TVs. It's a two part blog post, so check out the second part and a video of the first Australian news bulletin broadcast in colour.

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.