The Sizzle

Issue 28 - Wednesday 11th November, 2015 - Box of Sand

In today's issue:


Apple Music is on Android now
Apple Music is now on Android. Isn't it great that Android users can experience the same confusion and bewilderment as iOS and Mac users? The same feeling of disgust when you find out you can't make a playlist until you've enabled iCloud Music Library, or that the initial song streaming and changing to a track in a different album takes too long to start? Maybe loading up an album from a track in one of the great "For You" playlists will actually work for Android users? Even bookmarking those awesome Apple generated playlists would be a nice feature. Get on it Android users, it's a great example of why Apple is so renown for it's user friendly design.

Qualcomm announce Snapdragon 820 SoC
Android users are probably more excited about Qualcomm's latest SoC announcement. On the back of the, err, lacklustre, performance of the Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm has fronted up with the Snapdragon 820 - a flagship SoC designed to take on the A9 from Apple and whatever Exynos thing Samsung sometimes use. It's 64-bit, has four cores running at 2.2GHz, based on a 14nm fab process, an all new DSP for better looking photos and even supports Quick Charge 3.0 over USB 3.0 which can charge your device 40% faster than traditional 500mA USB charging. I wish the iPhone would get that last feature, that'd be sweet. Devices using the Snapdragon 820 SoC should be out in early 2016. This is a big deal because sooooo many Android phones use a Qualcomm platform, it'll make a significant impact on the experience of Android devices, particularly combined with Android 6.0 (which by all accounts is very nice).

Goodbye, it was fun
The venerable is shutting down November 30th. Internode's popular gaming site, full of demos and patches, all unmetered, was a favourite of mine back when I was a teenager. It was also an excellent place to play games online - Internode's servers were often the lowest latency Quake and Counter Strike servers around. also developed into quite a strong gaming community, with meetups and LAN parties. Unfortunately, Internode's new-new owners, TPG (iiNet purchased Internode in 2013, TPG recently took over iiNet) reckons it isn't worth the hassle and are discontinuing the service. No more games servers, no more quota free downloads and no more gaming news and community. Hopefully it can be spun off into an independent site where the at least the news and community can continue.

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs coming! Soon. One day. Maybe
Ultra HD Blu-ray has been a thing for a while, promising 4K resolution movies at home so you have something nice to watch on that fancy 4K TV. Well Sony said they're not gonna release any Ultra HD titles until "early 2016". This is such a bummer. When you've seen a movie in 4K, with Dolby Atmos sound and 10-bit colour, going back to a regular blu-ray, or worse, streaming Internet video, is like flying overseas in first class, then being asked to slum it in economy back home. The thing that shits me the most is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find 1080p TVs larger than 50-55" in size and if you want a premium quality TV (i.e: one that doesn't suck), they're all 4K - but the content to watch on it isn't in 4K, destroying most of the advantages of that fancy 4K TV!

MLC trialling the use of smart watches to track customer's health and adjust insurance policies based on data
MLC is starting a pilot on selected Australian life insurance customers where they'll be given an Intel Basis Peak smartwatch to wear so MLC can monitor their health stats and offer different insurance premiums as a result of what they see. QBE does this with cars already, via an OBD-II port monitor, so it only makes sense that now the technology exists to do this with humans, insurance companies will be all over it. Part of me really, really hates the intrusiveness of this sort of monitoring, but on the other hand, it's an awesome way to see who's at more likely to be using their life insurance sooner rather than later, or health insurance more frequently. Technology vs. privacy will be a long battle.


Anandtech's Microsoft Surface Book review
Anandtech is on fire lately, pumping out in-depth review after in-depth review. Their latest masterpiece (okay maybe that's too much back-slapping) is a review of the Microsoft Surface Book - that laptop Microsoft made with the weird hinge which pissed off all of Microsoft's OEM customers. From the specs, it is a top of the line beast. 6th generation 15W TDP Intel CPUs, 3000x2000 resolution IPS display, PCIe NVMe storage and a huge 70Wh battery thanks to the fact the screen has a battery too, in order for it to act as a detachable tablet. Performance wise it holds up, the design is very luxury and even as a tablet it's quite decent. The software is a bit shit though, with the reviewer running into a plethora of bugs that Microsoft has admitted to and have either fixed or are fixing. If you can't be arsed reading it all, at least check out the Final Words section.

Get your US iTunes credit here, if you're into that sort of thing
People often ask me where to get US iTunes credit from. I guess they want to access the vast library of iTunes content not in the Australian store, or use the credit to subscribe to services like Hulu or HBO Now. Anyways, when people ask me where to get US iTunes credit from, I tell them to visit US iTunes Direct. An Australian bloke with a neat looking website that charges face value plus a little extra for US iTunes credit. I don't know him and it's been years since I purchased anything from him, but that's where I've been telling people to go and nobody has come back to me and said I mislead them. Cool. An interesting aside: iTunes credit is always on sale in Australia, but it isn't in America, it's quite rare to spot a sale on US iTunes credit.

How to handle online harassment and doxing
If you've been on the Internet long enough and do enough things publicly on the Internet for long enough, it's probably inevitable you're gonna inadvertently piss someone off. Maybe the person you piss off decides to take it out on their family or their cat, but they could be vengeful and a bit crafty with computers. They could decide to dox you, or just constantly harass you until you get off the Internet entirely - just like what happened to Zoe Quinn and those gamergate manbabies. She's at least spun a tiny minuscule positive out of the experience, by providing a guide on what to do if something similar happens to you and how you can take some preventative steps to minimise the damage if some douchebag takes it too far.

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.