The Sizzle

Issue 29 - Thursday 12th November, 2015 - Lavender

I took all the money the Sizzle subscribers have given me and used it to buy part of an iPad Pro this morning (the rest of the funds came from American Express, thanks guys, I'll pay you back one day) and it's pretty cool so far. I ran out of time to set it up properly today, but tomorrow's issue of the Sizzle will hopefully be authored on the giant iPad and the giant iPad alone. My plan is to sell the MacBook Pro which sits on my desk most of the time and replace it with an i5-2400 Windows box I've got sitting around, leaving the iPad Pro as my couch device (which I don't have and miss greatly) and as my laptop for when I rarely need to work away from home. There'll be more feelpinions and hot takes about the iPad Pro as I spend more time with it, but my inital impressions are succinct: it's big, it's not very heavy, it's goddamn fast, multi-tasking is great but needs improvement, it's very expensive.

In today's issue:


iPad Pro reviews come flooding in
Gruber's take on the iPad Pro: the future of computing. Viticci's take: best thing in the world, I'm never using a Mac ever again. Anandtech's take: here's a preview so we can get in on the traffic while we form a proper opinion based on 10,000 benchmarks. Joanna Stern used it as a table for her hamburger. I haven't read any other reviews of it yet, as really, Apple make it so easy to form your own opinion - go to the store, buy it on a credit card and if you don't like it or can't afford it, take it back, no questions asked. Check out my receipt - they're allowing you to keep it for 2 months before having to return it. That's an excellent amount of time to determine if the iPad Pro is something you want in your life. If you do end up buying one, I'd love to know what you think of it.

Microsoft opened a retail store in Sydney
I dunno if you've ever been to a Microsoft store before, but I have (in Boston and Chicago) and if you've been to an Apple store, it's veryyy similar to that. Instead of Apple products, it's Microsoft products with a smattering of Microsoft partner gear (Lenovo, Dell, etc.). There's now one in Sydney and it's open for all your Surfacing and Xboxing needs. I actually wouldn't mind going to check out the Lumia 950 phones and the Surface Book, which are in store, but not for sale yet. Apparently there are people who self-identify as Microsoft fans. I'd say these people have nothing better to do, but that would be extremely hypocritical of me.

Apple may or may not do something that kinda resembles PayPal
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple's desire to revolutionise the way we transfer money around has no limits. After totally blowing up and innovating the hell out of in store credit card transactions with the futuristic and totally unhackable Apple Pay, Apple is reportedly planning to allow users to transfer money between bank accounts, instantly, using Apple devices. Which is pretty much PayPal, but I'm sure Apple will do a better job. Of course, Americans are living in the financial dark ages - Europeans have been able to do instant bank to bank transfers for a while, and Australia is getting instant bank transfers in 2017. This is one of those stories I only mentioned in The Sizzle because almost every single goddamn tech blog has mentioned it too and I'm supposed to be giving you a comprehensive overview of tech news, even if the tech news is stupid and baseless.

Facebook have a new app called Notify
The trend of media companies slaughtering themselves at the altar of Facebook in the quest for eyeballs has reached a milestone, with Facebook launching an app called Notify. Notify allows media companies to submit their content to Facebook and this app lets you select from channels you can subscribe to and receive notifications when new stuff comes out. For example, CNN are in this. You subscribe to the CNN channel and when there's breaking news, your device dings and you can read what happened, through Faecbook. Kinda like Apple News, I guess. Oh, this isn't availabe in Australia, so, yeah. I only mention it because of how many media outlets actually co-operated with Facebook on this.

JJ Abrams making a game with the people who make Infinity Blade
JJ Abrams is the Spielberg of my generation. I think. I'm not a movie critic, but I know the bloke can tell a killer story. TV shows, movies and even books (one of my wife's favourite books is one he made with all these crazy accessories included with it), he's usually done a pretty awesome job. Now JJ's turning his hand to videogames, partnering up with Chair Interactive (makers of Infinity Blade, which JJ loves to bits) to make Spyjinx. No game play videos or story or anything yet, but apparently it's "a blend of adventure and strategy, with some RPG elements" - whatever the hell that is. Here's a video with JJ talking about it. I'm looking forward to this and hope to god it's a straight up purchase and not full of in app purchases.


Bill Gates reviews a book by the XKCD guy and some other Bill Gates related stuff
I only just realised Bill Gates takes time from his busy schedule to review books on his blog! The latest review of his is of Thing Explainer, a book by the guy who made those obnoxious witty stick figure comics about nerdy topics. Billy G loves it. Read Bill's other book reviews here. Also Bill Gates related is this interview with him in the Atlantic where he reckons we need huge innovation in creating clean energy and that a carbon tax (his words) is the best way to do it. Australia had a carbon tax once...

Backblaze has updated their Storage Pod file server chassis
Backblaze's famous Storage Pod has had a major update. They've been able to lower the price of shoving 45 3.5" HDDs in a single custom made 4RU chassis and build a working storage server full of 4TB drives that provides data for only US$0.44c/GB. This is so cool. If you used 8TB drives instead of 4TB ones (which may be a bad idea, depending on what you're using the server for), that's 360TB of raw storage in a single box. That's 45,000 DVDs as straight ISOs! You'd never use 45 disks as a single JBOD volume, but still, impressive stuff. Also cool is the fact they make the plans for the case open source, so you can build your own if you wish, or even just order a chassis from various manufacturers. Backblaze even publish their internal document on how to assemble a working server.

Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini tear Apple's UI a new arsehole
I haven't read all of this yet, but, some of the original designers behind the original Apple Human Interface Guidelines, which pretty much defined desktop computing for decades, are calling out Apple for dropping the ball on those principles. Like I said, I've only skimmed this so far, but they claim that iOS in particular has way too many hidden features that are important to how productive you can be on a device and Apple needs to do more to make learning how the iOS UI operates more than just an exercise in randomly swiping, pushing and dragging your finger all over the screen. They make a very convincing point, give it a read if you're interested in how humans interact with their computers in 2015 - it's vastly different than 2005, let alone 1985 or 1995 when most of the computer GUI paradigms were defined.

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.