I'm in the good books of the PR team at LG Australia. They actually reply to my emails and entertain my requests. One of those requests was one of the new Nexus 5X phones they make. Surprisingly, they said yes and I received one yesterday afternoon. So for the next few days/weeks (dunno how long until LG ask for it back) I'll be giving the Nexus 5X and Android 6.0 a red hot go. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed my first impressions of it are rather good. It's an excellent device, much better than I expected. Props to LG and Google! Will be placing another rant on Reckoner about my time using it some time in the near future.
Apple Pay launching in Australia tomorrow
The relatively small subset of people who own an iPhone with Touch ID, running iOS 9, that have an AMEX issued AMEX and want to use Apple Pay, will get their chance to do so in Australia tomorrow. One less card in the wallet I guess. Yay. It makes the Apple Watch a smidge more useful tho. Dunno what else there is so say about Apple Pay at this point. God speed to anyone who is the first (loveable) dork at Woolworths or Coles to pay for their groceries with an Apple Watch.
The iPhone is probably the most profitable single product ever made by humans
We kinda knew all this already, but Apple make sooooo much money out of the iPhone. Like, so much profit, that everyone else in the smartphone industry is almost a rounding error. From the article: "Together, Apple and Samsung technically accounted for 105% of industry profits because all the other major vendors lost money." Apple get 94% and Samsung get 11% of all the profits. Everyone else in the industry is basically the crumbs in the bag of the bottom of the cereal most people throw in the bin. Most smartphone manufacturers don't even make a profit. Lenovo/Motorola lose money. Sony's mobile division loses money. HTC loses money. LG's smartphones only generate 1.2c per unit. Dunno about Xiaomi and Huawei (who sell fuckloads of phones) - not a lot of info around on their smartphone division profitability. So yeah, buy more Apple shares I guess, they seem infallible right now.
ASUS Chomebit is a tiny HDMI dongle that runs Chrome OS
Google's Chrome OS is really nice if you don't do much outside of a web browser and that's backed up by the latest Chrome OS device - the ASUS Chromebit. The Chromebit is a tiny stick computer with a HDMI port on one end a USB port for peripherals on the other. You can connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and access the net via 802.11ac wi-fi. The entire thing is powered by a Rockchip RK3288-C SoC, which is gutless but remember this thing is the size of a Snickers bar. Engadget's and Android Central's reviews are the nicest I've seen so far. The Chromebit isn for sale in AU yet, but it's made by ASUS who are kind to Australia, so expect this thing any day now at your local PC store for around $150. Dunno what you'd use the Chromebit for to be honest, as it's not *that* cheap vs. an Intel Compute stick.
SBS to add features we take for granted to their apps, one day in 2016
SBS's On Demand service has the best content of any free streaming service in Australia, hands down. The amount of awesome documentaries, cool foreign films and local all available for free is a luxury we as Australians should be grateful for. However, their app doesn't support streaming to a TV! Well good news - some time in 2016 SBS will launch an Apple TV app (*satisfactory applause*) and add Chromecast support (*crowd goes wild*). The Apple TV would be way more useful for my mum if she can watch L'Aħbarijiet and view the weather on it.
Google+ is back baby
The much maligned social network we love to rip on, Google+, is back with a new coat of paint and streamlined feature set. Google+ seems more focussed on community discussions, kinda like forums or Usenet back before it turned into the world's largest offsite backup of movies and TV shows. Actually seems like a nice way to get people together, as pretty much everyone has a Google account. Maybe G+ doesn't suck anymore? Maybe?
Using iOS devices as a cheap multi-cam setup for recording and live steaming events
In a past life, I worked in the AV department of a large university and actually kinda enjoyed bringing IT together with AV to do things the AV people didn't know existed and to learn the tips and tricks AV people use to make sure things run smoothly. Brian King has a written a detailed post about using Switcher Studio Pro - an app that replicates core functionality of equipment that costs thousands of dollars. It allows you to place up to four of iPhones or iPod touches around and as long as they're on the same wi-fi network, you can do full live multi-camera editing with no crew and stream it to the Internet. Fantastic for when the budget (or location, or expertise) doesn't allow for a couple of pro cameras and a Blackmagic ATEM switcher. I wish I had an event I could try this out on!
Science fiction stories inspired by Microsoft
I don't know if these stories are any good as I haven't read em yet, but Microsoft has commissioned a bunch of sci-fi authors to write short stories and called the collection "Future Visions". The authors were apparently invited to Microsoft's research labs and talk to the engineers and scientists working on tech like quantum computing, real-time translation and machine learning. Could be an interesting read and it's a free eBook!
Google Engineer goes on USB-C cable reviewing rampage
Rampage is probably too strong of a word, it's not like he's wielding an axe down at the Amazon offices in Seattle, whilst loudly proclaiming his thoughts on USB-C cables. But he's reviewed about 40 of the USB-C cables available on Amazon and found that the majority of them suck and could damage your device. So if you have a MacBook or one of the new Nexus phones (hey I have one!) then check this out and make sure you buy a legit cable that this dude likes.
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.