The Sizzle

Issue 36 - Monday 23rd November, 2015 - Fair Dinkum Mongrels and Bludgers

Over the weekend I moved The Sizzle away from Active Campaign (*spits*) over to Mailchimp (Mailkimp), as Mailchimp just in the past week, introduced some features I needed in order to extract money from you. This hopefully means no repeats of randomly missing issues for my precious Sizzle subscribers!

Paid subscribers will still have their monthly fee handled via Moonclerk, that aspect hasn't changed. All that's different is that emails will come via Mailchimp instead of Active Campaign. Subscribers who were still on the free trial week had their signup dates reset to today, so you'll get a few extra days of The Sizzle before being asked to cough up some coin.

Unfortunately, Mailchimp has link tracking that I can't disable until I've sent out a few newsletters. As soon as Mailchimp lets me turn them off, I will, as I'm totally opposed to any sort of tracking, regardless of how benign it may be. I don't need to know a damn thing about you except your email address.

If you notice anything weird about your subscription, let me know - @decryption on Twitter or just email me back,


UberX might be legal in NSW soon
The Daily Telegraph (here's a Guardian link because the original is paywalled) has "leaked" info surrounding the NSW government's plans to make UberX legal. UberX drivers will require a special licence, much like taxi drivers do and their cars will have a couple more safety checks - which Uber carries out anyways. Taxi owners will be given some form of compensation to stop them whinging and taxis will still be the only car you can legally hail from the side of the road. Mike Baird (the NSW Premier) wants us to cool our jets, as this isn't confirmed or anything, they're just spitballing. Old mate Ozcabbie is gonna be off his fucken nut at this news!

Lumia 950 reviews come through - probably too little too late for Microsoft
Microsoft's top of the line Lumia 950 and 950XL smartphones are out and reviewers have begun dispensing opinions. Apparently it's a very nice phone. A very nice phone that runs an OS that's also decent, but isn't Android or iOS, making it weird. The camera is A-grade. The SoC is as good as everyone else's (as it's the same one everyone else uses). The plastic body feels a bit cheap. Continuum is nifty but useless in the first world. WMPoweruser loves the crap out of it (no surprise). The Verge is lukewarm. Tom's Guide likes it. Overall it's pretty much what we expected - unless you like Windows Mobile, you aren't gonna dig this phone. But if you like Windows Mobile, you can finally upgrade after over a year without a flagship phone from Microsoft. The Lumia 950 is AU$999 and ships on the 18th of December. The larger with a slightly faster SoC, Lumia 950XL is $1129, shipping December 8. No word on telco deals at the moment.

Preteens can barely tell the difference between genuine search results and Google ads
Ofcom in the UK (I guess ACMA is the closest AU equivalent) conducted a study of children's use of media and as part of that, a interesting observation stood out. Only 31% of kids between 12-15 years old and 16% of 8-11 year olds could determine if a result on Google was an ad or not. This could be worrying, it sounds scary that the next generation of humans can't properly tell the difference between an ad and what isn't. If they can't tell the difference between ads, how are they to tell the difference between what someone acting in their interest is telling them versus someone just wanting to sell them shit? Are they more gullable than previous generations? Can people who aren't "digital natives" tell the difference between the ads? Will they become more discerning as they get old and (hopefully) learn how the world and the Internet marketing machine works? That said, it's not like the search results on Google aren't ads in and of themselves. The first couple of links when searching for a product or service are generally SEO gamed results anyways. Fucking Google.

Leaked Intel roadmap gives us a glimpse of what's in store
I love looking at Intel's CPU roadmaps as they determine what sort of hardware upgrades we're gonna get and when. The next Microsoft Surface? That arrives when there's new 7.5W-15W TDP CPUs. New MacBook Pros? New 35W-45W CPUs. Computers with USB 3.0 support? We have to wait for Intel to support that natively for it to take off. A leaked timeline for a swathe of Intel CPUs has interesting tidbits regarding timing of new chips. Skylake-U (aka the CPUs inside the MacBook Air) are scheduled for Q4-2015 and then Q3-2016 will see an upgrade to Kaby Lake. Braswell (6.5W SoC - mainly for tablets) is out Q4-2015 too, with the next update for that TDP category (Apollo Lake) arriving in early 2016. Other leaks include details on Kalby Lake, with stuff like 5K monitor support on the IGP and Thunderbolt 3 (which will use a USB-C connector and backwards compatibility with USB 3.0, literally one port to rule them all).

PS2 emulation coming to the PS4 sooner or later
After some nerds discovered that a PSN download of some re-released Star Wars games were actually running under emulation instead of being re-developed for the PS4 specifically, Sony has confirmed that they're working on PS2 game emulation for the PS4. Not just straight up emulation either, but an increase in resolution and overall quality. Sony's said nothing else about the emulation, but I sure hope it'll get to the point where I can slap a PS2 game in my PS4 and play it. That would be so awesome as there's a huge legacy of classic PS2 games that are still fun to this day. I remember my math teacher took a sickie when the PS2 came out, heh.


Botnet rips through advertising networks harvesting cash
According to a report from Pixelate, a company dedicated to preventing people ripping off advertisers with fake clicks, a botnet has managed to grab US$3b pretending to be humans clicking and viewing ads. There are various ways fraud is detected and counter-acted, but this botnet managed to evade all that and make a very nice profit. The botnet is even called Xindi - those ratbags from Star Trek who tried to destroy earth and were always causing Captain Archer trouble. Check out the diagram of how Xindi operated, it's beautiful. Couldn't have happened to a nicer industry - my microscopic violin plays loudly.

Gough Lui does a thorough scan of Sydney's free to air TV networks
I love Gough's blog as it's so very detailed on everyday technical topics yet still easy to read. This time Gough has done a scan of the Sydney area digital TV frequencies and show how much bandwidth each channel has - explaining why some TV channels look crap but some look okay. It's fascinating to see how the spectrum is divided up and how the TV networks use it. It's also a great way to see which video and audio formats are in use by each channel. You can see the bits in the stream that determine the EPG and a bunch of other system data. This is all particularly timely as Nine will be re-jigging their distribution of bandwidth in order to take the main 9 channel HD. Thanks for teaching me some stuff Gough!

Telstra $50/m for 7GB, $200 port-in credit, free Apple Music and soon, 200GB of OneDrive storage
If you're on the hunt for a cheap phone contract, Telstra's latest offer of 7GB for $50/m on a 12-month contract is great. Add on top of that a $200 port-in bonus, free Apple Music for 12 months (which is now on Android) and soon, 200GB of OneDrive storage. From my relatively large anecdotal experience around Victoria, Telstra's network is by far the best overall - Vodafone's is awesome in the cities and Optus is ratshit pretty much everywhere. If you're an existing Telstra customer and want the $200 port-in bonus, grab a $2 SIM from the supermarket and port your number to them. Then a day later port back to Telstra on this new plan.

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.