The Sizzle

Issue 40 - Friday 27th November, 2015 - Shanky McWindswept

Hi to a bunch of new Sizzle subscribers! 50 people signed up to the free trial overnight, which is awesome. I hope you all enjoy your time with us. Unfortunately you’ve picked the crappiest day to start - Thanksgiving. There’s bugger all news coming out of the USA as they’re all off eating turkey and watching football, waiting in anticipation for the Black Friday sales tomorrow. Because of this, today’s news (and probably next week’s) scrapes the bottom of the barrel and isn't indicative of the level of quality insight you’d normally get from this esteemed publication.


Raspberry Pi Zero - a "$5" computer
We all know about the Raspberry Pi, yeah? Well they went and made a new one cheaper and smaller called the Raspberry Pi Zero. How much smaller? It's the size of a ciggie lighter. How much cheaper? US$5! How'd they do that? Removed a lot of the stuff from the other Pi's like composite video and 3.5mm audio output, less USB ports, no Ethernet and use an older SoC (clocked up). It's a sweet little unit if you want to do some embedded type stuff that doesn't require network access. Good luck getting one for $5 here in Australia though. Element14 has em for $19.20+delivery (buy 2 and a $7 thingy and delivery is free). Still, a 1GHz computer with 512MB of RAM for $20 is pretty cool. This reminds me that I have a few Pis lying around I should so something with.

You can use Eftpos with PayPal soon
PayPal has signed on as a member of the Eftpos hub (disclaimer, I did a 6 month contract babysitting some Linux servers for the company who setup and maintains the Eftpos hub!). This will allow PayPal to accept Eftpos cards as a type of payment, online and in meatspace with their little card reader doohickey I've never seen anywhere except farmer and craft markets. Eftpos also plans to implement tokenisation by early 2016, a key item for Apple Pay support.

Scott Ludlam's Australian game industry feels
The best politician Australia has, Scott Ludlam, has a guest post up on Kotaku Australia, explaining why he was hanging out at PAX this year. Ludlam understands that the video game industry in Australia used to be great, then it died and it should come back again as it's a great way to boost our economy and play to our strengths as an educated, talented and rich society. Not just that, but as a way for Australians to tell Australian stories from an Australian point of view - just like how we subsidise our film industry, the video game industry deserves that same status.

Victorian government launches $60m startup fund with no details on what it'll be spent on
On the topic of government support, the Victorian state government has announced a $60m startup fund called LaunchVic. In an anemic press release, "LaunchVic will provide the right environment for entrepreneurs to develop, incubate and grow early-stage innovative businesses" and "LaunchVic will invest in core infrastructure, improve access to capital for local startups, advocate on Commonwealth legislation and regulation, as well as engage in startup events, campaigns, competitions and mentoring programs." That's it. That's all it says. What exactly is this bullshit that needs $60m worth of my taxes? Foosball tables? Artisan coffees? Bike racks? Over priced 27" Thunderbolt displays? I really don't know, fill me in here Victorian government. A website with a PDF listing the criteria for programs acceptable for a slice of that $60m would put my mind at ease that this isn't just meaningless pandering to a subset of voters.

NBN lowering CVC charges for RSPs
That's a lot of acronyms, lemme break it down for youse. NBN (that political football apparently bringing the country faster Internet), CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit) the pipe NBN owns that links your house to the ISPs infrastructure, RSP (Retail Service Provider) the people you pay to get Internet. For a proper explanation of how an RSP pays to use the NBN, check this out. The news today is that NBN is lowering what it costs RSPs for CVC - this is good for us because it hopefully means NBN plans are cheaper and RSPs are better able to handle congestion by not oversubscribing their CVCs to save money.


Motorola XT1550 Moto G 3rd gen for $270 during eBay's tech sale
I enjoy Motorola's Android phones because they're cheap, very close to stock Android and Motorola actaully release updates. The Moto G 3rd gen is the latest Moto G, with 4G support and a half decent camera. Here's the Ausdroid review. It's normally around $350-$330, but thanks to a sale on eBay, it's only $268.80 from The Good Guys. Excellent phone for anyone who doesn't need or can't justify a top of the line giant screened thing.

Online podcasting service, is out of beta
If you've ever tried to start a podcast, getting people in the same room and in front of a mic can be a pain in the arse. Using something like Skype works, but it sounds like a conference call, regardless of how fancy your microphone is. For some reason nobody has made a high quality version of Skype with low latency - until now. lets you record a high quality, multi-person podcast in your web browser. Give it a crack and let them know what you think - Reckoner helped test in its early days and the dev team is very receptive to feedback.

The story of iFixit's quest to make everything repairable
Besides fulfilling my dangerously expensive desire to open every Apple product I own, iFixit has helped me upgrade dozens of Macs with SSDs and crack open iPhones to replace batteries. It's an invaluable source of info when companies like Apple really don't want you doing even the most basic of repairs to their precious devices. The guy that started iFixit is profiled in this Motherboard story - I'm glad people like him exist. Without people that tinkers and try to fix things, we will end up like the morons in Idiocracy who forgot how to grow crops and that will be bad. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho however, maybe not so bad.

Later ferrets,

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.