The Sizzle

Issue 41 - Monday 30th November, 2015 - I'm Invincible

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Amazon shows off latest version of it's delivery drone
Amazon has been experimenting with delivery drones as part of their Prime Air program, for almost two years now. Their first attempt was a quadcopter that grabs the parcel from a Amazon warehouse and flies to you. Amazon's just shown off a new prototype drone that uses horizontal rotors to take off and land and a vertical rotor to move forward. The parcel is stored inside a hatch rather than hanging off it with a clamp. Looks nifty and it'd be awesome to one day, order something online and have it arrive within 30 minutes. Not that any of this matters, as we don't have Amazon in this godforsaken country and our local retailers can't even get online shopping right (have you seen Woolworth's and Wesfarmer's websites?), let alone a drone.

Kids tech company, VTech, comprehensively hacked
VTech make weird electronics designed for kids. As part of that device business, they ran an app store so kids can grab apps that don't waste their time with things aren't educational. It was very poorly secure and has been hacked. 4.8 million unique customer records with things like full names and addresses, passwords and password hints and answers are now out in the public domain. What's worse is that the children's names and birthdates are also leaked, so unintentionally, children's data could be used against them in the future. VTech did pretty much everything wrong with their pathetic security practices and made this leak so easy - shame on them.

LG invests heavily into OLED factory
No doubt OLED displays kick massive amounts of arse. If you've ever seen a demo model at JB or Good guys, you know that they look wonderful, finally giving us a display that can show rich deep blacks and high contrast colours, accurately. LG are the leaders in OLED tech and have invested over US$8b in a new factory to mass produce OLED displays in South Korea. Unfortunately products won't roll out of the factory until 2018, so I'll need to wait a bit longer until I can get an 85" 4K OLED display, hopefully, for around A$3000. Maybe even a 120" for $5000. Yeah, 120" TV would be so awesome. Even a 38" curved OLED UHD monitor for around $1000 would be fantastic too.

25 years of ARM processors
There's probably something containing ARM's intellectual property in your hand right now, or if not in your hand, in your house. Maybe even in your car. There could be half a dozen things in your house using a microprocessor ARM designed. ARM's been around for 25 years as of this week and The Guardian has taken a step back to look at the things the UK's most successful tech company has achieved. London's Science Museum (fucking awesome museum if you're ever in London) has a small video about the original ARM1 and the origin story of ARM.

AIMIA goes into administration after over 20 years representing the Australian digital industry
A few of you have probably heard of AIMIA, but for those that haven't, it was one of the more prominent bodies representing digital marketing stuff in Australia. It ran workshops, networking events and conferences explaining how the Internet works to a bunch of people, hosted awards nights where things like marketing websites and apps were given pats on the back and sometimes worked with governments to go "hey we're a thing". AIMIA is winding up after failing to generate enough money to keep paying its staff and rent and will ask its members to close it down on December 21st.


GoTenna - create an adhoc network where there is none
GoTenna is a pretty classy solution to a problem of needing to communicate easily when there's no mobile phone coverage. The small, lightweight and rugged antenna pairs to your smartphone over Bluetooth and communicates with other GoTennas within range, using the GoTenna app. They're using the 151-154MHz range and will apparently provide about 2km of range in an urban environment and 8km of range in a sparse area. It's also tested by some American emergency services as a very easy way to establish communications in a disaster scenario where the normal mobile networks are either overloaded or out of action. It's like a walkie-talkie, but instead of speaking and sound, it's text messages. US$199 a pair tho and ACMA might not like you transmitting at 2W on 151MHz-154MHz without a licence.

What it's like to be a media company's piracy scapegoat
Remember Oink's Pink Palace? Not a strip club, but a hugely popular music torrent site that had almost every album imaginable. It was shut down by the BPI and because they were able to get a fancy lawyer who got the people behind it off with pretty much no consequences. Not long after that, a relatively unknown website, Dancing Jesus, which also shared links to music was shut down by the BPI and its owner criminally charged with copyright infringement. The two guys behind it didn't have fancy lawyers and got chucked into jail for almost 2 years. Now they're out and telling their story about how the music industry and the copyright cartel gained unjustifiable punishment powers to totally fuck them over.

The weird ways people interact with technology totally not how it was designed
Go to the iOS App Store and look at the reviews for TripAdvisor. It's full of reviews of hotels and restaurants. People left reviews intended for Trip Advisor's reviewing system, on the App Store instead of the app. Benedict Evans has noticed that we've abstracted so much of technology that people have little to no understanding on how it works, so even for something as blindingly obvious as leaving a review in Trip Advisor, still confuses hundreds of people to the point where they end up placing their review on the App Store instead. If you ever needed proof that nerds are the vast minority on the Internet these days, here it is. The Internet's no longer our playground, we just have our own corner now, where we point and laugh at these people who struggle to use the things we created.

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.