The Sizzle

Issue 56 - Monday 4th January, 2016 - Don't Go Near Him


Detailed analysis of FTTP vs FTTN NBN shows that fibre is better value
At this point, any sort of exercise to prove that the NBN's approach sucks, is futile. But that didn't stop Richard Ferrers, a research data analyst at Monash Uni who has a PhD in Technology Innovation Management. He was able to use NBN's own figures to compare what it spent on fibre and what it plans to spend on copper and found out that fibre is $220/yr cheaper to run per connection and generates $10/m more revenue than copper. So while the up front cost may be higher for fibre, the long term outcomes are far superior for fibre.

Lenovo spews out a bunch of updated Thinkpads
Lenovo's updated almost the entire Thinkpad lineup for CES. The X1 Carbon retains its status as Lenovo's lightest and thinnest unit with the rest of the products (like the L560, T460p, T560, Thinkpad 13 and other well known and not at all confusing nomenclatures) getting relatively minor spec bumps. The special stuff is in the new Thinkpad X1 tablet. It's a Surface-type tablet/laptop with a Core m CPU, which is nothing spectacular. What is special however is its modular capabilities - a series of addons that clip on to the back of the tablet and give the X1 different features like a RealSense 3D camera, or a bigger battery or a built in projector.

Quickflix still alive
Quickflix, the eternal also ran of the Australian video streaming market, managed to scrounge $7m of cash from a few rights owners that owed 'em money and fight off insolvency for a few more months. Quickflix also announced that they plan issue 51m options for shares on the ASX soon. Whoever buys shares in Quickflix is a brave human being or a total sadist. They do have 752,000 registered devices apparently, so that's something, I guess.

Trading halt on Dick Smith shares
Speaking of beleaguered companies, Dick Smith are free-falling to the point where they've asked the ASX to stop trade in its shares until it can make announcement as to what the hell it's going to do regarding financing its growing debt. That announcement is expected on Jan 6th. According to experts, it's very likely DSE will collapse. Personally, I hope it leads to gigantic liquidation sales so I can score some bargains on stuff I don't really need, but at 90% off, can't resist.

Amaysim buys Vaya for $70m - creates cheapskate MVNO monolith
Low cost MVNO Amaysim has given Vaya, an even lower cost MVNO, $20m, paid off the $50m debt Vaya owes Optus and plans to use Vaya as a 2nd brand for those who didn't find Amaysim cheap enough (aka, ultra cheapskates like moi). Vaya has 140,000 customers and also operate the Live Connected and Zen Connect brands, all reselling the Optus 4G network. Apparently Amaysim likes the no-frills online only model of Vaya and plans to take use of its overseas call centre.


Beamer is a really easy way to send stuff from your Mac to a Chromecast or Apple TV
Got a Chromecast and want a hassle free way to stream MKVs you downloaded off the Internet from your Mac to your TV? Beamer is what you want. It also works with the Apple TV and supports practically every video format you'll encounter and even subtitles. The trial supports 15 min of video and the full version is AU$27.99. Which is actually more than I paid for my Chromecasts, but this app does a bang up job of playing videos with no fuss.

A free eBook about CSIRAC
Still on holidays and looking for something extremely nerdy to read? Museum Victoria has a free eBook about CSIRAC, Australia's first computer. The 5MB PDF gives you way 150 pages info on how CSIRAC works, who used it and what it did for computing in Australia. Possibly a good read if you're into this sort of stuff - the ultimate in retro computing.

Cheapest price for the Nexus 5X I've seen
Harvey Norman is selling the 32GB Nexus 5X for $598, which can be taken down a further $25 by signing up for their email newsletter, bringing the total price to $573. Not bad, not bad at all. I'm still so tempted to sell my iPhone 6s, use the Nexus 5x full time and chuck the difference on to paying off my credit cards, but I think I'm suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with the iPhone and I'm too scared to not have an iPhone in my pocket at all times.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends to sign up for a free trial at!