The Sizzle

Issue 59 - 7th January, 2016 - Stay Away From Him

In yesterday's issue I mentioned some new Xiamoi heaphones, but thanks to the keen observation of Tom Izaks on Twitter, I now know that I linked to the wrong pair on DealExtreme. The new model isn't available outside Asia yet. The ones on DealExtreme I linked to are the old model. I'm not sure where you can buy the new model without getting stung with a fake, sorry :(


Oculus Rift pre-orders begin for the retail consumer version
The much hyped Oculus Rift is now available for pre-order. It'll set you back US$649 (for some reason it's US$649 in Australia, but US$599 in the USA), plus shipping. Expect to pay about AU$1000 landed for it. If you order now, the Oculus Rift will likely arrive in May, even though they start shipping March 28th. You'll need a beastly Windows PC too - top of the line graphics cards are required. An expensive proposition, but if anyone will shell out big bucks for a little bit of fun, it's cashed up gamers. I hope the Oculus is everything they hope and dream for. Everyone who backed an Oculus developer kit on Kickstarter all those years ago will be given a proper retail Oculus for free.

Netflix expands to every country in the world except those the US govt doesn't like (and China)
Netflix has announced at CES that it now operates in every country on earth except China (due to the Chinese government), North Korea, Syria and Crimea (due to US government export restrictions). That's quite impressive. Netflix shares appropriately jumped 9% at this news that Netflix is further cementing its place as the best online streaming service. Using a VPN to impersonate being from a different country to access a different Netflix library has never been more handy.

The Chevy Bolt is coming - 300km range for under $45k
I've been a little bit too interested in the Chevy Bolt, a little car from GM who usually make very average vehicles. The Bolt was announced a while ago at the Detroit motor show but today at CES it's confirmed that yes, they're making it (in the US of A), it'll cost under US$30,000 (~$45,000) and have a 200 mile range (~320km). A few people were allowed to drive one - Ars Technica, The Verge, Auto Blog, Motor Trend and Mashable. Props to GM to taking the lead on this. They look to be the furthest along in the "electric car for people that aren't rich" market. Also, this car was designed in Melbourne!

Intel's NUC and Compute Stick get a refresh
Intel announced a bunch of stuff at CES, but the Interesting stuff I saw was info on the NUC and the Compute Stick. The NUC (the little computers Intel sells) will apparently be receiving a 45W quad-core CPU and Iris Pro integrated graphics with a Thunderbolt 3 port. This could end up being a little gaming box for the living room, perfect for Steam. Intel has also refreshed its Compute Stick, giving the glorified HDMI dongle a Core m3 or m5 CPU, improving performance over the Atom CPU used in previous generations significantly - but also increasing the price (those Core m CPUs aren't cheap).

Lumosity fined $2m for misleading advertising -is snake oil placebo trash
If you're a avid watcher of day time TV, you've probably seen all the ads for Lumosity, promising to make you smarter than Einstein whilst just playing a few fun games. Well surprise, that's bullshit. The US Federal Trade Commission has fined Lumosity US$2m for misleading advertising, as Lumosity couldn't back up their claims with any real science. They were also fined $50m for "harming consumers", but the fine is suspended as Lumosity hasn't got $50m. Interesting concept.


RemixOS - Android designed for the desktop
This looks really, really cool. Some ex-Google employees have taken advantage of the Android-X86 project and made a quite slick looking version of Android OS for regular x86 based PCs called RemixOS. They also sell a bunch of hardware, but the reason I'm interested is that it'll run on any old shitbox PC and support the entire range of Android apps. It's coming out mid-Jan and you can bet you arse I'll chuck it on an old C2D E8400 box and see how it runs. With a speedy USB 3.0 flash drive (some read & write at SSD speeds, like the Corsair Voyager GTX), you could turn this into a very nice portable OS.

Magic+, an SMS concierge service for those with more money than time
Magic+ is the on demand servant you wish you had and could afford. Designed predominately for rich people, you simply send an SMS to Magic+ with what you want, (e.g: "I need a plane ticket to Mexico and a helicopter ride to the airport") and a bunch of people on the other end make that happen, charging you $100/hr for the service, on top of whatever it is you want done, costs. Think of it like a personal concierge - no question too dumb, too big or too lazy.

Mac Classic II, Raspberry Pi, RTL SDR, MQTT & ADS-B
This guy hacked up an Apple Mac Classic II with a Raspberry Pi, an RTL based radio and runs dump1090 on it to get info of planes flying in the area via their ADS-B radios. He hooked that up to an MQTT server which has a whole bunch of info about planes and displays a picture and stats on the Mac's screen. I love this and really should replicate it at home.

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!