The Sizzle

Issue 66 - Monday 18th January, 2016 - After All Is Said And Done


The ACCC slaps Exetel and Kogan
The ACCC has slapped around some notorious tech companies a few of you would be familiar with - Exetel and Kogan. Exetel made customers on 12 month contracts change plans, which the ACCC didn't like and has to reimburse those customers forced to change. Kogan paid a $32,400 penalty for jacking up the price on some monitors on eBay, then announcing a 20% off sale, giving the false impression of a huge saving. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

There's trouble in Bitcoin paradise
One of the main developers of the Bitcoin protocol has left, citing the community is now controlled by a handful of those with vested interests. Mike Hearn has published an explosive post outlining how he, as a crucial insider and key developer, feels that Bitcoin is a failed experiment. The central issue seems to be around changing the block size so that more transactions can take place, faster. A group of Chinese Bitcoin miners who control over 50% of the transaction power, don't want a thing to change, so they're refusing to use the new, faster protocol. This New York Times article explains things.

Apple might have to pay Europe US$8b in taxes
A European Commission investigation into US companies using places like Ireland as a tax dodge, could see Apple have to cough up US$8b in taxes it thought it didn't have to pay. The investigation won't be complete until March, and chances are Apple and the EC will come to some sort of settlement so Apple doesn't have to pay the full $8 billion. This news makes Tim Cook's "stfu we pay all our taxes, stop bringing it up" statement late last year, look even more naive.

Fuji's cool new cameras
Fuji has announced a swathe of new cameras that look like solid improvements to their popular line of enthusiasts cameras. The X-E2S is an update to the X-E2, keeping the same sensor but adding a new AF system and an electronic shutter. The X70 is a smaller version of the X100 that lacks the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, but keeps the same quality sensor, paired with a 28mm-equiv F2.8 lens instead of the 35mm-equiv from the X100. The new Fuji flagship mirrorless camera is the X-Pro2, with an all new sensor and AF system.

No crypto backdoors for France
The French have let sanity prevail in their post-terror attack attempts to impose backdoors into secure softare. The French deputy minister for digital affairs, Axelle Lemaire, said that "What you propose is vulnerability by design. It's inappropriate." - exactly the problem with the sort of backdoors governemnts like the USA and UK are so damn keen to implement.


John Romero designs and releases a Doom level WAD file in 2016
It's been over 22 years since any official levels or expansion packs have been released for the classic Doom videogame. A huge part of the Doom scene was making your own maps using a WAD editor - something that still happens to this day, with people making levels and sharing them on the Internet. What doesn't normally happen though, is John Romero, the original designer of the Doom levels we all know and love, deciding to get back in the saddle and release a new map for Doom! I might have to play this one.

Probably not gonna be a new Apple Watch any time soon
Apple's been pretty consistent in upgrading the iPad and iPhone on an almost yearly basis. Well it's getting close to a year since the Apple Watch had its debut and nerds around the world are thinking, "hmm, will there be a new one soon? what will it have? What will it look like?". Matthew Panzarino has hypothesised (rather smartly I reckon), that there won't be a new Apple Watch for quite a while. None of the usual new product signs are sticking out to Panzarino, so we'll just have to wait to see what Apple has in store for the Watch.

Robot baby nightmare material
To end today's Sizzle, here's a video of a creepy as fuck robot baby without its human emulating skin. Hope ya didn't read this before going to bed.

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!