The Sizzle

Issue 67 - Tuesday, 19th January 2016 - Hi! This is Warwick Capper!


Way too many government departments asking for warrant-less access to our metadata
Remember how the government is collecting all our communications metadata? That's totally still a thing and according to a freedom of information request, almost every government agency under the sun wants access to this valuable information. In the request, departments such as Australia Post, the Clean Energy Regulator, Bankstown City Council, the National Measurement Institute (the people responsible for the scales at the supermarket!) and over 60 others, think they deserve warrant-less access to our metadata. The EFA has given their sensible opinion on this crazy situation.

WhatsApp removes 99c annual fee and looks for other ways to monetise its 990m users
The CEO of WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) has said that it will drop the 99c annual subscription fee and plans to entice more advertising and paid services so businesses can communicate with customers/WhatsApp users. WhatsApp has 990 million users, making it a pretty lucrative target for businesses, whenever WhatsApp explains what it is businesses can do exactly.

Some details on how Amazon's drone delivery service might work
David Pogue has snagged an exclusive interview with Paul Misener, Amazon's VP of global public policy, who shares some more details on Amazon's drone delivery plans. It seems like the main thing holding Amazon back from rolling this out sooner rather than later is the FAA. The technology itself is still a bit raw, but progressing very quickly. Of course, we won't see any of this in Australia as Amazon still hasn't bothered to set up shop here. I doubt Australia Post will bother with drone delivery any time soon (even though they should).

SpaceX crashes another Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the sea
SpaceX has once again tried to land the Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the sea, but unfortunately, it also failed again, by the slightest of margins. While the rocket landed on the ship's platform, one of the rocket's legs that holds it up, failed to lock into place and the rocket fell and exploded. Check out the video Elon Musk posted to Instagram, of the rocket tipping over and exploding.

Melbourne Health's pathology lab hit by a "virus" because it still runs the very obsolete Windows XP
We all knew this day would come. The day when something very important to people's lives is ruined because some shitcunt bean counter or manager or garden variety dickhead didn't want to, or was technically incapable of upgrading from Windows XP before Microsoft ditched support for it. The Royal Melbourne Hospital/Melbourne Health's pathology department was infected by a "virus" (the article was written by the health reporter, not a tech reporter) that's taken down the lab's reporting system, making staff manually process and inform all the lab results. I hope the people responsible for this are made responsible some how.


A photo essay of Fuji's camera and lens manufacturing process
The Verge has a cool photo essay on how Fuji makes its cameras and lenses. Japanese manufacturing at its best. No doubt a nice bit of promo to tie in to Fuji's new products announced yesterday, but interesting none the less.

Microsoft's Solitaire was made by a dude in 1988 working as an intern
Microsoft's version of Solitaire, the game bored office workers around the world killed time with before the Internet, was made by a summer intern Wes Cherry. It was first included in Windows 2.1 and Wes made it on his own time in 1988 whilst on a summer internship at Microsoft. He was also responsible for making the Pipe Dream game that Microsoft included in one of those Windows Entertainment packs. He posted on Reddit to clarify how he ended up making such a popular game.

Review of the new Cherry Trail based Intel Compute Stick
Anandtech has a review of the new Cherry Trail based Intel Compute Stick announced at CES just a few days ago. It uses a measly 5W playing back HTML5 video on YouTube and only 3-4W streaming off Netflix. Idle it's just sips under 3W. Looks like it'd make an excellent TV computer. Intel has even made a smartphone app that lets you use your phone as a remote for the Compute Stick.

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!