The Sizzle

Issue 79 - Thursday, 4th February 2016 - Knockers

Just thought I'd share that The Sizzle has hit 150 paid subscribers! A nice milestone to have achieved after starting up in October 2015. It's still a pretty small number though, so if you know anyone that would benefit from The Sizzle, tell them to subscribe! Get on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social network you can think of and share a link to


Yahoo! still circling the drain in 2016
Yahoo! has decided to sack a further 15% of its workforce after declaring it lost US$4.4b last quarter. It admitted that they overpaid for Tumblr (which it purchased for US$1bn) and will close a bunch of offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan. I have no idea what Yahoo really does these days, so yeah. If it disappeared maybe all I'd miss is Flickr and Tumblr, which could easily be spun off into their own independent companies and live happily ever after. It's probably time to have a fire sale of the good stuff and put Yahoo out of its misery.

EU and USA crank out an agreement about data privacy
This is a super boring and dry topic, but it's important. The EU-US had an agreement called "data safe harbour" because the EU has tight data privacy laws which disallow sending EU citizen's info outside the EU and the EU wanted to make sure that all these US companies sucking up EU citizen's data try to adhere to EU rules instead of US rules. But then Edward Snowden happened and the EU didn't trust American companies to protect EU data properly. Now there's a new agreement that apparently addresses this problem, but the text of the agreement isn't available yet.

The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership was signed in an Auckland casino today
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know that the TPP is a thing and unfortunately, the TPP has forged ahead despite any and all criticism. It was signed in an Auckland casino (yeah, a casino, haha) today by 12 of the member countries, including Australia. We still don't really know what impact the TPP will have on the tech area, but the EFF have a good outline of why they think the TPP is a threat to Internet freedom and I wanted to use the signing of the TPP as an excuse to bring it up again, even if most people don't seem to care. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, etcetera, etcetera.

Patent troll VirnetX might get US$626m from Apple
VirnetX is a classic patent troll, who does nothing except own a few VPN related patents and goes around lodging lawsuits against companies it feels is infringing against its patent, like Cisco and Microsoft. Apple is the latest target and in an East Texas court (as it always is), a jury found Apple guilty of infringing on all VirtnetX's patents and has to give them US$625.6m. Apple plans to appeal it and good luck to them.

Evernote to stop fucking around with selling socks and scanners
Once upon a time, someone at Evernote thought a great way to generate some revenue would be to sell stuff - essentially operate a retail arm out of Evernote, selling products Evernote users might like. Some of those products included branded socks, expensive document scanners and fancy paper notepads. All that's over now, so Evernote can focus on making its core product the best it can be. Hopefully they start with 100% reliable syncing. That'd be a good thing to aim for I reckon.


Google employee builds his own smart mirror
I'd hate to be so time poor that I have to scavenge for news and weather whilst brushing my teeth or taking a shit, but Google employee Max Braun felt the need to get that info direct to his bathroom mirror. So he stuck an Amazon Fire TV, hooked up to an LCD, behind a two way mirror and got it to display what's essentially Google Now. It does look cool, I will admit that much.

Very cool Simpsons quote & screenshot search engine
There's never a life moment that a Simpsons screenshot can't accurately reflect how I'm feeling, so to have a search engine where I can type in a few words from The Simpsons and have the screenshot appear, is well, the best use of technology we can hope for. Frinkiac collected every frame from every episode of the Simpsons and tied it together with the captions, to create a searchable database of quotes and images. It is glorious.

Why do companies like LG and Sony make smartphones even though they generate bugger all profit?
It's no secret that everyone making Android smartphones also makes no profits on them, except Samsung. So why do all these large multinational companies bother pumping out smartphone after smartphone, losing money each time? Pride, essentially. A company like LG or Sony actually make most of the guts of smartphones and they want to show off those components and their general manufacturing prowess, as smartphones are one of the most complicated consumer electronics products to develop and produce.

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!