The Sizzle

Issue 83 - Wednesday 10th February, 2016 - Tossing a Few More Cans of PAL Into the Dog's Breakfast


Most electronics companies suck at knowing what's going on in their supply chain
Baptist World Aid's 2016 electronic industry trends report has highlighted how poorly the workers who create the gadgets we know and love are treated. Companies like Hisense, Palsonic and Polarid received an F rating in the report, which means they don't disclose anything at all to the public about how the people involved in their products are treated. What struck me as sad is that not a single company, even those rated highly, could provide evidence that the workers involved are paid a living wage. No company managed to receive an A rating, with most brand name companies like Apple, Motorola and LG managing a B+.

Telstra unlocking the data pipe on Sunday to apologise for Tuesday's mishap
Telstra's network meltdown yesterday was confirmed to be caused by a network engineer who connected customers to a faulty "node" - 100% human error. I'm surprised such a human error can take place, but when it comes to networks, nothing really should surprise me. To apologise, Telstra is enabling 24 hour freeleech on the their mobile network this Sunday. Fire up hotspot mode and get downloading!

ANZ announces smartphone contactless payments app
The ANZ bank finally joins the smartphone payment bandwagon, launching ANZ Mobile Pay, which uses the NFC feature of some Android smartphones to let you replicate your existing cards on your phone. As someone with an AMEX and Apple Pay, this smartphone payment thing is really over-rated. It's only handy if you forget your wallet, day to day it's easier just to tap the plastic rather than get your phone out.

Gmail introducing notifications for unverified emails and bonus 2GB of free Drive storage
If you're a Gmail user and you get an email from someone who uses an email service that doesn't support TLS encryption, you'll get a little warning saying "hey, this may not be the person you think it is". It's not a foolproof method of preventing email fraud, but it's something. Google's also giving away an extra 2GB of Drive storage if you do a "security check-up" of your Google account

Firewatch game is out now on Steam & PS4
The much anticipated game Firewatch, from Santo Campo studios (who developed it in conjunction with Panic - the legendary Mac software developers), is now out and available to download on Steam or PS4. Early reviews indicate it's a must play. I might even take some time to enjoy this one and I don't play many games these days.


Wired offering an ad-free version of its site for $1/wk
You probably know I'm not a fan of advertising. The Sizzle is centred around you paying me and getting some hopefully useful and interesting words in return, instead of me launching a blog plastered in shit ads that annoy everyone and would probably generate less income anyways. Wired have seen the writing on the wall when it comes to a tech savvy audience using ad blockers and decided to charge $1/week in order to let regular readers put their money where their mouth is, instead of stealing revenue from them. Hopefully it goes well and other publications take note.

AirNZ's cool coffee ordering app
I'm a Qantas man through and through (possibly Stockholm syndrome induced loyalty) but I really like this Air New Zealand coffee ordering app. It's excruciatingly detailed in how you can order your coffee at an Air NZ lounge via your smartphone, Apple Watch or from an iPad near the barista station. I don't drink coffee but if I was in an Air NZ lounge, I'd grab one just to try this out. More things in life need to be like this. I shouldn't need to explain my preferences to a person ever.

A tour of Seagate's HDD testing lab
Seagate have had a bit of a rough patch lately, with some of their drives being notorious for dying prematurely. I guess in response to that, Seagate let Tom's Hardware into their Colorado based R&D lab, so they could see for themselves that Seagate tries really hard to make sure their products are reliable as can be. Classic PR move, but I'll take it in return for gawking at what Seagate does to test their drives. Heat chambers, drop test equipment, vibration tests and a giant firmware updating robot all look impressive.

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!