The Sizzle

Issue 95 - Friday, 26th February 2016 - Ran On To This Great Arena


Apple finally gets support from other tech companies against the FBI
Microsoft, Google and Facebook have been relatively quiet on the whole "government getting up in my shit" topic since Apple's open letter, but they eventually stood up and will each file an amicus brief (which is like a friend of the court thing) supporting Apple. Apple has filed their formal response to the FBI's request and as we could have guessed, have said they won't unlock the phone because law says they shouldn't have to and the law the FBI is using to make them doesn't apply here. On the 1st of March, Apple's head lawyer will speak at a congressional committee about this topic.

Foxconn to buy Sharp, almost
You may have heard yesterday that Foxconn (the people who manufacture lots of electronics, including the iPhone) was going to buy Sharp (once a Japanese electronics powerhouse, now just a collection of patents and uncompetitive manufacturing facilities). It was announced just after I sent yesterday's issue out so I didn't cover it in the Sizzle, which might be a good thing, as the deal is on hold as Foxconn received some new info about Sharp that might make it back out of the deal or change its offer.

Attempt to improve NBN's operational transparency fails
Considering how much tax money is spent on the NBN, it's very difficult to get information about what exactly they're doing out of the government corporation. To fix this, an amendment to some legislation was approved by the Senate to make the NBN reveal more of it's rollout data and financial info. It was blocked by the House of Representatives. Whenever more transparency is knocked back, its always because someone has something to hide and is never a good thing.

Microsoft confirms its attempt to port Android apps to Windows isn't gonna happen
Microsoft's main problem with its mobile platform efforts is the range and quality of apps. While there's loads of desktop apps for Windows, there's only a handful of quality ones for Windows smartphones and tablets. Developers just love iOS and Android. In an attempt to fix this issue, Microsoft announced Project Astoria last year as a way to run Android apps on Windows smartphones. I thought it sounded too good to be true and unfortunately, I was right. Microsoft did just announce that it purchased Xamarin though, producer of an IDE that allows apps written in C# to run on multiple platforms.

The Ultranet IBAC hearing continues to expose significant bullshit
People that worked for the Victorian Department of Education purchased shares in CSG, then a shitty IT provider, whilst on the board of the Ultranet project that just happened to pick CSG to deliver the $240m+ project across Victorian schools. Wow, what a coincidence. What shits me even more is that these rat fucks don't even care they were under investigation. Suspecting they were being recorded, one genius in the group said on the phone, "Fuck them, fuck them, we've done nothing wrong. Jesus Christ. You're allowed to have a life" - what a great attitude to have when you're responsible for the education of our state's children.


DSE clearance has begun & Myer 10% off Macs
The time to feast on Dick Smith's retail carcass has begun. Currently DSE stores are offering tame deals (20-30% off) whatever stock is left, but the real cheap stuff will happen closer to the liquidators deadline, which is apparently in 8 weeks. I'd hang out a little longer if I wasn't in desperate need of anything. If you want a Mac though, head to Myer, who have 10% off Macs & iPhones this Saturday.

The Australian National Address File is now freely available to use
A list of every single address in Australia is now free for anyone to use. Previously the list maintained by PSMA, a company formed by the state governments to collate this info, used to cost a fair bit of money for someone to licence. The government realised this probably holds back companies from being agile and innovative, so they're now distributing and maintaining G-NAF under Creative Commons, for free. PSMA has a little video about what G-NAF is and why it's a good thing.

To parity, or not to parity, that is the question
This is a pretty niche topic, but some of you might find it interesting. When building a file server, you need to determine what sort of storage redundancy you're going to implement. Sometimes it is no redundancy, sometimes it is a lot. But often you want a good mix of using all the available space in the array and making sure your data isn't toast if a drive fails. This blog post I stumbled across explains how making a mirror of a drive is better than parity, even if it does eat up 50% of your storage.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!