The Sizzle

Issue 97 - Tuesday, 1st March 2016 - Ya Happy With That?

The Sizzle forum is going nicely, with 57 people signing up just in the one day, about a third of all paid subscribers. Heaps of posts too, way more than I thought would happen in just the first 24 hours. So even if you don't feel like, or have time to post, you might still enjoy reading the discussions of some smart and insightful people. Or, don't even bother, The Sizzle newsletter still remains what it is when you signed up to it.


Judge in NY agrees Apple shouldn't have to unlock iPhones
All eyes have been on Apple's case with the FBI to get the iPhone of one of the people involved in the San Bernardino "terrorist" attack. But Apple has actually been fighting a few of these cases around the USA and today, one such case in New York has ended up in Apple's favour. U.S. Magistrate James Orenstein said that the All Writs Act, the same being used in the San Bernardino case, does not apply here. Sanity prevails! Let's hope more judges see it this way - however I doubt it'll make the American security apparatus any less keen to get Apple to do its bidding.

Telstra giving out 200GB of OneDrive storage & free AFL/NRL season passes
Telstra customer for your phone or broadband? Grab 200GB of free OneDrive storage. Telstra customer for your mobile? Get a free one year subscription to the AFL or NRL live streaming service. Don't forget Telstra's offer of Apple Music for 12 months. Even though I'm a Telstra customer, I'm not rushing to grab these. I already have 1TB of OneDrive storage (Office365), I give Foxtel $60 (now to be $61) a month to watch the North Melbourne Kangaroos win all their games this season in 1080p HD on my TV (the quality of Foxtel and Telstra's AFL internet stream is appalling) and Apple Music is crap (in my opinion) compared to Spotify. Still tho, free stuff, woo.

Optus might sack 1000 staff, also might implement network level ad blocking
Optus has denied it wants to cut 1000 jobs to save money, despite leaked internal documents saying otherwise. Wouldn't surprise me if they did though - telco competition is fierce and if Optus can trim some fact and save some bucks, maybe they should. Also in filthy rumours about Optus, they're debating to follow 3 UK's lead and engage in extorting cash from advertisers to be white-listed on the Optus network's ad-blocking system. Let's see how this goes, maybe it'll be good? If it could be done for fixed line connections (i.e: ADSL, NBN), that would be very interesting.

One of Google's self-driving cars hit a bus
On the 14th of Feb, one of Google's self-driving cars hit a bus in the Mountain View area - the first time such a vehicle has been at fault in an accident. From the article, "the Google car was waiting at an intersection to turn right when it encountered several sand bags blocking the lane. When the light turned green, the car moved left to avoid the bags, then struck a public bus coming from behind" and "the test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google [autonomous vehicle] to continue." - luckily it wasn't a school bus full of fragile children and the vehicles were in a narrow one lane road next to a deep canyon, hey?

Raspberry Pi 3 is official
Just a few hours after I sent out yesterday's issue of The Sizzle, the Raspberry Pi foundation formally announced the release of the new Raspberry Pi 3. Just like what was sent to the FCC, it has 802.11n wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.1 support and is in the usual form factor we all know and love. The CPU got a decent upgrade as well, now running at 1.2GHz and with 64-bit support. One of these running Remix OS (Android for the desktop) or CloudReady (Chrome OS) might be fun.


Finally, a way to go shopping in meatspace and minimise encountering pesky humans
This bloke in Sweden set up a convenience store that you register an account with, that uses your phone to unlock the door and pay for items. Enter the store by opening the app when you're close, then just point your phone's camera at the barcode of whatever you want to buy - all the goods are charged to your account. If there's stuff missing, they know who's in the store as they have your account details because it's the only way to get in. I dunno if I'm too keen to have the exact time and date I entered and left a store. That sort of metadata is a bit too creepy for me, even if probably can be done now with the copious amounts of CCTV around the joint.

Dell XPS 12 Review
I'm a fan of the Dell XPS 13 and 15, so I figured that the new 12" is worth a look and stumbled across this review. It's basically a Microsoft Surface, HP Spectre X2 or a Lenovo Helix 2 style laptop/tablet, running a Core m5 CPU. Looks good, but the hinge that isn't a hinge looks a bit shit as it's stuck in a fixed position and doesn't actually close all that well. I like the portability of the Core m CPUs and their performance is pretty good considering the small TDP. If I was the market for a 2-in-1 machine, I'd give this a close look.

ASCII Cinema - YouTube for CLIs
While setting up the new Sizzle forum, I saw a website that uses ASCII Cinema. It's like YouTube, but for command line recordings. Instead of creating a full MP4 video of a screen that's just ASCII characters, install asciicinema on your box, launch it to start recording and it sends your commands off to their servers where they can be played back in a little embeddable window. The great thing is, you can even copy and paste out of the replay, unlike a video. If you have asciicinema installed, you can even replay it on your own command line! What a nifty service.

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!