The Sizzle

Issue 100 - Friday, 4th March 2016 - Okay, Want Me To Hit It?

Can you believe there's been 100 issues of this thing? You'd think it was good or something!

Thanks to everyone who's subscribed, special thanks to everyone who has gone out of their way to tell their friends about The Sizzle and an even bigger thanks to everyone who's let me bounce ideas off them or given me feedback about this silly little newsletter. You've all indulged me far too much than I deserve.

Oh and cheers Lauren for the random home delivered sausages - I'm gonna sizzle em up tonight!


Dick Smith liquidating everything - including customer details
Unsurprisingly, Dick Smith is selling everything they can in order to repay their vast amount of creditors. What they're getting rid of isn't limited to stock and store fittings, but also includes their intellectual property. Stuff like the Dick Smith brand (worth approx 50c I assume), trademarks (all those dick jokes gotta be worth something) and interestingly, Dick Smith's customer database. I'm not sure of the legalities of this, but I assume whoever buys the customer database is gonna make the most of it by sending the entrants all sorts of special offers they never agreed to get, but probably did as it was buried in the fine print somewhere.

Intel is getting in on the VR headset game, while Oculus bags Apple
Intel decided they need to be part of the virtual reality hype currently gripping the tech industry. The Wall Street Journal has "leaked" that they're probably gonna chuck in some of their fancy RealSense 3D camera tech into a helmet and something something, VR, wearable, profit? Meanwhile, Palmer Luckey, Occulus's main dude, has said that the Rift will work on a Mac whenever Apple releases a decent computer - which some people interpreted a fully sick burn on the world's largest corporation.

Amazon have a new way to use Alexa, not that it matters
This is relatively useless here in Australia, but has been big news on US tech sites, so I thought it'd mention it anyways. You probably saw the Amazon Echo - a Bluetooth speaker that you can shout at to get stuff done with Amazon's personal assistant, Alexa. Now they've released the Dot, a smaller version of the Echo which can be plugged in to a proper set of speakers for playing music. It's US$89 (the Echo is US$179), but you can only buy one if you already have an Echo. Which is still irrelevant to us as you can't buy an Echo here, nor can you really use anything serious Amazon does here either. Boo.

Apple starts offering official support on Twitter
You can now Tweet your rants towards Apple and they might actually listen, as they launched @AppleSupport on Twitter today. They operate between 5AM to 8PM San Francisco time and when they're not responding to your stupid questions (PEBCAK, always), they're posting useful tips and tricks, which kinda make it worth following just for that I reckon. Tech support in 140 characters is so painful, good luck to the poor sods enlisted to operate this social media account.

J.J Abrams is making a web series following the Google Lunar XPRIZE
I have no idea how J.J Abrams is so damn productive, but now he's been enlisted by Google to document the progress of the teams entered into Google's Lunar XPRIZE. The Lunar XPRIZE will give $30m of prizes to whoever is first to put a rover on the moon that can go 500m and send back high res photos of where it's been. The Moon Shot documentary series follows the various teams and all nine episodes will hit YouTube on March 17.


21st century high sea piracy
Pirates were actually once people that stole shit from boats in the ocean, not just cheapskates wanting to watch Game of Thrones. Pirates like that still exist, but these days they hack in to shipping company systems, check out the shipping routes, see what's on each boat and record the container number they want. Armed with a barcode scanner, they transfer the high value loot onto their ship at gunpoint and can be in and out in a matter of minutes, instead of spending hours taking containers at random, hoping there's good stuff inside. Grab the Verizon Data Breach Digest (good reading for infosec dorks) for more detail on how they've noticed pirates doing this.

Xiaomi Redmi 3 review - $150 phone that's pretty awesome
What excites me more about smartphones these days is what manufacturers are able to do at ever lower price points. Just in the space of a few years, there's a raft of devices around $300-$400 that are perfectly usable. Now Xiaomi has lowered that bar to AU$150 with the Redmi 3 - a phone as good as any except the top of the line flagships for a quarter of the price. Has a decent camera and a metal body. UI doesn't lag and it supports LTE. I can't wait to see what you'll get for US$100 in a year from now.

Jason's Macintosh Museum
It's probably not a surprise to most of you that I have a penchant for old Apple computers, so finding this guy's YouTube channel was a little exciting. Jason, who I assume lives in Australia as his accent is Australian, shows off the collection of old Apple gear he's collected over the past 15 years. Lovely 15-20 minute monologues, seemingly off the top of his head, professing his love for each and every beige box. I love everything about this - the location he shoots them (looks like my aunt's spare bedroom circa 1995 where I had to sleep once when my parents weren't getting along), the dorky intro with all the startup tones, the machines he's picked and the genuine enthusiast vibe he gives off. I love ya Jason, keep it up buddy.

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!