The Sizzle

Issue 123 - Monday, 11th April 2016 - Borgust


NBN gives Telstra $1.6bn to fix the HFC network
NBN gave Telstra $11bn for its phone and HFC network in 2014. It gave them $150m to lead the FTTN pilot last year. Now NBN will give Telsra $1.6bn to fix the HFC network in the areas it's not up to scratch. Let's not forget those leaks that the Optus HFC network will probably be overbuilt, making the $800m the government spent on buying the Optus HFC network money down the drain and where most of this $1.6bn will go. The HFC rollout begins in June and NBN expects to be able to hook up 10,000 premises in Brisbane. Meanwhile, the ACCC are sniffing around to make sure Telstra doesn't have any competitive advantage in reselling HFC services on the NBN.

SpaceX successfully landed a rocket on a drone ship in the ocean
Elon Musk's SpaceX exists to get stuff up into space on the cheap, utilising re-usable rockets. Part of that strategy is the ability to land that rocket anywhere on the globe, including the ocean. SpaceX have tried a few times get their rocket to line up with a remote controlled barge adn land safely - they finally achieved that on the weekend. Here's a video of the feat posted by Elon Musk on Twitter, then deleted not long after. Here's the full 30 min video of launch and take off. Here it is in bitchin' 4K.

LG G5 reviews - it's okay, I guess
Reviews of the LG G5 are coming in, from The Verge, Android Authority and Ars Technica. It seems like the phone is ok and the slide in accessories that look kinda useful. The phone itself is a Snapdragon 820, so it performs well, but the skin LG put over Android 6.0 is a bit crap. The dual camera system is simply a 16MP camera and an 8MP camera with a wider lens, which neither of are as good as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S7. A few reviewers had issues with the build quality, noticing construction issues that didn't match the price point. The Verge reckons it'll be useful if 3rd parties get onboard and make accessories, but if they don't, there's better smartphones out there for the money.

Microsoft's new Translator app brings us a step closer to the Babelfish
We're getting closer to the Babelfish, people! Microsoft has released a new version of its Translator app for iOS, that now works offline. It supports 43 languages and will translate text you type in, text off a photo, or whatever you speak into the mic. There's a conversation feature that splits the screen in half and it'll translate what you say into the other language on one side, then on the other side, it'll do the reverse, so you could technically have a conversation.

As of today Australia doesn't make appliances
Not precisely tech related, but the Electrolux factory in Orange, NSW, closed down today. It lasted 70s years churning out fridges, but finally succumbed to globalisation in 2013 when Electrolux announced the closure. The ABC has a photo gallery of the people who worked there and what they did. Air conditioners, fridges, ovens and the like were the gadgets of their time, electromechanical wonders from companies like Sharp and Pioneer and Samsung that later on lead to the tiny little computer things we use now. If I was around in the 50s and 60s, no doubt I would have started a paper newsletter outlining the latest news on appliances to help our wives and mums keep the house clean.


When you absolutely, positively, need to have the most threads in the room
With the relatively stagnant pace of CPU tech, what was top of the line 3 years ago, is still pretty damn quick. When all those servers are decommissioned, the parts become worth a fraction of what they were. Realising this, Techspot built a 32-thread (16 core) box using two E5-2670 CPUs that is a video encoding beast, for only a few hundred bucks. The LGA2011 platform is still kicking on!

Man drops a frozen iPhone SE 100ft and you'll never guess what happens next
This guy froze an iPhone SE in a ball of ice and dropped it 100 feet. I feel like a chump for watching this, as it's blatant YouTube viewing bait and one step removed from "Ow my balls", but I couldn't resist. Surprisingly, it worked perfectly whilst in the freezer and after the 100ft drop.

AM radios don't work in electric cars, talkback radio fans shattered
Did you know that electric cars don't have AM radios? The electric motors in the BMW i3 and Tesla Model X interfere with the AM radio frequency due to the supply of power turning on and off thousands of times a seconds, causing electromagnetic interference on the AM band. As someone who listens to Radio National in the car all the time, this is devastating. Guess I'll be using more mobile data to listen to the RN stream when I eventually own an EV.

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!