The Sizzle

Issue 128 - Monday, 18th April 2016 - Whole Lotta Sporking Going On

Hello everyone! My footy team is undefeated at top of the ladder (go roos), the sun is shining and I found a $20 note in an old pair of jeans. What a time to be alive!


Australia Post to unleash drones in outer-west Melbourne
Australia Post put on a dog and pony show late Friday arvo with a rather mundane looking quadcopter drone and a small parcel. Apparently this is the beginning of the future of our nationalised postal service. According to Aus Post, "a trial would use the drones to deliver parcels to 50 locations twice a week in an outer metropolitan location". Not much more info than that has been announced. Like how are you made aware you have a drone arriving? What if you're not home? Do you tell Aus Post you'll be home, so that's when you send the drone? How long does it take? I have so many questions. By the way, how funny is that pic of the Aus Post CEO looking at the drone with such wonder and confusion? It's very funny.

Opal to start trialling contactless card payments
Sydney's Opal public transport fare system is likely to be the first in Australia to accept contactless Visa and Mastercards instead of a government issued card. The NSW government will be trialling a system similar to London's, where you just tap your credit card on an Opal reader and away you go. No need to top up or even own an Opal - just charge your card directly. I used my Visa whilst in London just for shits and giggles (the FX fees will kill ya vs. Oyster) and it works really well. Hopefully Opal implements it in a similar fashion.

Intel announces Apollo Lake - cheapo 14nm CPU & platform
You know all those cheap laptops flying around with N3050 and Atom Z3735 CPUs (I wrote a thing about them)? They're about to get a bit more grunt for a bit less cash. Intel announced the Apollo Lake platform, which brings with it better graphics performance, better CPU performance, increased battery life due to overall platform power improvements and importantly for this product range, a lower bill of materials thanks to the integration of stuff that otherwise would need dedicated ICs (no USB hubs, no SD card reader chips, built in signal processors, etc.). Expect to see laptops using this platform mid-year at Computex.

Earthquake in southern Japan closes Sony's image sensor factory
The south of Japan has been hit by a pretty strong earthquake, which unfortunately, has damaged Sony's image sensor manufacturing plants in Kumamoto and Nagasaki. Sony is closing the plants for a few weeks to assess what's going on. This is particularly bad timing as these factories are where Apple will likely be sourcing the sensor for its new iPhone 7 from. About now production of the sensors would be ramping up to build a stockpile ofiPhones ahead of an late September launch.

LG Gram - 980g 15" screen laptop with a 15W CPU
LG has released a 15" version of its Gram line of laptops. It's a stupidly thin and light laptop with a 15", 1920x1080 screen. Only weighs 980g - that's the same as Apple's 12" MacBook. Uses 15W TDP CPUs (like a MacBook Air) and packs only 8GB of RAM (there's space for 16GB come on). It's expensive at ~US$1500 (around $2200 inc GST), but that's the price ya pay for thin. This, combined with the new HP Spectre and Dell XPS range, means Apple should be able to release a beauty of a new MacBook Air design at WWDC in June.


Even refugees need their smartphones
This short video from Arstechnica shows how refugees use their smartphones to survive and remain connected. Much like how the first thing I do when I get off the plane, as soon as the refugees have jumped off their rickety boats onto the shores of Greece, they whip out their phones to see what to do next. Apps like Facebook and Viber help them get in touch with their family and the phone allows them to communicate with the "smugglers" so they know where to go. Even when they're in a camp, they use their phones to remain connected to the outside world and to be informed of what's going on in their camp.

Jony Ive designed and donated a one off yellow iPad Pro
Got a spare GBP15,000? If ya do, you could own this one off 12.7" iPad Pro, anodized in yellow dye, with a blue smart cover and orange Pencil sleeve. The back is engraved with "Edition 1 of 1". Jony Ive knocked one up as a fund-raiser for the London Design Museum. This is totally thing thing I would waste my money on if I was filthy rich.

Trailer for season 2 of Mr. Robot
There's a new trailer, more like a teaser really, for season two of Mr. Robot - one of the best computer related TV shows I have ever seen. It'll be out in the US summer (June-Aug) this year. I can't wait. There's sooooo much material lately for them to draw on.

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!