The Sizzle

Issue 131 - Thursday 21st April 2016 - Your Body Is A Wonderland


Australia's new $230m cyber security strategy
It looks like the Chinese hacked the Bureau of Meteorology so badly, that the government is splashing out on a $230m cyber security package to make sure we aren't so severely cyber-dacked again. The full strategy can be viewed on the Department of the PM's website, but some highlights include: a Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, the establishment of joint cyber threat centres to allow the private sector, government and researchers to collaborate and a cyber ambassador who will advocate for an open, free and secure Internet across the Indo-Pacific region. Cyber.

The EU claims Google's use of Android breaks their antitrust laws
The European Union reckons that smartphone phone OEMs are forced to use versions of Android that include Google's services by default, which makes it unfair for other Internet service companies to offer things like maps, email and search products on smartphones. This, according to the EU, is Google abusing its market power. This is on top of the EU saying Amazon and Facebook are also not adhering to EU antitrust laws. I guess someone has to keep the bastards honest? As much as I loathe Google sometimes, I'm not immediately sure if the EU is right in this circumstance. I'll wait for people smarter than me to throw in their two cents.

TSMC might be first to release 7nm chips
TSMC is going around telling investors that it will start mass production of 7nm chips in the first half of 2018, beating fierce rivals Intel and Samsung. Apparently TSMC has 20 customers lined up for it, will have tape-out (kinda like a beta) chips in 2017. Translation: the iPhone 8 (7 in 2016, 7s in 2017, 8 in 2018) will have a 7nm CPU from TSMC that, according to TSMC will result in 60% more transistors and 40% power reduction over 14nm (which is what the A9 in the iPhone 6s uses). Beyond that, it also means Intel will no longer be king of the semiconductor fabrication hill - something it's been proud of and made its fortune on. Now a Taiwanese (shock horror) company might beat them at their own game.

America's tech industry publishes an open letter against some dumb proposed encryption laws
The usual group of tech companies have penned an open letter in response to US Senator Burr & Feinstein's horrible, awful and stupid encryption related bill. The bill is well explained by Quartz. The open letter can be read on The Verge. Basically, the bill wants to introduce a "the police want in on this phone, you gotta decrypt it eggheads!" style system in the US via weakened encryption, despite the reality that the USA isn't the only country in the world to have encryption and as soon as someone uses non-US made encryption, this law becomes useless.

Alibaba is gonna open an Australian office
The behemoth Chinese retailer Alibaba is opening an office in Australia as to better connect Australian businesses with Chinese customers. As we've seen with all the Chinese tourists and ex-pats buying all our baby formula and vitamins, then shipping them to China, they can't get enough of our high quality products and Alibaba wants a slice of that. Alibaba might even make it easier for Australians to shop from Chinese stores.


Amazon will totally rip off your successful products
Amazon is pretty much where everyone in America shops online. If your product is #1 in a category or has a lot of favourable reviews, it will maintain a pretty decent level of sales. The popular Rain Design mStand, which some of you may be using right now, is one such product. Amazon noticed this, made their own version that just manages to avoid infringing any of Rain's patents and sells it for half the price. Since that happened, Rain has noticed a huge reduction in sales of its stand. Welcome to data driven product development and sales.

Mid-range smartphones don't suck and are way better value for money than the flagships
Arstechnica has a good read about mid-range smartphones and how they're the best value for money. Flagship phones retailing for over $1000 are cool and all, but are essentially loaded up with features of debateable usefulness in order to drive annual sales. These cheaper mid-range phones do practically everything the flagship ones can do, but at half the price. Just something to keep in mind when shopping for a new phone. Personally, the main thing keeping me on a "flagship" phone are the cameras installed inside them. There's still a significant difference (to me) between the camera on an iPhone 6s versus that on the iPhone SE or even on a Nexus 5X. If you can let that go, man, there are some bargains to be had. I should really get a Xiaomi phone one day.

Check out Lian-Li's height adjustable computer case desk
Look at this fully sick PC case/desk. The Lian-Li DK-04 is an aluminum desk that you can shove PC parts in to. There's 10 drive bays, supports full size ATX mobos and big arse video cards. Oh and did I mention it's fully height adjustable? Stand while you frag! Maaaaddddd. Chuck in some LEDs and watercool this motherfucker! This thing is almost as cool as the Lian-Li PC-CK101.

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!