The Sizzle

Issue 135 - Thursday, 28th April 2016 - The Labor Party Says Ahhhhhhhhh


ANZ becomes first Australian bank to support Apple Pay
Good news for Apple nerds who hate plastic cards clogging up their wallet! ANZ somehow ended up being first to support Apple Pay in Australia. You can load up your ANZ cards onto your iPhone and pay for stuff with your iPhone or Apple Watch starting now. The ANZ CEO said it came about because people would not stop pestering him about it on social media. Also from that article, an interesting stat - 69% of ANZ customers use an iPhone. I wonder how many use it on their Apple Watch vs. on the phone?

Victorian government to open STEM schools
Confirmed as part of the latest Victorian state budget, there are plans to set up "tech schools", embedded in TAFEs and universities across Victoria. The schools will open in 2017 and 2018 as part of an effort to improve STEM skills in children, so they can properly participate in the workforce. Here's the state government website detailing the concept. According to the website, "Tech School students will still be enrolled in their local secondary school but will attend classes at a Tech School campus that is shared with the many other schools in their region." Man, this would have been pretty cool when I was a kid. Instead we had to make do with an IT teacher that barely knew how to navigate Windows 98, let alone show us anything meaningful.

Dude who helped make Tor decided to go work for the FBI breaking Tor
It's been revealed that a former part time developer of Tor has decided to go work for the FBI developing malware to defeat Tor's privacy measures. Matt Edman did a lot of work on Vidalia, a way to make it easier for people to use Tor back in 2008-2013, but in 2012 he started working for an FBI contractor and was tasked with hacking Tor in order to uncover kiddie porn rings and later on refined the Cornhusker malware to expose the IPs or Tor users. What a contradiction! On one hand you wanted to aid privacy enough that you contributed to Tor in a meaningful way, then on the other, you go work for the FBI exposing loopholes in that same software.

Continuing the conspiracy theory train of thought, here's the first trailer for the Oliver Stone version of Ed Snowden's life story. It has Nicolas Cage in it. It looks... okay? It'll be interesting how Stone & co. manage to spruce up what is a pretty dull story for most people - computer nerd who works for the NSA realises they're doing some morally nasty shit, exposes their shit, runs to Hong Kong, gets stuck in Russia and now appears as a giant floating head at conferences and lectures - isn't exactly the Fast and Furious 7. Of course, if this even remotely interests you, you should watch Citizenfour, a real documentary about Snowden's heroic leaking efforts.

Facebook grew significantly in Q1 2016
Facebook announced their Q1 2016 financials and while they're making a profit ($1.5bn), that isn't what interested me the most. It's where that money comes from. 82% of Facebook's advertising revenue is from mobile. Mobile ads basically fund Facebook. Ad revenue overall increased by 57% in the last quarter. Facebook also increased their monthly active users 15% to 1.65 billion. If you had any doubt as to who is king in social media, these financials prove it is Facebook. It's also interesting to comapre the commentary between Facebook and Apple. Apple made $10.5bn profit in 3 months, Facebook $1.5b, yet Apple is the one who apparently needs to worry. Facebook would need to increase its profits by seven times its current rate to even match a "declining" Apple. Wall Street is weird.


Dashcams 101
I recently wrote a thing for PC & Tech Authority about how to choose a dashcam - basically you want something that does 21:9 1296P and uses a 140-160 degree field of view. I didn't mention in that article which dashcam in particular to buy due to space limitations (hey, they pay me for 600 words, I write 600 words, not a word more), but after all the research I did, it looks like the Mini range of dashcams is best. There's a couple different varieties of the Mini cams, but has a very up to date guide on which models do what. I'd go the Mini 0806, which is around $160 inc delivery from an AU eBay store.

iViewRipper & SBSRipper
Ever wanted to download something off SBS's On Demand service or ABC iView? Some genius from outback NT with appalling internet has made an app for Windows that'll grab stuff off those services so you can watch them without an Internet connection. iViewRipper and SBSRipper are "ripper" apps. Mac users - this is why you should have a Windows virtual machine handy.

How to tell if a USB charger sucks
Hackaday has an interesting article on how to spot a USB charger that won't kill you. It's kinda sad we have to be vigilant in making sure our USB PSUs aren't so poorly made that we have to dissect them and learn a bunch of electrical engineering terms in order to survive. On a related note, Anker's official Aliexpress store often has their chargers on sale and I know that Anker chargers are well made, well priced and if used properly (do not use whilst under water), will not kill you.

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!