The Sizzle

Issue 136 - Friday, 29th April 2016 - Just Like Mama Used To Defrost


Circumventing geoblocks should be a legal right according to the Productivity Commission
Our esteemed Productivity Commission has investigated the crap state of copyright law in Australia. It's released a draft of its findings, called Copy(not)right. There's a lot of things going on in there, but relevant for plebs like us is that it recommends Australians should have a legal right to circumvent geoblocking on services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The Commission also found that the onerous copyright lengths on content that extend for 50 years after a creator's death do nothing to improve the creation of content in Australia, but are simply in place to suit IP exporting nations like the USA, at the detriment of Australian consumers.

Senate inquiry into the state of the Australian videogame industry releases its report
Senator Scott Ludlam's investigation into why the Australian video game industry was doing well, then kinda suddenly shat itself has concluded and here's the report. The recommendation strongly suggests that the Australian Games Industry Fund should be reinstated (which was unceremoniously closed down by Tony Abbott), alongside creating some new work spaces for game developers to inhabit and collaborate. Oh, and roll out the NBN. Ludlam has opined on Kotaku as to why the video game industry in Australia is a no-brainer for the government support.

Google builds a new hardware team around former Motorola President
Google's hardware efforts are bit all over the place and even a bit in the shitter if you think of Tony Fadell's mess. To fix all this and get the Google plan for world domination back on track, Google has enlisted former Motorola President Rick Osterloh to be vice president of a new sub-divsion within Google (which itself is a sub-division of Alphabet) focused on hardware such as Nexus gear and OnHub stuff. I look forward to what Google does this this new centralised hardware division.

Amazon made more money than everyone thought they would
Today was Amazon's turn to release their financial stats from the first quarter of 2016 and they're great, better than they expected actually. Analysts estimated profits in the area of 58c/share, but they ended up being $1.07 a share. Revenue overall increased by 28%, pretty good for a company of Amazon's size. This was primarily led by Amazon's Web Services, with revenues of $2.6bn, a 64% increase, during the Q1 2016 quarter and one of Amazon's best performing segments, despite competition from Microsoft and Google. Amazon Prime saw a large increase in take up, but us in Australia wouldn't know about that, would we? I know a way Amazon could make a little more money - open up in Australia.

Bunch of automotive industry players create a self-driving car lobby group
Google, Ford, Vovo, Uber and Lyft have create the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets - a lobby group that will wine and dine and possibly bribe law makers to be sympathetic to their needs regarding self-driving cars. A lobby group is pretty much essential for wanting any sort of law reform, so I see this as mainly interesting because Ford and Volvo are involved and taking it pretty seriously. Also related to this, Volvo thinks Tesla are chumps and their self-driving car game is weak.


HP makes a fancy Chromebook
Traditionally Chromebooks are cheap and functional, but I guess HP and Google thought a nicer, non-low end Chromebook was necessary, so they made this. The HP Chromebook 13 starts at US$499 with a Pentium 4405Y CPU, all the way up to an m7-6Y75, with a plethora of configs in between. No word in Australian pricing or availability, but the Chromebook 13 looks like a classy option for the managerial types who need to project an image that a plastic laptop just can't provide and can't use a Surface Pro because they're embedded in Chrome OS-land. Here's some more pretty pics of it.

Lecia make a fancy digital camera without an LCD
Leica's new M-D (Typ 262) camera is a digital "rangefinder" camera, that has no LCD, so ya can't chimp your shots once you've taken them. Leica says this is to "bring back the joy and anticipation of wanting to see how the pictures turned out" epitomising Leica's "Das Wesentliche (the essentials of photography)". Instead of an LCD at the back of the camera, there is a dial to control ISO. It has a 24MP CMOS sensor, ISO 200-6400 and will sell for US$5995. So pretentious, but so beautiful.

This bloke loves fancy knobs
Knobs are important. Small ones, big ones, smooth ones, ratcheted ones. A good knob can make a big difference in how an appliance or gadget is perceived. The KnobFeel Tumblr finds knobs and uploads videos of them being tweaked, with a small review. "Ooh. Oooh. Yeah. Oooh. Awww yeah. Yeah, yeah."

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!