The Sizzle

Issue 137 - Monday, 2nd May 2016 - Richard Marsland Can't Stop Tooling About Downstairs


Intel cans smartphone SoC plans
Intel never really gained traction in the smartphone SoC space, losing out to ARM based designs by Qualcomm and Apple, upended from the bottom by Allwinner and Mediatek and out manufactured by TSMC and Samsung. It's still surprising though, that Intel has, for the moment, thrown in the towel trying to make low power SoC's destined for smartphones. The upcoming Broxton and SoFIA code-named products will not see the light of day. Despite this, Intel's LTE radio plans are still full steam ahead.

TiVo sells to Rovi (aka Macrovision) for US$1.1b
TiVo was purchased for US$1.1b by some company I never heard of called Rovi. If you're unfamiliar with Rovi like I was, they used to be called Macrovision. Now you remember them, don't ya? They also do EPG stuff in the USA, but their main business is hoarding patents and licensing them out. That's pretty much why they purchased TiVo - to pick at their bloated PVR related patent carcass. Shame really, as TiVo PVRs still kick arse compared to what's out there. They never really took off in Australia but are still very popular in the USA.

It's pretty easy to crack open an NBN micronode
Someone sent Delimiter pics of an NBN FTTN "micronode" installed in South Australia, with a distinct lack of physical security. Simply by pushing in two pins, this Delimiter reader was able to access the expensive goodies inside. A more nefarious person could vandalise this piece of infrastructure or foolishly try to nick the gear and sell it, resulting in innocent people's Internet & phones taken off line until NBN gets around to fixing it. Kinda lame there's not more anti-vandal/theft protection on these units. If I put on my tinfoil hat, someone could intercept the data flowing through these nodes and well, you know what happens then...

000 will know a little more about where you are when you call from a mobile
Australia's 000 system now has the ability to record the approximate location of calls originating from a mobile phone. It uses network data provided by the telcos that can roughly place where you are using cell towers. In rural areas it's not as accurate due to the sparse distribution of cell towers, but in metro areas it can narrow down the area of a caller relatively well. It's better than nothing I guess.

Telstra to spend $50m to make sure their network doesn't crap itself again
Remember those Telstra outages? The national angst and depression we suffered due to a few hours without Internet that resulted in two freeleech days and gave some guy in a stupid hat 15 minutes of fame? Well Telstra is spending $50m to make sure that never, ever, happens again. After a comprehensive review of the outages, Telstra will spend $25m in "additional systems and tools" on better pre-issue alerting (man that's an expensive Nagios install) and another $25m on improving "network recovery time" so when if the same issue of a bunch of customers connecting all at once happens again, the network won't shit the bed as badly.


Sony patents eyeball camera
Sony has patented the concept of a contact lens that lets you take photos with a blink. Hot damn this would be cool. The patent outlines that camera settings such as aperture and zoom can be controlled via eyelid movement and the shutter operated via a conscious eyelid action determined y the pressure in your eyes. Of course, this is just a patent, an idea, a concept. The chances of this actually getting to a prototype, let alone a manufactured product are practically zero, in our lifetimes at least. Still cool as fuck though.

Windows 95 running on an Apple Watch
Nick Lee got Windows 95 running on an Apple Watch. It runs in an emulator and takes an hour to boot. He had to attach a motor on it to vibrate so the watch doesn't go to sleep when it senses no movement. Nick even chucked the code on GitHub. Here's a video of the watch booting into Windows, then navigating the Start menu. He even maned to put Mac OS 7.5.5 on the watch.

SeeNote - a little e-ink square internet of things thing
Post-Its and sticky notes are so 20th century. Use a SeeNote! An e-ink square with a touch screen that has wi-fi and runs for a month off a single charge. Integrates with IFTTT and Google Maps. I kinda like this, but it's US$99 (~AU$165 inc shipping) and won't be available until spring (US spring) 2017, boo. Seems like more of a $50 idea than a $165 idea to me. I really like the idea though, it's the nicest Internet of Things thing I've seen.

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!