The Sizzle

Issue 139 - Wednesday 4th May 2016 - If They Want My Sperm


The IT side of the 2016 Federal budget
Unless you've been living under a very large rock, surrounded by a Faraday cage, devoid of all types of modern media, you may have heard about the Federal budget handed down last night. There's a few tech related things in it. CRN has a list of all the government departments given money to rejuvenate their decrepit IT systems and build new ones they've inevitably fuck up. The budget also advised that NBN is running out of cash and has formed a taskforce to work out what it can do to ensure the government funded business can bankroll all that new copper for years to come. Budget 2016 also introduced the "Google Tax" which isn't really a tax on Google exactly, but more of a general tax on multinational companies avoiding the Australian tax obligations.

IBM chucks a quantum computer in the cloud
IBM have launched a quantum computing cloud platform. Anyone is able to tap in to a quantum computer located in the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in upstate New York, via the magic of the internet. It's slow as balls right now, so it has no practical use, but serves as a way for developers to think in a "quantum way" for future projects. Basically training wheels for quantum computing so when it inevitably (or so we think it's inevitable) takes off, those who tinkered with it early have a head start over those who are still thinking in puny binary.

Flattr is revived in a partnership with AdBlocker Plus
Peter Sunde is back and he's got his Flattr microdonation thing hooked up to AdBlock Plus so that instead of totally depriving poor website owners of precious ad revenue, you can set a monthly "web browsing" allowance that is distributed to the sites you visit most. Kinda like Spotify, but for websites. Flattr Plus aims to gather $500m in payment distributions within the next 12 months.

Snapchat launches personalised geofilters in Australia
Snapchat has launched its very popular personalised geofilter feature to Australia. What the hell is a personalised geofilter? You go to Snapchat's website, upload some graphics, outline an area on a map and pay Snapchat what they're asking so people in that area can use the graphics you just uploaded in their Snapchats. People make them for their weddings, asking people to the prom and to promote coconut water.

Kogan relaunches the Dick Smith website
Dick Smith's online presence has resumed, this time under Kogan's tutelage. “All orders from today onwards come with the full backing of the business, and are supported by our first class Australian customer service team.” Kogan has no plans to re-open any of the bricks and mortar stores however, those are gone for good it seems. That's it really - same veneer, different logistics.


Meet the Megaprocessor
This guy in the UK is building a Megaprocessor. It's all the components of a CPU, extrapolated out to a more human scale. All that's inside a CPU are teeny tiny microscopic, literally nano-scale transistors. He's made each part of a CPU, like the ALU, registers, memory and IO bigger, but fully functional. It's a room sized 16-bit processor. I bow down before thee, king of the nerds for I am not worthy of direct eye contact. It's super impressive, I hope it ends up in say, the UK's National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.

The cost of large scale solar power hit an all time low
The price of large scale solar energy has plummeted lately, with the latest bids for the 800MW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai coming in at US$0.299/kWh. This represents a 50% drop over the past 16 months. A big part of this falling cost was the ability for the cheapest bidder (a consortium from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Spain) having access to cheap as shit loans, which make up a bit part of building such a facility. Most of the cost of a solar farm is in the construction, once it's built it only needs maintenance - no gas pipeline or mine required.

Season 1 of Beyond 2000 is on YouTube
Bartron on The Sizzle forums has dug up a YouTube channel full of videos from the seminal Australian TV show, Beyond 2000. Enjoy that intro over and over before sinking your teeth into 8mm video tapes, colonising space, a portable CD player and telebanking via Viatel. I wonder if something like this could go into wide popularity again? Like a version of The Sizzle, but mainstream, more upbeat and future-wow-stuff, with less cynicism.

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!