The Sizzle

Issue 150 - Thursday, 19th May 2016 - Cover Me In Sauce


Google's I/O 2016 keynote
Google had their annual I/O conference keynote early this morning and a couple of products were announced. Ausdroid has a good overview of what went on. Some highlights for me are the Google Assistant improvements - it takes natural language processing and context awareness to a new level and shits all over Siri. Google also made their own Amazon Echo style device. Allo and Duo got most of the headlines but it's just another chat app, I have so many of those. Android N moved from Alpha to Beta. So many other things too. You can watch the entire keynote (goes for around 2 hours) on YouTube, or re-read it on the Anandtech liveblog.

Greens unveil an electric car policy
The Greens have announced a few incentives and funding for programs to improve the take up of electric cars in Australia. The chances of them actually being implemented are iffy, as unless there's some sort of hung parliament situation, the ALP or Libs have no reason to even give a shit about this. Despite that, there's some cool stuff proposed - like free rego for the first five years of an EV car's life, $151m for local councils, state govts and car park owners to install charging station and increasing the luxury car tax to 50% for cars over $100,000 so people buy luxury EVs that don't get hit with those same taxes. Can whoever gets elected just rip this policy off and implement it? Pretend it was your idea, I don't care.

The reanimated corpse of Nokia's handset business is crawling out of its grave
Nokia is back! Kinda. They've licensed their brand to HMD Global Oy, who have since partnered with FIH Mobile (a subsidary of Foxconn), who purchased the rights to Microsoft's feature phone assets like sales, distribution and marketing. What a convoluted path to make some half arsed phones. These new Nokias will apparently run Android. Good luck to them, what the world needs is more Android smartphones, there's just not enough choice.

Netflix launches a basic non-Flash speed test website
Netflix launched FAST - their own internet speed tester. Just visit and it'll tell you how fast your net connection downloads. Bit weird as it also links to when it's done, there's also no upload test (which I guess isn't important for Netflix). I guess this is just something for Netflix to point their customers at to go "yeah, see, the reason you can't get House of Cards in 4K is because you're using a dialup modem to stream, yeah, yeah, we know about Malcolm Turnbull, yep, we wish it was faster too".

JB Hi-Fi might purchase The Good Guys and consume them into the black and yellow handwritten juggernaut
JB Hi-Fi is chatting up Good Guys for a hot and steamy electronic retailer take over. Good Guys has wanted to list itself on the ASX for a while, but maybe, instead of doing that, Good Guys will just sell itself to JB. JB has made an announcement to the ASX to say it's all just a getting to know you sort of thing at the moment, nothing serious.


Startups really like to get drunk
Anyone who's been around tech meetups or startups, shit, just western culture in general knows that alcohol plays a big part in the social atmosphere. But you may not be aware of how annoying that is for people that don't drink. I don't really like drinking and find the "let's meet up for a beer" or "come to drinks after (x)!)" offputting. There's even been occasions where I've felt excluded or made fun of because I don't like alcohol. This article is an interesting read if you've never considered the fact someone might not want to have a drink.

Myer and eBay make a VR shopping app, hahah
Myer and eBay, those powerhouses of great customer experiences, have teamed up to bring their retail might to virtual reality. I wonder if they decided whether you'll be ignored and then pay too much for brand name products, or be harassed by people asking dumb questions for your items for sale in this VR shopping wonderland? It uses Google Cardboard - the app is called "eBay Virtual Reality Department Store" and is on iOS and Android. From the screenshots it looks like hundreds of random items flying at you in mid-air in a white room. If you try it out, let me know, because I can't be stuffed.

The Acanvas digital art frame looks cool
I've thought about turning a big cheap 65" 4K TV into a "digital art frame" where I can hook a Raspberry Pi up to it and just have it show random cool pictures, instead of buying a single printed piece of art and having it the same forever. Acanvas, an LG spinoff, have launched a Kickstarter to do just that, but with a frame that looks much nicer than than the traditional TV bezel. Check out the creepy power adaptor that drops out of the bottom of the frame every night and slides into a charger to replenish the display's battery.

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!