The Sizzle

Issue 160 - Thursday, 2nd June 2016 - Richard's Crazy House Of Foster Kids


Uber snags US$3.5b investment from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has given Uber $3.5b - which is apparently the largest ever investment raised in a single round by a VC backed company. Saudi Arabia sees the investment as part of its aim to divest itself away from oil by 2030, because the oil isn't gonna last forever. Uber is now valued at around US$62.5b and is still privately held. It's amazing how many investors and businesses are betting on Uber being the dominate force in transportation.

Elon Musk talks about stuff, makes headlines
Elon Musk spoke at the Code Conference today (that event with the big red chairs where Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg ask famous people questions) and he spoke about many things. There's gonna be a big event for the Model 3 later this year. The design for the Model 3 will be finished in six weeks. That he's more afraid of Apple than Google when it comes to encroaching on Tesla's territory (but still thinks Apple are chumps). The best government framework for Mars is a direct democracy. The entire thing isn't up to view yet, but here's some clips. I'll wait until the entire interview is online to watch it.

Various internet trends for 2016
The popular yearly summary of internet trends from Mary Meeker has been made public, in all its 213 slide glory. Some interesting notes: there's more than 3 billion internet users now and India is now the 2nd largest internet market (China is 1st, USA 3rd). More people are using ad-blockers than ever before, but ad revenue continues to grow. People are gravitating towards voice interfaces for interaction with their computers. Nice slideshow to flick through quickly and go "hmm, that's interesting" at. If ya liked this, you might enjoy Sensis's social media report too, which was released only a few days ago.

Most Windows computers shipped by the large OEMs are vulnerable to MITM attacks
A recent report found that many brand new Windows computers ship with OEM software that makes them vulnerable to man in the middle type attacks. Those shitty apps that companies like Lenovo, Dell and others pre-install on their computers which update your software and drivers, actually riddled with security flaws that allow an attacker to pretend to be the OEM and force you to install a dodgy update that actually hands over control of your computer. My advice: any computer you buy, nuke the HDD and install a clean OS from a trusted source (i.e: the Windows 10 ISO direct from Microsoft).

The OnePlus 3 is coming soon, sucks for Australian LTE use
Fans of cheap smartphones rejoice, there's a new OnePlus device shipping soon! The OnePlus 3 launches on the 14th of June and OnePlus have smartly decided to get rid of that stupid invite system. It's the usual Snapdragon 820, 5.5" screen setup. There's an option for 6GB of RAM, which is nice. It runs OxygenOS, which is based on Android 6.0.1 too, which by all accounts is pretty good. Unfortunately, there's poor support for Australian LTE bands, making this a bit of a bummer.


Nice hot take on the AFP's investigation of whistleblowers
Ben Grubb has posted an excellent think-piece about the actions surrounding the AFP investigating those NBN leaks and other general abuses of media freedom by our government. It puts the absurd situation anyone who embarrasses the government is put in - if this happened in any other country it would be written about in our newspapers as corrupt and fascist.

Birdly is the VR platform all you wanna be pigeons are waiting for
Check out this crazy looking VR setup. Birdly is a hardware interface for humans to flap wings in VR, whilst lying down. Their latest demo lets you pretend to be a bird flying around Manhattan. You should totally watch the video. There's even a fan that blows wind around to make it feel more real.

A collection of Mac OS X video encoding scripts
Don Melton has made a pretty sweet set of scripts to encode video on Mac OS X. They're wrappers for command line tools like ffmpeg, handbrake and others. It's like a better set of presets to encode video off Blu-Rays into various resolutions and bit-rates that someone else has worked out and tested they look good. I haven't encoded a film in ages (just download the thing off Usenet), but if you prefer to do it yourself, you might enjoy these scripts.

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!