The Sizzle

Issue 180 - Friday, 1st July 2016 - Talking Trash To The Garbage Around You


Telstra had a network hiccup again
Telstra recently announced $250m to fortify their network from random outages. 24 hours after announcing that plan, their network shit the bed, again, haha. Many business services across Victoria - such as Me Bank, Myki, Jetstar, Myer and dozens of others couldn't do a bunch of things like process cards or access email. All I'm sensing here are companies too cheap to have a live redundant link used for when shit hits the fan.

The Netherlands has the first country wide IoT dedicated radio WAN
KPN, the Dutch equivalent of Tesltra, has launched "the world's first" wireless network dedicated to the Internet of Things, across an entire country. The network is a Low-Power Wide-Area Network, and is based on the LoRa Alliance's standards for such a thing. Think of it like GSM, but with much longer range, with radios that use less power and support much lower bandwidths (like kilobytes/sec vs. megabytes). We actually have some of these networks in Australia. Telstra set one up across the Melbourne CBD in November last year and National Narrowband Network Communications covered about 100sq km of Sydney's North Shore in August.

Android 7.0 will be called Nougat (oh and Google in tax trouble again)
Google is calling the new version of Android (aka Android 7), Nougat! Fun! Whimsical! Sense of joy and delight! Delicious! There's a statue in Mountain View of the green anthropomorphic Android thingo standing in a pile of nougat bars to celebrate. Meanwhile, Spanish tax officials have raided Google's offices, investigating alleged tax evasion. A month earlier the French did the same. The Spanish and the French seem to be chucking a tanty over the "double Irish with a Dutch sandwich" tactic used by multinational companies to legally avoid paying tax where the income is generated.

Spotify cracks it with Apple
Spotify reckons Apple is deliberately shafting them by refusing to update their iOS app whilst letting their competitor, Apple Music, flourish. Spotify's lawyers have sent a letter to Apple's lawyers and plans to raise this issue with the various US and EU competition watchdogs. Spotify's complaint centers around the use of subscriptions made within apps. Apple doesn't allow apps which only allow you to sign up for a subscription outside the app and force you to use Apple's own subscription billing system, which takes a 30% cut (which is changing soon, to a 15% cut).

First Tesla autopilot related death
A US man died whilst driving his Model S on autopilot on a divided highway yesterday. Apparently a tractor pulled out in front of his car, the sun blinded some sensors, the Model S clipped the bottom of the trailer, chopping the roof (and I assume the dude's head) off the car. Nasty accident indeed. Tesla are keen to state that there's been over 130 million miles driven in autopilot mode and the average fatality rate on US highways is one every 94 million miles. There's also a sad irony here, that the man who died, posted a video on YouTube of autopilot avoiding a side on collision with a truck that Elon Musk tweeted as an example of how autopilot can avoid accidents. The NHTSA is investigating the incident.


Bitcoin is having an internal feud over how to fix slow transfers
If you haven't been paying attention to Bitcoin (I kinda haven't) lately, you may have missed the higher than usual level of Bitcoin community infighting. There's a big issue with the Bitcoin network taking ages to process transfers - if you don't attach a fee to the transfer, it's likely the transfer won't even go through. Attempts to fix this within the community have hit a brick wall and some people, like this New York Times article, think it's to do with the large amount of Chinese Bitcoin miners not having any incentive to change the status quo. There's an episode of Planet Money (one of my fav podcasts) based on this story, if you prefer to listen than read.

Pirates uploading movies to YouTube as 360 degree vids, avoiding copyright bots
In the latest example of pirate ingenuity, someone's been chucking up full length feature films onto YouTube and beating the Content ID copyright detection system by making it a 360 degree video, haha. So when you watch the thing, you can actually look behind your current position and see a dodgy Russian photography studio. They also sped the movie up a fraction so the audio doesn't reveal this hidden upload either. It's been removed off YouTube now, but damn I wish you could have seen it, it was gloriously stupid.

Mr. Robot & Halt and Catch Fire are back on TV soon
Two of my favourite TV shows are coming back soon - Mr. Robot's 2nd season (recently extended to 12 episodes from 10, yay!) begins July 13th. If you're a fan, Mr. Robot chucked up a "behind the scenes" video explaining how they make the show so realistic, as well as a panel session with the actors at the Tribeca film festival. There's a similar talk they did at SXSW too. Halt and Catch Fire, the excellent drama set in the 80s world of clone PC manufacturing, will begin its third season on August 23rd.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Today's subject line is from E-Pro, by Beck. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!