The Sizzle

Issue 201 - Monday, 1st August 2016 - We Planned It All This Way


The Census will retain identifying info this year & the ABS sucks at computers
There's a shitstorm surrounding the 2016 Australian Census that's supposed to take place on August 9th, because what used to be a relatively anonymous survey, is now asking for people's names. Privacy issues aren't necessarily tech issues, but, alllll this info is gonna be stored and transacted on computers. The ABS is estimating that the vast majority of Australians will do the census on the Internet. Unfortunately, like most government agencies, it sucks at anything to do with a computer. The NSW privacy commissioner is concerned about the risk of all this personal info getting hacked into and the ABS's website only uses SHA-1. I'm not too concerned personally and I generally lean towards the paranoid side of personal privacy - but many smart people are concerned, so it's definitely something to think about before the census date and decide what approach to filling the thing in you will take.

Uber merges its Chinese operation with Didi Chuxing
Uber has decided to merge it's Chinese operations with Didi Chuxing, effectively giving up on trying to dominate the Chinese market for ridesharing. You might remember Didi Chuxing as a company Apple invested US$1b into just a few weeks ago in May. The two companies were practically identical and spending heaps of money (Uber has apparently lost US$2b in China), battling each other and trying to solve the same problem. Now they have a partnership - Uber owns a decent chunk (but an unknown sized chunk) of Didi Chuxing and Didi Chuxing has invested US$1bn into Uber, valuing Uber at US$68b.

SwiftKey leaked random people's email addresses
News came out over the weekend that the popular SwiftKey 3rd party keyboard leaked random people's email addresses. Due to an error with SwiftKey's cloud sync service, people using SwiftKey's predictive word completion feature were getting suggestions for random email addresses. SwiftKey said it's not a security issue and nothing to worry about.

Kanye West tweets about Apple maybe buying Tidal
Kanye West has been tweeting up a storm (as usual), wanting to settle the beef between Apple Music and Tidal and insinuating that Apple should buy Tidal. According to Mr. West, via Twitter, "This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game." and that he needs to get "Tim Cook Jay Z Dez Jimmy Larry me and Drake Scooter on the phone or in a room this week!!!". He ended his proclamation with "Fuck all this dick swinging contest. We all gon be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music." Let the kids have the music indeed.

Aussie ISP SkyMesh purchased by UK satellite company
Aussie ISP SkyMesh has been purchased by a UK satellite company called Solutions Worldwide Group (could you get any more vague of a name for a business?). The new owners reckon there's the ability for SkyMesh to grow significantly thanks to the NBN and wants to get in on the ground floor. SkyMesh is a popular NBN ISP on Whirlpool, so will be interesting to see how the new owners do things with their new acquisition.


A real time overview of Apple's money making machines
Here's a cute website with a live updating mosaic of how many transactions Apple (remember, they're the world's largest company) conducts every second. I spent about 90 seconds writing this and in that time, Apple made $550,000 in revenue, sent about 42 million iMessages and made $136 extracting gold from recycled iPhones. The scale of Apple's operation is so immense it's hard to believe it's real.

Cheap Nexus 5Xs again
JB Hi-Fi is selling the Nexus 5X cheap again. This time it's a 32GB model for $447. You can get one cheaper from overseas, but it won't have a warranty, so JB's deal for a little more cash ain't so bad. JB is probably clearing it out as new Nexus models (from HTC) are rumoured to be out in about 2-3 months. Either way, the 5X is a still a good phone. I'm kinda tempted to sell my iPhone 6s now while it's still worth a fair bit, buy the 5X, use it until the iPhone 7 is out and unless the 7 is ball tearingly amazing, maybe just stick with the 5X.

Tesla officially opened the Gigafactory
Tesla had an opening party for it's Gigafactory - the enormous factory in the middle of the Nevada desert that will make so many batteries, at a scale not seen before, that it will change the way our civilisation generates and consumes electricity. TechCrunch, Engadget, Electrek, as well as many others got a tour inside. Watch the grand opening on Tesla's website.

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 Pressure On Julian, by Blur. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!