The Sizzle

Issue 217 - Tuesday, 23rd August 2016 - Crumble Like A Sugarcube


Unmetered Netflix & other stuff on Optus mobile
Optus has said "get fucked" to net neutrality and is offering unmetered Netflix, Presto, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora. All the info on which plans get what and at what cost (high end plans get this unmetered data for free, on cheaper plans it costs extra) are in the article, but what a fascinating move from Optus. Besides the net neutrality argument, I'm wondering how their network will cope with the increased bandwidth of everyone using it to watch Netflix and Presto.

Android 7.0 is out and about for Nexus device owners
Android 7.0 is out of beta and is available for some Nexus device owners. The Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player and Pixel C tablet will get OTA updates in the next few weeks. Ausdroid has the list of everything new. Standouts for me are improved performance, Doze (low power mode when not in use), split-screen apps and Work Mode (disable all "work" app notifications so they can't bug ya when you ain't getting paid).

Vic government gets around to announcing a plan to legalise ridesharing
The Victorian government has finally decided to fix the taxi industry and legalise Uber. Like the other states, Victoria will be providing $378m in handouts to existing taxi owners, a $75m "Fairness Fund" to "provide targeted support to industry participants experiencing immediate financial hardship as a result of these changes" (I guess that $75m is on top of the $378 in compo for the plate owners) and other accreditation changes to bring ridesharing into the system. This will all be funded by a $2 levy on all taxi & Uber rides. Here's the Premier's press release. Full details out in August.

Australia Post reckons it can handle online voting for various elections
Australia Post has submitted a thought bubble to the Victorian Electoral Matters Committee that it can carry out online voting utilising the "blockchain". According to Australia Post, "using the blockchain for voting would allow for a location agnostic, "tamper proof" system that would provide traceability, prevent manipulation, yet allow anonymity, and be resistant to denial of service attacks." Australia Post. Online voting. Blockchain. You can insert your own punchline.

Microsoft for Mac is now 64-bit and they purchased Genee
Microsoft has updated Office for Mac to be 64-bit, yay. I guess. It performs pretty much the same for me before the update as it did after the update. Maybe if you have some mega spreadsheets Excel won't shit the bed as it can access all your RAM, or something. If you use add-ins, just make sure those support 64-bit as well, otherwise you're up a 32-bit shit creek without a 64-bit shit proof paddle. Also, Microsoft has purchased Genee, an app that uses "machine learning" and "AI" and "natural language processing" to book meetings between people automagically. Expect this to roll into Outlook soon, with the Genee app shutting down on September 1st.


North Korea has its own twisted Netflix called Manbang
North Korea has it's own Netflix called Manbang, lol. Manbang (hahaha) has made a dedicated set top box that North Koreans can plug into their TVs (over a composite cable I assume) and stream the latest propaganda documentaries and five TV channels over the Internet. Most North Koreans don't have the Internet, so I assume it's for the privileged party members or something.

Sony's CarPlay & Android Auto headunit is the least expensive one yet
If you've wanted CarPlay or Android Auto in your personal transportation vehicle, then Sony has what is so far, the cheapest unit on the market. The XAV-AX100 sells for US$500 (so about $650 locally), has a 6.4" 800x400 touch screen, with NFC, Bluetooth, aux input and a hardware button for voice input. US$500 is the retail price, so I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit AU$500 locally once JB Hi-Fi decides to sell it. It'll be out in the USA late November, so maybe we'll get it early 2017.

Refugees imprisoned on Manus Island buy shitphones from smugglers to use WhatsApp
Motherboard has an interesting story about how refugees in Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island use WhatsApp on shitty smuggled phones across an even shittier internet connection to retain some sort of tether to the outside world. What's so weird about that is other refugees, in other camps across the world (e.g: Jordan, Kenya) have proper internet facilities that are seen as vital for people not to go absolutely batshit insane - yet our government withholds communication as a punishment because our society gets off on punishing these innocent people and doesn't want the rest of the world to see how fucked up their concentration camps are. I wonder if there's a way some nerds could set up a sweet internet connection on Nauru and just airdrop smartphones across the camp for everyone to use.

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 Sugarcube, by Yo La Tengo. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!