The Sizzle

Issue 234 - Thursday, 15th September 2016 - The Fickle Fascination Of An Everlasting God


NSW has made an IT project framework to avoid shitshows
The NSW government is sick and tired of IT projects blowing out and have developed a framework to try and prevent huge IT disasters from happening. The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation will now make government agencies undertake check-ups at various stages of a project and will set itself up as an arbiter of whether an IT project can progress to the next planned stage. The article has more info on the sorts of things the framework will check. It'll be great to have someone with knowledge in this area at least look over the shoulder of dodgy IT projects so people involved and can have their bubble of stupidity burst by a group who don't care if their feelings are hurt or they look bad.
Discuss announces US$999 self-driving add on kit for some Honda cars
George Hotz has made a big announcement about the latest status of The Comma One is a green box that you can hook up to your car and it'll mimic Tesla's Autopilot capabilities (aka a fancy cruise control). It'll cost US$999, be out by the end of the year and only work on certain cars (Honda cars with the lane keeping assist feature) with radars already installed. Watch the 20 min video from George's entire session at TechCrunch Disrupt, it's pretty interesting how he slags off all the pretenders in the self driving car space while unveiling his bright green box.

Uber begins roborides in Pittsburgh, US journos tell us what its like
Meanwhile, Uber has begun letting people ride in their self driving cars across Pittsburgh. Journalists have been given 30 min demo rides in the Ford Fusions kitted out with some elaborate looking cameras and radars. Engadget, TechCrunch, Wired and MIT's Tech Review all got to experience the weird feeling of getting chauffeured by a robot. Apparently it has trouble with a bit of common sense items - for example when it came across a double parked truck, instead of going around it, it just sat behind the truck, waiting for it to move.

Qualcomm announces Clear Sight dual camera system for smartphones
As Apple is flexing their SoC muscle with the A10 and its advanced image signal processing, Qualcomm wants to remind everyone they have some cool stuff up their sleeve too. It's announced a "Clear Sight" dual-camera system to merge photos taken on dual camera smartphones to improve quality. It works with phones that have a colour sensor and a monochrome sensor, with lenses at the same focal length (so not like the iPhone 7 Plus) to take better low light pics and improve sharpness and contrast. There's no date, detailed specs, or upcoming devices announced, because Qualcomm's PR people only put this out there because of the iPhone 7 Plus.

Lane guidance arrives in Australian Google Maps, overseas users start to see speed limits
Google Maps has had a few navigation related updates lately. Ausdroid has noticed that lane guidance has hit Australian users of Google Maps, a very handy feature for those driving in unfamiliar roads. I loved this about my old TomTom, so it is nice to finally get it in Google Maps. ALso, some users overseas are starting to see speed limits pop up for the street they're currently driving down - another feature I enjoyed in TomTom.


The cheapest system for getting an iPhone every year
I've whipped up a blog post exploring the cheapest way to get an iPhone 7 now and the new iPhone next year. Right now it seems to be cheaper to go on a 24 month contract, then re-contract for another 24 months once the new iPhone is out. It's cheaper to do this than to buy the iPhone 7 outright and go on a cheap pre-paid or SIM only plan. If like me, you haven't pre-ordered an iPhone, Telstra stores and JB Hi-Fi will be selling extremely limited quantities to walk up customers tomorrow morning. I called a few JB Hi-Fi stores near me and they all said they'll be getting less than 5 phones and they don't know what variants they'll get. Gizmodo has a thing about how scarce iPhone 7 stock will be in Australia. I can't wait to drive around the outskirts of Melbourne tomorrow looking for an iPhone 7 Plus - pray for me.

Cheap Nexus 5X & Lenovo 13" Thinkpads
If you need a new laptop and want something running Windows, you might be interested in this deal Lenovo is running on a new 13.3" Thinkpad 13. 1080p anti-glare screen, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD and i5-6200U CPU. Is about the same weight & size as a MacBook Air. Costs $999 delivered using the coupon on Ozbargain. If a cheap and good Android phone is what you're after, DWI is clearing out stock of the Nexus 5X and are selling the 16GB model as low as $283.

Pressure building on Obama to pardon Snowden
There's a petition going around to get Edward "patriot" Snowden pardoned by Obama before the president leaves office on the 20th of Jan, 2017. Snowden himself has said why he thinks he should be pardoned in an interview with The Guardian. His logic is that despite breaking the law, what he did was actually make things better for Americans, not worse. The law is broken and that is the whole purpose of a presidential pardon. Poor dude misses America and I really feel for him. There's also the Oliver Stone biopic coming out on Friday in the USA (out 22nd of Sept here in AU, some early previews on the 18th), which may generate an increase in sympathy towards Snowden with the public. Either way, I hope Obama realises Snowden is a hero, not a traitor and just mic drops the shit out of his leaving office to pardon him, disregarding the political consequences.

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 The Everlasting Gaze, by The Smashing Pumpkins. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!