The Sizzle

Issue 239 - Thursday, 22nd September 2016 - Went Looking For The Broadcaster


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative wants to eradicate all diseases by the end of the century
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg have decided to throw $3b to try and "cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century". The first part of this $3b chunk of altruism is a $600m Biohub, that will work on two projects - creating a Cell Atlas to map out all the cells in the human body, and an Infectious Disease Initiative, that will try make new vaccines and tests for infectious diseases that currently don't have one. Bill Gates was there too, saying this is something he definitely gets behind. For the full details on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, check out the Facebook (of course) page.

Apple isn't buying McLaren
The internet lost its collective shit when a rumour fell out of the arse of someone at the New York Times and the Financial Times that Apple is in talks to buy McLaren. Yeah, the F1 team McLaren, the supercar making McLaren. It ended up on every single blog with a pulse and ended up being total bullshit. Would have been fucking cool though.

Someone is dropping malware loaded USB drives around Melbourne letterboxes
A seriously cooked unit or a criminal mastermind (we may never know), has been distributing malicious USB flash drives in people's mailboxes across the Melbourne suburb of Pakenham. Of course, people don't know any better, plug this thing in and have their computer owned instantly, hahah. Man what a sweet scam. Chuck a cryptolocker on this thing and really fuck people up. Shit there's so many hacks you could pull off. I want someone to put one in my letterbox so I can see what they do.

Google’s chat bot app Allo is out
Google released Allo, which is like a WhatsApp/Telegram chat app thing, but with bots and AI that do your bidding. One of the features in Allo are Smart Replies, which suggest things to reply back to people with based on what Google has learned about your interactions with that person. The main attraction however, are assistants. You can chat with a Google bot to find stuff for you, even within a chat with a real human. There's weather assistants, sports results, games, news and actions like setting an alarm or timer. Here's a video of Allo in action.

Lenovo's stuffing up the ability for people to install Linux on their laptops
Lenovo's been copping a bit of shit around the net for blocking the installation of Linux on a bunch of its laptops. The issue surrounds laptops being configured in a RAID (despite only having one drive) that can't be disabled in the BIOS and that Linux doesn't have drivers for, so it can't see a volume to install on, hah. The reason it annoys the Linux people so much, is that they reckon this is done on purpose as part of Lenovo's licence agreement with Microsoft (it isn't). I don't know how this is any different to the cheapo laptops I've seen that have secure boot permanently on, preventing you from installing any OS besides the one pre-installed from the factory. This shit pisses me off.


The Apple II gets an OS update 23 years later
A few days ago, someone released a new version of ProDOS for the Apple II! Before this update, ProDOS was last touched in 1993. The new version even adds support for the Apple II clones Apple never supported in the first place. That's some lovely dedication to a wonderful computer. If you like the old Apple computers, you should try get out to KansasFest - a week of nerding out over 30+ year old computers. I really wanna go, even if it's just out of pure curiosity and to understand why these people still care, rather than any actual interest to learn more about the Apple II itself. I also want one of these scarves. (cheers to reader Michael Mulhern for reminding me about this!)

Netflix releases HQ test footage for free so codec devs have good reference video
Netflix has released high quality video footage, filmed specifically to test the limits of video encoding systems. It's a bit of a nonsensical film, but full of visual elements video encoders typically have trouble with. They've made the 12 minute film freely available under Creative Commons, in a huge 89GB 4k 60fps HDR file. Netflix hopes this helps to improve the quality of video encoding, particularly whilst the race is on for the next generation of video codecs to handle 4K. I guess this will be the Utah teapot or Lenna of video encoding now?

Ozbargain tech highlights
Sweet pricing from Kogan/DSE on a new 32GB iPad Pro 9.7" - only $610.40 including delivery. They've also got a 13" MacBook Air for $999, 32GB Apple TVs for $185 and a 32GB Nexus 6P for $458. MacFixIt has 15% off store wide, for all your weird Apple accessories ya can't find anywhere else. Telstra has a great SIM only plan offer at the moment - $40/m for 7GB.

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 Planet Of Sound, by Pixies. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!