The Sizzle

Issue 248 - Thursday, 6th October 2016 - South Carolina Kid Heating Things Up


A new Note 7 exploded on a plane and Samsung buys Viv
Two bits of Samsung news. First, some poor bloke in the USA has his replacement Note 7's battery explode on a plane. Luckily it decided to fail while passengers were boarding, not while it was in the air. Better news for Samsung, is their purchase of Viv, who you might remember as a bunch of ex-Apple people who were part of SIRI when Apple purchased them and turned it into the digital assistant that only sometimes does what I want it to do. They even made a video explaining why they purchased Viv.

Twitter doing the dog and pony show for potential buyers
Twitter is still for sale and Bloomberg, together with the Wall Street Journal, are pumping out stories about Twitter's potential suitors and why someone would bother buying the service. Bloomberg is focusing on Jack Dorsey's failure to increase revenue and profits, despite deals with the NFL and tweaks to the platform. The WSJ (paywalled, sorry, use Google News to get around it) reckons Salesforce is the leading the pack and is super keen to buy Twitter, because it reckons there's a massive potential for harvesting data. My take: if Salesforce buys Twitter it will be a disaster because Salesforce are the tech equivalent of a real estate agent that moonlights selling used cars.

Playstation VR reviews are in
Reviews of the Playstation VR are out ahead of its release in just a few days. IGN, Polygon, Arstechnica and Kotaku AU have takes. Opinion seems to be mixed - some people reckon it's fantastic and lovely for the price, with a great comfortable headset, the most comfy headset available. Others think it's a difficult to set up (loads of cables, gotta move furniture) waste of money. Most of the angst seems to be that the PS4 hasn't really got the grunt to do proper VR and the PSVR is more of a $780 tech demo than anything game changing. This review on Motherboard sums it up pretty well for the non-hardcore gamer. I still kinda want to buy it though. Maybe I'll wait for the EB pre-ordering game freaks to buy it, get bored and sell their kit up on Gumtree for like $450.

Australia's first driverless car is roaming around Victoria
Bosch has taken $1.2m of handouts from the Victorian government and used it over the past 9 months to develop a driverless car. It's a Tesla Model S with extra Bosch stuff added on at their factory in Clayton, and will be used by various government departments and other people in the industry to see what a driverless car can do and how we should adapt to a future where these things are zipping around the streets of Victoria. Apparently it's Australia's first self-driving car?

Everyone knows the NBN is a dog's breakfast
A survey about people's perceptions on the NBN, carried out by the Essential Report, has gathered some coverage in the Guardian today. It looks like the punters know it's an absolute dog's breakfast, and that throwing a few extra cans of PAL into the dog's breakfast, doesn't fix this dog's breakfast. The most optimistic stat in the report is that 88% of people agree (there's various levels of agreement) that the internet is an essential service like water and electricity and 90% of those who agree are over the age 55. I wish so much that internet access was treated more like a utility. Meanwhile NBN's 2nd satellite has launched, hopefully easing congestion for those stuck using the satellite service.


Western Bulldogs used AI and machine learning to win the flag
The Western Bulldogs had a wonderful season in the AFL this year and they attribute a lot of it to their use of machine learning and stats gathering that's ahead of most of the league. The article doesn't explain too much (guess they don't want to give away their secrets) but they're able to use loads of sensors to measure almost every aspect of a player's activity, down to precise X/Y co-ordinates on the field, then feed that info into computers which will give the coaching stuff advice on what to do in various scenarios based on a player's current performance. For next season they plan to use it live, in the coaches box during games. It's literally a team coached by a computer!

Some Ozbargain deals
Finally the cheapskates (I love em) at Ozbargain have dug up the good deals as part of eBay's 20% off tech sale. Here's some highlights: GTX1080 for $860 delivered (perfect, maybe overkill, for Civ6 in 2 weeks). A Toshiba 240GB SSD for just $71. Separate to the eBay sale, there's a $50 off voucher for any purchase over $250 at StoreDJ (perfect if you want some headphones or audio gear)

iPhone 7 camera is good
A Japanese street photographer I've never heard of but is apparently well respected, took some side by side pics with an iPhone 7 and a Lecia M9-P (a US$9,000 camera with a lens). The iPhone 7 holds up very well. Japanese photographer man is impressed. Of course, people in the comments are raging that the Pixel has a better camera, that of course it'll work fine in outdoor light, that there's no bokeh, online photos aren't a good test, a "photographers" trained eye can tell the difference and throwing accusations of mental illnesses to people they've never met.

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 Romantic Rights, by Death From Above 1979. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!