The Sizzle

Issue 261 - Tuesday 25th October 2016 - You Know The Bronx Is Up And I'm Brooklyn Down


Twitter's gonna sack a bunch of people
Looks like Twitter is still circling the drain. According to Bloomberg, Twitter is probably gonna sack 8% of its workforce, which is about 300 people, in order to combat any negative sentiment about its expected shitty financial results later this week. This latest piece of bad news is on top of the failure of anyone to actually buy Twitter during its desperate attempt to sell itself to Salesforce, Disney or Alphabet over the past few weeks.

Apple updated their operating systems
Apple have unloaded some updates to their operating systems. Mac OS X macOS 10.12.1 brings support for the iPhone 7 Plus bokeh effect to Photos and general reliability and bug fix updates. Maybe even some hardware support for new Macs later this week? watchOS 3.1 has a few Messages tweaks, battery life improvements and of course, bug fixes. tvOS 10.0.1 is very minor, just bug fixes. iOS 10.1's headline feature is portrait mode (aka fake bokeh) for the iPhone 7 Plus, public transport support in Maps for Japan and loads of other fixes.

New York Times buys Wirecutter for US$30m
One of my favourite websites, The Wirecutter, has been sold to The New York Times for US$30m. If you're unfamiliar with The Wirecutter, it was started by Brian Lam, who left Gizmodo not long after the whole iPhone 4 theft scandal. Wirecutter was a great site to get tech product recommendations on. They'd get a whole bunch of items in a specific category, try em all out and tell you which one sucked and which ones didn't and ultimately gave a recommendation. They expanded that out to domestic items like appliances and tools at The Sweet Home. All their cash was made via affiliate links to Amazon for purchases of the recommended products. Really smart and I wish I thought of it, hah. I wonder how Wirecutter will go with new owners who want a return on their investment?

Jack Ma wants China to do some Minority Report style crime prevention
The Jeff Bezos of China, founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, wants to turn China into Minority Report/Person of Interest. He reckons China should leverage all the data it has on its citizens and use it to protect it against crime before it happens. As an example, he thinks if someone buys a high pressure cooker, a timer, some gun powder and ball bearings all at once - that's probably a good reason for the police to send an officer out to have a chat. China already has laws where the government has unrestricted access to all internet data and accounts belonging to Chinese people, so this is just the next logical step. Of course, this leads to it being misused and the debate about what rights people are willing to give up in return for safety.

Smartwatch sales are cooked
Smartwatch sales have collapsed. IDC's report into sales of the things has noticed that shipments are down over 50% from this time last year. The Apple Watch suffered an even greater decline in sales, with 72% less sold in Q3 2016 than Q3 2015. There's a few reasons the market is soft - everyone knew an updated Apple Watch was coming soon, so people held off, plus Google delayed Android Wear 2.0 and the Samsung Gear S3 wasn't out yet either.


Civ 6 is on Mac now and some other Civ 6 stuff
Civ 6 is out for Mac! Grab it now on Steam. I've not played as much Civ 6 as I would have liked but it's pretty good! This story about someone's first game was interesting - religion plays a much bigger part of Civ 6 than it did in previous versions. There's also some attempts to get Civ 6 on the pro eSports roster. I'd be up for some of that!

Some lols from the Senate inquiry into the stuffed 2016 Census
A senate inquiry into what the fuck went on with the 2016 Census failure is going on right now, so I haven't read much about it as it's been happening. A person from IBM told the inquiry that the main reason shit broke was because a router lost its config after a reboot and that their testing didn't show that because they never actually did a real test, just a "simulation". Also nobody from IBM has been sacked over the Census failure. Read into that what you will. Expect more about this tomorrow as the inquiry ends and the IT press writes it up.

Intel and Qualcomm iPhone 7 variants go head to head
Someone with access to a very nice radio testing rig (We have been using the Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) CMWflexx setup containing two R&S CMW500 and one R&S CMWC controller, as well as the R&S TS7124 RF Shielded Box with four Vivaldi antennas) took two iPhone 7s using an Intel modem and a Qualcomm modem and put them head to head to see what the differences are. The Qualcomm solution is much better. iPhones in Australia got the Intel stuff. Not that surprising, as Qualcomm are pretty much the market leaders and Intel are the scrappy underfunded startup (lol) in this space. What is interesting is why Apple used it even though the Qualcomm one is better on pretty much every metric? My theory is that Apple wanted to throw Intel a bone seeing as they're gonna ditch their x86 processors soon enough and to also give Qualcomm a little slap to remind them they'll happily ditch them if Intel catches up, so like, lower ya prices Qualcomm.

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 Hello Brooklyn, by Beastie Boys. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!