The Sizzle

Issue 262 - Wednesday 25th October 2016 - Cool As A Cucumber In A Bowl Of Hot Sauce


Apple leaks pics of new MacBook Pro in macOS update
Apple inadvertently (or maybe on purpose?) leaked images of the new MacBook Pro within image assets in the latest macOS update. The image shows the rumoured Magic Toolbar OLED screen strip and built in Touch ID sensor above one of those shitty slim keyboards like on the MacBook. To make space for the Magic Toolbar, they got rid of the function keys and the escape key. Controversial! Lots of courage here again from Apple, mmhmm. We'll find out on Friday morning how Apple spins this to be a Good Thing and why the escape key is just another computing appendix we should be thanking Apple for removing for us.

Xiaomi releases an almost bezel free smartphone
Xiaomi released a new phone with an edgeless display. The Mi Mix has a 6.4" screen with almost no bezel. It just goes straight to the edges at the sides and top. The bottom is a small chin with a camera in it. It'll be available in very small quantities towards the end of the year in China. They even made their own Apple-esque video replacing Jony Ive with Philippe Starck (who seems to be the Jony Ive for hire lately) talking about the design and then a video from the engineers talking about the challenges in making the Mi Mix. Go Xiaomi! They also announced the Mi VR (Google Daydream clone) and the Mi Note 2 (Samsung Note 7 clone) - you can watch the full event on YouYube if ya want. It's a bit tough as everything is in Chinese and translated live and all the sounds are a bit disorientating.

A truck full of beer drove along the US interstate on its own
Otto, the self driving truck company owned by Uber, has completed its first highway only autonomous delivery. The truck went on a 200km delivery, carrying Budweiser beer along the interstate, without any human intervention. They still had a meatsack in the drivers seat to get it on and off the highway, but still, it marks a line in our history where the job of a truck driver started to become obsolete and the beginning of how we decide to handle the social ramifications of that. The future is here, now what do we do?

Google Jamboard is a 4K TV running Android designed to replace a whiteboard at work
Google has announced the Jamboard, a 55" 4K touchscreen display that runs Android and is a fancy whiteboard for companies with US$6000 to burn on such a thing. There's an app for iOS and Android that lets you interact with the Jamboard without having to get up and touch it. There's a camera and mic for Google Hangouts and any work you do on the Jamboard is syncd to Google Docs. It'll be out some time next year, here's the launch blog post & video.

Australian content owners want ISPs to block a torrent site that's already been shut down
Remember how Foxtel and Village and music labels got a law made just for them so they can force ISPs to block torrent sites? Well one of the torrent sites they want to block, Kickass Torrents, has already been taken down and its owner arrested in Poland - but the content owners are still want the sites copycat clones blocked. They all use different URLs and most of them don't even work, hah. Dunno why they're wasting time in court trying to get them blocked. A theory I read in the comments at TorrentFreak was that the media companies wanted the ISPs to agree to block these non-existent sites for free, then the media companies can use that as precedent to block further sites that actually work for free too. Welcome to the logic and underhandedness of big content owners!


Set up a server for secure comms in about 10 minutes with this script
If you've got shit you wanna hide from the government or your ISP is spying on you, check out Streisand. It's a script that sets up a clean Ubuntu server you can funnel your Internet access through to avoid censorship, filtering and any other impediments to clean web surfing. It securely (i.e: set up not to keep logs) sets up services like a proxy, VPN and SSH server on EC2, Digital Ocean, Linode, Google Cloud or Rackspace (and any other host with a tiny tweak) with a few simple commands, then allows you to share non-technical info with anyone else that might need access. Here's the details to connect to a Streisand server I set up while writing this, check it out.

People are making their own Tesla Powerwall battery packs
I stumbled across this guy on YouTube (via Hackaday) that's making his own "Tesla Powerwall" (A Powerwall is just a bunch of 18650s with a fancy controller) out of abandoned 18650 cells he's managed to scrounge up. Dude managed to get over 1000 of them, stuck em in his shed and gets 30kWh out of the setup, which is charged by some solar panels. Surprisingly, his shed hasn't burnt down. He's even made a forum where other people who like taking risks with lithium can hang out and chat about how not to die. Good on them for having a tinker though. They've got bigger balls than me.

Send an SMS to send a Postcard anywhere in the world for US$3
Postacard is a fun little service where you just SMS a photo an address and some text to a +1-650-285-1713 then click a link and have a postcard of that photo you sent to the address you sent. Costs US$3 to send a postcard anywhere in the world. They're integrating it into Facebook Messenger too, which can also integrate payment platforms (like PayPal), which would remove the need to click a link. What a cute use of tech, hey?

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 So What’Cha Want, by Beastie Boys. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!