The Sizzle

Issue 266 - Wednesday, 2nd November 2016 - When I'm In Holland I Eat The Pannenkoeken

It was great to meet the 10 or so people that rocked up to the Sizzle subscriber meetup in Sydney last night - thanks for the free beers! I'll do something in Melbourne before the end of the year.


Smartphones generate more web traffic than PCs now
There's now more people using the web on smartphones than on desktop computers. According to StatCounter, who track this sort of shit, 51.3% of web traffic on the sites it monitors came from smartphones or tablets in October. I guess we already knew that the desktop PC is a dinosaur, but stuff like this is popping up pretty often to remind us of that fact. You'll take my desktop from my cold dead hands.

Instapaper makes premium features free for everyone
Instapaper, which was recently purchased by Pinterest, has decided to make its paid, premium subscription, free for everyone. Sounds nice, but usually this is is the death rattle of a tech company. A new owner, making the product free - there has to be a catch somewhere? How are they gonna make money otherwise? It'll be a shame to see it shit the bed eventually, as it's one of my most used apps.

Instagram trials tagging items in pics with links to online stores
Instagram, definitely the most popular of the Insta prefixed apps, has finally developed into its ultimate form. Users can now tag their photos with links to online stores so people can buy the stuff they're seeing. That woman in the bikini holding a fancy herbal tea - tap the tea and get taken to the tea's online store. The fancy water bottle your fitness obsessed mate is lugging around during his marathon training - tap it and you too can own one. Right now Instagram is still trialling it with a handful of selected brands.

Microsoft releases educational version of Minecraft
Microsoft have made an educational version of Minecraft for use in schools. From the article: "Education Edition isn’t dramatically different from regular Minecraft. It’s pretty much the same game, just with some tools that’ll make things easier for teachers — there’s a way to see where all their students are on a map, give students different resources, and teleport people to specific locations. There are also a few new in-game items, including a camera and a chalkboard." I remember when I was at school, we tried to convince the teacher Age of Empires was educational, so let us play it in class. Now kids have official condoning of in class gaming from Microsoft! Spoiled brats, all of em.

Twitter adds new features for customer service accounts
Twitter has rolled out some new features to please businesses that use Twitter as a customer service platform. One of the features is an automated DM that pops up when you initiate a DM with a company, to make it look like you're chatting to a human. There's also quick replies, which is like a phone menu of multiple choice answers that a person can answer with in order to better filter the query to the right person (or avoid having to talk to a person in the first place).


Cheap Dell Inspiron 3000 11" laptop that doesn't suck
Right now I'm using a Dell Inspiron 11 3000 11" laptop to write today's issue of The Sizzle. I paid like $350 for it as a refurbished unit from Dell. Now Dell is selling the same laptop for $320 brand new. It's got a shithouse CPU (N3710), but the proper SSD and 4GB of RAM (both of which are user replaceable!) are good enough to make it a perfect writing and web surfing machine for me on the odd occasion I'm not at my desk. Weighs about a kilo and the plastic case is pretty sturdy. I enjoy using it, which is rare to say for a $320 computer. I could probably use this as my primary computer if I had to (though I'd chuck in some extra RAM).

Apple changed how their emojis look in iOS 10.2
Someone is cracking the shits because Apple has redesigned the aesthetic of their emoji in iOS 10.2 (which is in beta at the moment). Yep. The cheese has moved and the normies are upset. Fucken emoji. This isn't ancient Egypt where we communicate with hieroglyphics. Anyway, read that, because I'm sure someone you know will ask you about why the emoji was changed and you can tell them, "who cares".
Discuss is back with some new gadgets nobody will buy, a man of many skills, including music and gadget inventing, has a new creation for the world to enjoy. It's not coffee related, but a pair of headphones with magnetic discs on them so that you can use them as a necklace when they're not in your ears. Revolutionary, magical, fashionable, amazing. Somehow managed to get Apple to sell them in their stores, the parent company of Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci to invest and I assume gave a pile of cash to Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell to be "brand ambassadors" too. This is gonna be a hit guys, not like the Puls (not a typo) smartwatch or the camera. Trust me, third time lucky!

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 Super Disco Breakin', by Beastie Boys. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!