The Sizzle

Issue 270 - Tuesday, 8th November, 2016 - Any Man With A Microphone Can Tell You What He Loves The Most


Telcos now have to run their hardware purchases past the government for approval
All carriers and some carriage service providers in Australia now have to get approval from the government to buy networking gear. So if someone like say, Vocus, decides to buy some new routers, they have to let the government know and the government can veto that purchase on national security grounds. It's all about making sure the equipment used in Australia isn't full of backdoors and shit so that other nations can't eavesdrop on our comms. And by backdoors I mean non-US backdoors and by nations I mean Russia or China. US backdoors and purposely unpatched software are all good.

China ratchets up internet surveillance on its citizens
And speaking of Chinese government spying, they've taken internet surveillance to another level with some new laws. Signing up for any internet service, like chat, forums, online stores, etc. must be done with a real name, no pseudonyms and the operators of any internet service must censor any prohibited content (i.e: talking about how democracy is awesome and how great Tibet or Taiwan is). Tech companies in China are also being forced to offer the government "technical support", which is interpreted as being forced to add backdoors into software when the government demands it.

Tesla Supercharger will no longer be free for new customers in 2017
The Tesla Supercharger free ride will be over for new Tesla customers come the start of 2017. Current Model S owners will get Supercharging for free for the life of the car, as promised, but new owners of a Tesla (i.e: Model 3 owners) will have to pay to charge their car a Supercharger once they use the included 400kWh of free electricity. This isn't really a big deal, as the Supercharger network was really designed to assist on road trips, not be a day to day charger. Pricing for using a Supercharger hasn't been announced yet.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited launches in Australia
Amazon has launched Kindle Unlimited in Australia. For $13.99/m you can go hog wild with whatever you like on the Kindle Store. It's Netflix, but for books. I had no idea this even existed. You'd have to read a shitload of books to make this worth it. I barely manage one book a month, who's chomping through 3 or 4 books a month? I envy you. JB Hi-Fi just started selling the Kindle too.

New version of Gmail for iOS
Gmail on iOS got a huge update to match Gmail on Android. It's way better now. This is big news to me because I use the Gmail iOS app on my iPad and iPhone multiple times a day because Google's IMAP support is trash and searching my huge archive emails via the iOS Mail app's interface is a garbage fire. Can even swipe to delete and there's an undo button if you trash an email by accident.


What happened to Japanese laptops?
Who remembers Japanese laptops? The sleek early to mid 2000s Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and Fujitsu laptops where a cut above the HP, Dell and IBM units of the same time. I remember lusting after a Sony X505 for a while and always thought the Toshiba Libretto series was pretty cool. Jamie Little also wondered what happened to all those Japanese laptops - there's no answer for as to why, but it just reminded me of that time when the Japanese had all the cool computers.

A guide to educational tech toys for kids that don't suck
It's almost Christmas, which means buying kids presents. If you want to buy some kid you know a toy that's educational as well as fun, maybe even something that teaches them about electronics or computers, The Wirecutter has taken a look at what's available so you don't waste your cash on a shitty present. I wish this sort of stuff was around when I was kid, they all look so much fun and actually might teach you something. I had Dick Smith's Fun Way into electronics though, which was also great.

Ozbargain finds - PlayStation credit, Kogan Mobile & Lenovo laptop
Two Ozbargain finds for you today: first is 15% off PlayStation store gift cards at 7-11 until the 5th of December. PlayStation credit rarely goes on sale too, unlike iTunes. Second, a sweet deal on a very well spec'd Lenovo E570 laptop - i7-7500U, 16GB RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, 1080p 15" screen, GTX950M GPU, $1028. Finally, Kogan is offering fat discounts on its pre-paid mobile service (they're a Vodafone MVNO) if you buy a year's worth of credit. Works out to $23/m for 8GB of data! The low end plan is just $10.36/m for unlimited calls, SMS and 1GB.

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 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground, by The White Stripes . Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!