The Sizzle

Issue 273 - Friday, 11th November 2016 - Get Behind Me


Snapchat's camera sunnies, Spectacles, go on sale
Snapchat's sunnies with a built in camera have launched in Los Angeles today. The Spectacles have been made available by some weird looking yellow vending machines that'll be randomly moved around the USA. Right now there's just one machine, in Venice Beach, where people are lining up to buy a pair. Here's what the glasses are like in action. Interesting how they didn't bother sending these to the usual tech gear reviewers - I guess Snap realises that their potential customers don't really give a crap about what CNET or The Washington Post think, get the famous kids wearing a pair and they'll sell themselves.

Instagram chucks us a few features to take our minds off Snapchat
Not to let its competitor steal all the headlines, Instagram added a few new things to its Stories feature. There's now links (e.g: chuck a link to your blog in the Story), the ability to tag other Instagram users and Boomerang support for 1.5 second clips, all within Stories.

The Galileo GNSS gains more satellites
Europe's alternative to GPS, Galileo, is getting closer to gaining global coverage. The ESA will launch 4 new satellites next week, bringing the total constellation to 18. A total of 30 satellites (24 in use, 6 spare) is required for full globe coverage. The remaining birds will be launched by 2020 and will ultimately provide up to 1cm accuracy for VIP uses and 1m accuracy for public use. Soon we will have GPS (USA), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe) and BeiDou (China) providing worldwide location services.

The "let's blame the internet for making Trump president" theory
NeimanLab is placing some of the blame on a Trump presidency on Facebook's dodgy news feed algorithm creating an echo chamber full of fake news stories that people can't seem to realise are fake. Facebook has acknowledged the fact it was spreading fake news and vows to fix it, maybe, somehow, we don't know. Backchannel reckons it was the army of bots on Twitter, as well as Trump's direct no-filter tweeting that got him across the line, together with some help from Russia spear phishing John Podesta and Wikileaks.

New emoji coming mid-2017
The Unicode consortium has made public a list of 51 new emoji it proposes for the Unicode 10 standard. You can see the list of emoji here, but not all the actual images, as it's still a proposed list and not implemented by vendors yet. Face With Monocle, Face With Open Mouth Vomiting, Shocked Face With Exploding Head, Socks, Cut of Meat and Person in Steamy Room will be available for use in mid-2017.


Google Daydream VR is out and looks interesting
Google's Daydream View has hit reviewers faces and by all accounts, it's the best "chuck your phone in front of your eyes" VR headset yet. Here's Ausdroid's review. It's quite similar to Samsung's Gear VR, as there's a whole UI involved, where you can pick the apps you'd like to use from a VR interface. The Verge is a fan of YouTube on the Daydream platform. There's not a lot of apps which support Daydream yet, which kinda disappointed most reviewers. You also need a pretty new Android flagship phone (i.e: a Pixel), for Daydream to work.

Halfbrick's fall from innovative game developer to thinly veiled gambling crapware developer
Kotaku has an interesting story about the demise of Halfbrick, the creators of Fruit Ninja. The story starts off with the Brisbane based Halfbrick grinding out games for various publishers, until they struck it rich with Fruit Ninja on smartphones and dozens of other platforms and managed to repeat that success again with Jetpack Joyride. Unfortunately, bean counters took over and the rest of their games post-Jetpack are pretty shit and morale at the company has hit rock bottom as most of the creative people who want to make games, not casino trick shovelware, have left.

The Internet History Podcast
I've been enjoying the The Internet History Podcast lately, as it goes through the events and people that made the internet what it is today. It's split up into chapters, each one explaining a section of 90s internet history, like how Netscape came about, Microsoft's attempt to own the internet, the early search engines, Wired, Slate and Suck and is currently up to the early days of Ecommerce. It's weird listening to a "history" of something I remember being part of! Could be good for the kiddies that want to know more about how the internet grew, or just old fucks like me who want to reminisce about the good old days.

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 Blue Orchid, by The White Stripes. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!