The Sizzle

Issue 279 - Monday, 21th November 2016 - They Said I Can't Rap About Being Broke No More


Government loans NBN $19.5b to finish its half arsed project
Back in 2013 the Liberal party said it'll cost $29.5b to make its munted NBN and refused to give the government owned corporation any more cash. It'll just have to make do with the $29.5b given to it. Then, oh, suddenly after winning the election, their own review said it'll cost about $41b to complete the NBN and since then, the government has been considering what to do in order to get the NBN done. The government made NBN go look for private funding for years, but nobody wanted to throw a cent at it. On Friday the government decided to just give the NBN a loan itself for $19.5b. Round of applause for the NBN everyone, what a great job the government continues to do with our biggest ever infrastructure program.

Tesla shows us the latest capabilities of its autonomous car system
Tesla has posted another video demonstration of a Model S driving itself around. This time however, the car is going through busy streets, multiple intersections and avoiding obstacles. The video is also overlaid with representations of what the onboard computer is seeing and processing the things it notices. Someone also slowed the video down to play at real time speed, which uncovers a few more of the car's flaws compared to the sped up version Telsa released. Kinda related, the Australian National Transport Commission recently released a bunch of rule changes and guidelines required to allow self-driving cars to be tested and operated in Australia.

Obama won't be pardoning Snowden
I thought it would be a nice if one of the last things Obama did before leaving the White House was pardon patriot Edward Snowden. A few other people thought it'd be nice too and Obama was asked in an interview if he would consider doing that. Basically Obama said, it's hard to pardon someone that hasn't been through a court in the USA, so there's nothing to pardon, right now. I watched the Oliver Stone Snowden movie on the weekend. It was alright. My wife found it pretty damn boring and had to keep on asking questions about what the hell was going on, where as normally, I'm the one asking her what's happening in movies.

Australians are pirating less media now
You know how Village Roadshow and Foxtel love crapping on about how piracy is ruining their business, so much so that they have to go running to the government with fistfuls of cash to get special laws made just for them or the film and TV industry will die? Well a government funded study has found that media piracy in Australia has dropped since last year - and all this happened without draconian "three strikes" rules, or forcing the ISPs to pay to block websites. It's like, if you make things easy for people to pay for, at a reasonable price, they pay you. Revolutionary!

Telstra explains their $3b upgrade program
Telstra has announced it'll spend $3b on upgrading various systems over the next 3 years. $1.5b will go to upgrading its network to allow for 1gbit speeds in CBD areas over 4G and improving NBN speeds. $1b will be used to digitise stuff - which going by the article, means they're gonna move a lot of shit to the "cloud" and centralise systems (maybe they'll fix that clusterfuck that is their Siebel implementation?). $500m will be used to improve customer experience, which entails better customer service, simplifying products and growing revenue from existing customers. It'd be nice if Telstra had a more competitive bundle - I should be locked in to sweet deals for NBN, Foxtel and mobile, not getting each one from a different provider.


Pretty much everyone agrees that the NBN needs to ditch FTTN
Continuing the NBN discussion from the news, a few academics have been asked by the Senate to submit to it what they think should be done to improve the NBN. Pretty much all of them said to ditch the FTTN and install more fibre, even if it just goes to the boundary of the premises, just get that fibre in the ground, ASAP. Meanwhile the entire IT community in Australia is rolling its eyes and trying to hard not to spray paint "A FIBRE NBN I TOLD YOU SO" all over their local Liberal party Senator's office.

Decently priced external Thunderbolt GPU enclosure
There's a new low-ish cost Thunderbolt 3 external graphics card box on the market. If you wanna play some games on your new MacBook Pro with a proper GPU, like an Nvidia GTX1080, get this US$299 box, install Windows and go to town. It'll go on sale, in the US at least, in December. Could be a nice unit for those that only want a single computer to do everything, rather than a separate PC tower for games and a laptop for everything else. Technically it should work fine, as TB3 is just an extension of the PCIe bus, but I'd probably wait until this thing comes out and people can report on their experiences - it might not be as straightforward as it looks to get this going, particularly on a Mac.

Some Surface Studio reviews
Microsoft's fancy Surface Studio has arrived in the hands of reviewers and they're pretty happy with it. Main criticisms are that it's expensive and the specs are bit last generation, but they love the dial thingo and the tilting screen makes it perfect for drawing. Will be interesting to see reviews from people who actually paid for the units though and are using it for their jobs. Also interesting to note that the "pros" the sites let use their review models all said that they've made heavy investments in Macs over the past decade or more and leaving the Mac for Windows is still a big obstacle to overcome, regardless of how nice the hardware may be.

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 Kill You, by Eminem . Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!