The Sizzle

Issue 280 - Tuesday, 22nd November 2016 - Dear Mr. I'm-Too-Good-to-Call-or-Write-My-Fans


No more Apple AirPort routers
Apple is shitcanning its range of AirPort wireless routers. Apple could have made very nice routers, kept up to date with the latest trends - but they didn't. Anyone wanting a nice router now has to actually do research and think for themselves, critically judging the market, rather than blindly buying whatever Apple sell. Which for a lot of people, is a pain in the fucking arse as that takes time, knowledge and effort that could be spent doing other, more interesting things. For me though, the nerd with no life and who enjoys researching, nothing has changed. Hopefully the Ubiquiti Amplifi gear hits Australian shores soon. The Wirecutter goes over some good wi-fi routers if you need one urgently.

The IRS wants all of Coinbase's US customer info
The IRS has asked Coinbase, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, to give it a list of all its US users and the trades they've made over the past 3 years, so they can check who owes the US federal government money. The US treats Bitcoin like property and the sale of which, results in taxes. None of this is particularly unusual for financial institutions - the government wants their slice, always and monitors all financial transactions like a hawk. But Coinbase is a bit pissed off that all their US customers are part of the investigation, rather than specific people the IRS is interested in finding out more about. Any illusions people had about Bitcoin being private and shit, must be gone now, at least until you wanna trade your BTC for real money. The ATO has some tax guidance for Bitcoin, if you're interested.

Optus wants to make a voice bot that is accessible during phone calls
Optus has mentioned to iTnews that it is working on an in-call personal assistant, called You "summon the bot" by saying its name during a conversation. There's an API developers can hook in to and Optus is currently courting them to integrate their stuff into its service. To me, this sounds fucking shithouse. You have to talk to a bot, during a phone call? What would you even use it for? My immediate thought is some sort of calendar checking service - "OI CALENDAR BOT, WHAT AM I DOING ON THURSDAY AROUND 2PM", "Anthony, on Tuesday, at 10PM you are free" "FUCK YOU CALENDAR BOT, sorry Mum, this bot thing sucks". Good on em for having a crack at something interesting though. Maybe it'll go better than say, oh, virtually everything Optus ever tried besides providing dumb pipes (which they often can't do all that well anyways) to customers.

Instagram did a thing
Instagram now lets ya live stream video to your followers. It also lets you make pics you send to people disappear after they've been viewed. Basically Instagram is taking bits of Snapchat and Facebook and slapping them into its app. Extremely on fleek and woke. Again, I mention this sort of thing not because I think it's very important, but because all the normies will care and when it comes up in conversation, you'll at least be aware of its existence, even if you've never used it. Fake it 'till you make it. Fam.

Microsoft apparently working on an x86 emulator for ARM
It looks like Microsoft is working on an emulator to let ARM CPUs run x86 code. The project's codename is Cobalt and has been "revealed" by Mary Jo Foley, who is kinda like Gruber, but for Microsoft. Why would Microsoft want this? Making Continuum mode way more useful, or even a Surface phone. You could plug your smartphone into a dock that's hooked up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and it's your PC and it'll run all the x86 apps you know and love, not just the handful of apps that have dual ARM/x86 binaries. I know a certain fruit company that might have a use for this too.


Ozbargain stuff
A few Ozbargain finds for today: Seagate NAS 8TB HDDs (not the slower Archive drives) for just AU$340ea delivered from Amazon. Xiaomi dash cam (I have one, it's good for the price), for $65. Crucial 525GB SSD for $160 and GTX1080 GPU for $780 at the Shopping Express eBay store. 3TB & 4TB Seagate NAS HDDs for $159 & $209 at SaveOnIt. This one's not from Ozbargain, but from Peter Wells, who found this 2-for-1 deal on Laser USB-C hubs.

MSI's backpack computer for VR
MSI are selling a backpack computer designed for VR. It's pretty much a laptop with shoulder straps. The aim is to remove all the stupid cables VR systems use, so you don't get tangled up and fall over. Wireless VR still isn't a thing that works well due to latency issues, so chucking it on in a box that goes on your back is a decent idea. Shame they gimped it with just a GTX1070 GPU, couldn't they have chucked in a GTX1080? VR needs all the GPU grunt it can get.

A detailed explanation as to why the MacBook Pro only has 16GB of RAM
MacDaddy (lol) has published a legit explanation as to why the new MacBook Pro only has 16GB of RAM. Basically Phil Schiller was correct in saying that adding an extra 16GB would sacrifice too much battery life. First time I've seen someone properly explain why DDR4 uses more power than DDR3 and how that would impact power consumption overall. I didn't think RAM would make that much of a difference, but apparently, it does. Could have argued that Apple should have made the laptop a bit thicker and chucked in more battery to compensate, but this is Apple we're talking about here - thinner is better, always.

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