The Sizzle

Issue 289 - Monday, 5th December 2016 - Pass Me The Scalpel, I'll Make An Incision


Apple kinda reveals that they're working on some self driving car related stuff
Apple's car project is the worst kept secret in the tech industry, but none the less, it's still a secret, with Apple not saying a word about anything to do with its car plans. But over the weekend, it sent a letter to the NHTSA explaining how Apple is excited about the potential of automated transportation and that it is investing heavily in this area. It must now be undeniable that Apple is doing *something* involving automobiles - be it a platform for other car makers to use, or rolling out their own car.

Some new PlayStation stuff
Sony's "PlayStation Experience" keynote took place on Saturday (Australian time). Announced at the event was an additional chapter to Uncharted 4, a sequel to the Last of Us and remastered versions of PlayStation classics Crash Bandicoot and Wipeout. Lots of other stuff I couldn't give a toss about too, but maybe you care.

UL tests 400 fake iPhone chargers, 99% fail safety tests
Underwriters Laboratories (the people responsible for that UL logo on electronics) has found that 99% of fake Apple chargers fail basic safety tests. UL Canada tested 400 of the things sourced from 8 different countries and out of those 400, 99% failed to achieve UL certification. The main cause of failure was poor isolation between the AC and DC parts of the charger. 12 of the chargers were so bad, that there was a high risk of electrocution. The full report from UL is available on their website. This is why I no longer use cheap USB chargers - totally not worth the risk to save $10 or $20.

New version of Chrome uses less RAM and disables Flash by default
Chrome version 55 is now out and if you're a Chrome user, it's a good update. In this version, Flash is disabled by default! It's pretty much what Safari does with Flash now - if there is Flash somewhere on the page, you will be prompted to run it, if you want. Chrome 55 also uses way less RAM than previously - up to 30% less in some circumstances.

Facebook finds new way to show you more ads in different places
Facebook's never ending quest to show you more relevant ads so advertisers will pay more for them, takes another creepy step as it's been revealed that Facebook is working with A&E to launch targeted TV commercials during streaming video sessions. Facebook would grab the IP of your Roku or Apple TV, know what IP you're using Facebook on via your PC or phone, then use its vast profile of data on you to allow advertisers to show ads on your TV catered for you during the streaming session. The greatest minds of our generation wasted away on ad tech.


South Korea legislates anti-cheating law for video games
South Korea takes video games very seriously. So seriously, that if you're caught making aimbots, hacks scripts or any other sorts of unauthorised mods for games is punishable by up to 5 years in jail. Apparently in games like Overwatch, a hugely popular eSports game, hacks thrive and has turned people off watching and taking part in the rather economically lucrative competitions. So this law wants to clean up the eSports scene to ensure a fair battle for all. Hopefully this will prevent a Lance Armstrong of StarCraft coming along and ripping apart the fabric of South Korean society.

Friction between German government and German automakers over electric cars
Interesting story in the English language version of Der Spiegel, discussing the friction between German government and German automakers when it comes to electric cars. The government can clearly see that the writing is on the wall for our old friend, the internal combustion engine, the German car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes and VW don't seem to share that same enthusiasm. Why does the government care? Well unlike the Australian government, the German government realises making cars is top shelf industry that generates loads of jobs, technical innovation and tax revenue. If the German car companies don't get EV right, they might cease to exist sooner rather than later.

$159 for a 4TB WD Red HDD is super cheap
Absolute ball-tearer of a bargain over at PLE right now, who, for some unknown reason, are selling 4TB WD Red NAS HDDs for only $159 each - way cheaper than anywhere else. Right now they're on backorder, but they're accepting orders at $159 and PLE are a pretty reputable joint, so if you've got a NAS that needs an upgrade, now is the time to buy.

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 Make Some Noise, by Beastie Boys. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!