The Sizzle

Issue 290 - Tuesday, 6th December 2016 - I'm Richard


Amazon makes a 7-11 without a cashier
Amazon has opened a convenience store in Seattle, called Amazon Go (watch the video). The concept is to sell stuff without there being a cashier involved. There's barriers at the entry to the store that scan a QR code off your phone. Once you're in, take stuff off the shelf, walk out and it's all charged to your Amazon account. How it works exactly is under debate as right now it's only for Amazon employees to try out, so the nerds can't get in there and dissect what's happening. Arstechnica hung around outside and peeked through the windows like a horny dude trying to watch his neighbour's hot wife taking a shower.

Melbourne's Zero Latency gets some funding to spread it's VR tech
Zero Latency scored $7m in additional funding recently, helping the Melbourne company bring its unique VR experience to the world. Zero Latency won an award at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in Florida for it's huge scale VR experience, which is currently being installed in a venue in Madrid, three in the USA and in a Sega-owned theme park in Tokyo. You can actually try it out now down in North Melbourne if you want to see what the fuss about. I always love to see Australians doing cool stuff and getting noticed overseas.

Nobody knows why Basslink shit itself
Remember when Tasmania had no internet for a while, then shitty internet for a few months because the Basslink cable was damaged? After a six month investigation into the incident, the cause of the damage is unknown. The cable wasn't damaged at a joint and there was no evidence of any other damage elsewhere along the cable. There's no more investigation planned for the cable's failure, so that's it, we will never know what took an entire state off the grid.

Apple Watch shipments fall by 70%
New IDC estimates have revealed that Apple Watch shipments for last quarter were kinda low, with Apple "only" selling 1.1 million watches since the launch of the Apple Watch 2. That's a 71% drop since the same time in 2015. The rest of the market, which is focused pretty much on fitness only, has seen growth. Apple still remains the leader in wearables though, with 40% of the sales going to Apple. I bet Apple make more profit off the Watch than the rest of the industry combined too (which isn't in this report).

The ATO makes a tax Siri called Alex
The ATO has hooked up with Nuance Communications (who have been rumoured to be behind running Siri on the iPhone 4S before Apple brought it all in house) to create Alex, the Siri (or Alexa?) for tax. It's been trialled with 950,000 conversations at the ATO since March with some people not even realising they're talking to a computer. Which I think, says more about them, to be honest, than the quality of Alex. I guess it's good the ATO are doing things "digital by default", the ATO website is actually quite handy for giving answers to a lot of questions I have about tax.


Wireless 1080p outdoor security cam that runs on AA batteries for 2 years
Blink now has an outdoor weatherproof wireless video camera that runs off two AA batteries for up to 2 years. Literally no cables required! Chuck this camera anywhere you want within wi-fi range, and it'll stream 1080p video to the cloud for ya. I find it amazing it'll run for 2 years on AA batteries - even if the batteries are high capacity lithium ones. Doesn't even seem that expensive at US$119 either. Not having to run cables or power to the cameras is a game changer. I want some.

Chinese tourists disappointed after visiting Silicon Valley
Here's a funny, or maybe kinda sad, story from the New York Times about Chinese tourists visiting Silicon Valley and leaving disappointed. If you've ever been to San Francisco, you'll know what I'm talking about. There's not really much there to look at when it comes to "tech" culture besides a few museums, that unless you're into the history of computers (I fucken love it), will make you wonder what the big deal is about. I don't know what these people expected to like, see, but I can understand going away from looking at offices and going "hmm, is that it?"

Goggle's Trusted Contacts app is designed to let people know you're safe
Google has made an app that'll automatically share your location to people you give permission to. It's an interesting concept - you add people as "trusted contacts" who can view your location at any time. The app pops up a notification saying so and so wants to see where you are, and you can approve, or deny it. But if you don't respond, it automatically displays where your phone (and by extension - you, as you'd never move anywhere without your phone, right) to the person that asked and who is already on your trusted list of contacts. Could be useful for tracking your kids, if you're into that sort of thing. What happens if you deny a location request though? That could get awkward.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Today's subject line is to remind you to listen to some Get This and reminisce about Richard Marsland. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!