The Sizzle

Issue 293 - Friday, 9th December 2016 - Show It To Your Friends And Say, "That's My Old Self"


One of the first Twitter bots will let you know when your Sydney train is late
Twitter has partnered with Transport NSW to make a bot that'll send you DMs if your train is rooted. Send a message to @TfNSWAlerts and it'll DM you how to set up the notifications. Choose a starting point and a destination and which hours you want to know when something's up and it'll tell ya when your ride is late because some bloke couldn't wait to huff a bag of spray paint until he got home and Cityrail (is it still called Cityrail?) had to suspend the line while the cops dealt with him.

Snowden explains a crafty way GCHQ & NSA were spying on GSM phones on planes
Ed "Patriot" Snowden's leaks keep on coming - this leak explains how GCHQ and the NSA were able to leverage in-flight GSM services (i.e: the ability to use ya mobile for a chat whilst in the air) to track targets, even if they were not specifically making a call. Just having your phone on and associating the femtocell on the plane was enough for the spies to know where someone was traveling to and from. Crafty cunts hey?

Qualcomm and Microsoft working together to make Windows and ARM a thing
Microsoft has decided to make full blown Windows on ARM, again. Windows 8 on the Surface ran on ARM (but didn't go anywhere) and now Microsoft is hooking up with Qualcomm to make sure Windows 10 runs properly on its ARM CPUs, commonly found in smartphones and tablets. This is kinda the next logical step for Continuum - where you can plug a phone into a dock and have it be your "proper" computer - but it only allows certain apps to run in that mode and certainly not any x86 apps. In this new arrangement with Qualcomm, the current batch of x86 chips will run emulated (how well, we don't know). There's a lot of places Microsoft could take this I reckon. The convergence of a tablet, smartphone and desktop/laptop computer is inevitable and Microsoft already has the Surface going on. I wonder if there's some way to get a 13" screen into a 5.5" smartphone?

Jimmy Fallon loses his shit playing on a Nintendo Switch (and other Nintendo stuff)
Nintendo showed off two of their most important products on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon early this morning. First up was some game play from Super Mario Run, which is coming to iOS next week. If you can still tolerate Fallon's weird excitement (dude, relax), watch him play some of the new Zelda on the Switch. If you want some more Nintendo love, there's an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto on The Verge that I haven't read but I assume is interesting for Nintendo fans.

Australian mandatory data retention isn't working because it's too hard for AU ISPs
Remember the big song and dance the government made about mandatory data retention and that every ISP will have to do it, or the bosses will be chucked in a gulag on Manus Island or something? Well after 2 years, it still isn't really happening because there's ISPs which can't afford to do it and haven't been able to access funding from the government. So if you're a terrorist wanting to research how to launch a dirty bomb at the Grand Final (or someone who wants to leak government data that might make a minister look stupider than they already are), just use an ISP that's too tight to implement the data retention system. What a nice use of time, money and energy for the Australian internet industry.


Vodafone's Red Roaming shits on Telstra and Optus
Australian Business Traveler has compared Telstra, Optus and Vodafone's overseas roaming pricing. Optus and Telstra charge crazy money for their overseas data. Vodafone have the $5 Red Roaming thingo that's a straight up bargain compared to the other two. In NZ roaming is free - how good is that? If you're the kind of person who goes overseas for short stints often and your work is too cheap to pay for roaming, you probably want to be on Vodafone. But if you're gonna stay in a country more than a few days, you want a local SIM, even on Vodafone.

More proof that iiNet sucks since TPG took over
Since TPG took over iiNet, they've slowly been whittling away iiNet's operations around the country. The Sydney office recently closed and one of the people let go as part of that closure has spoken to Gizmodo about the gradual shifting of customer support to overseas call centres and the gradual drop in customer satisfaction with iiNet services. To be honest, I don't know why TPG has all these brands like iiNet, Internode and Westnet - just shut them all down, merge em into TPG and enjoy the economies of scale?

A mouse pad that is also a fancy paper note pad
My friend Lauren showed me this cool mouse pad that is also a paper notepad from Rhodia and I think it's cool. I got one for HKD$62 delivered (about AU$10), even though I have a drawer full of notepads already. Might make a nice Christmas present for someone you know too, if it ships in time. I also think the paper would get filthy because my mouse gets filthy, but maybe that's just me, because I'm filthy. Let's see how it goes.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

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!