The Sizzle

Issue 313 - Wednesday, 18th January 2017


Obama pardons Chelsea Manning, will be released from prison in May
On Monday I said it'd be nice if Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning - today, Obama did that. Chelsea Manning will be released from prison in May, having served 7 years of a 35 year sentence for leaking what's now known as the "Iraq War Logs", the "Afghan War Logs" and the "Collateral murder" video, that Wikileaks infamously published. Last week Assange said he'll agree to be extradited to the USA if Chelsea Manning is released from prison. What about Ed "Patriot" Snowden? The White House said he hasn't even applied for a pardon and hasn't stood trial, so there's nothing to officially do about him - which isn't exactly correct, but that's what they're saying.

Qualcomm in hot water with the FTC again
Someone's gone and complained about Qualcomm to the US FTC again. The FTC alleges Qualcomm didn't allow Apple to use baseband processors from anyone but Qualcomm by giving a special deal on cheap patent licensing to Apple, if it didn't go hunting for a new baseband from a competitor. This is a big no no for free trade. South Korea's FTC cracked the shits with Qualcomm late last year too. The official charge from FTC can be read here. The Verge has more info on this probably being the reason why WiMax didn't take off - the agreement wasn't just to make sure Apple used Qualcomm chips, but to not include WiMax in the iPhone. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Arthur Sinodinos is now the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
Say hello to the new Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science - Arthur Sinodinos. Yeah, the dodgy cunt who was investigated by the NSW ICAC for his dealings with Eddie Obeid's Australian Water Holdings and from being the Libs bagman for illegal donations, is now the supposed to make Australian businesses innovative. Doesn't look good for the Australian innovation revolution when a person of Arthur Sinodinos' reputation is in charge. Maybe if a few VC funds and startup types pass the hat around, they can buy any laws they need - seems like an approach that works well in influencing the new minister.

Evernote gets a new iOS app
Evernote has a new iOS app. Redesigned from the ground up, it's focused on "speed and simplicity". It actually looks quite nice. Too bad I won't store my shit in Evernote because it's a VC funded time bomb waiting to explode and take my data with it. Check out Standard Notes. It's not as full featured as Evernote, but it's free, open source and works well just for basic text. I like the fact you can run your own server if you want to, and even sync to Dropbox as well as your server/Standard Notes's server for extra redundancy.

ACMA auctions off more 700MHz spectrum left over from analog TV use
There's gonna be more 700MHz spectrum for us to use on our smartphones soon. ACMA Is auctioning off one lot of 2x 10MHz in the 738-748MHz frequency range paired with 793-803MHz and one lot of 2x 5MHz in the 733-738MHz range paired with 788-793MHz. You want it? The starting price is $571m for the first lot, $285m for the second lot. This piece of radio spectrum is now available thanks to the shutdown of analog TV. The usual suspects will be involved - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, but I wonder how hard TPG will hit this, seeing as they already own a bit of the 2600MHz and 1800Mhz slices of air. 700MHz would be a nice addition to their portfolio if they wanted to move from being an MVNO to full mobile operator.


New Intel NUCs using Baby Canyon platform
Intel's announced new little computers utilising the Baby Canyon platform. The new NUCs feature 7th gen CPUs and on the top end models, Thunderbolt 3 Type-C. These look like awesome computers for pretty much anyone not gaming. The NUCs would make an excellent day to day computer and when VESA mounted to the back of a monitor and paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse, would make a cool all in one PC that doesn't waste a monitor when it's time to upgrade. If you need a HTPC, they have native hardware HEVC support too - so it'll play H.265 videos at 4K without breaking a sweat. They're out "now" but probably won't hit shops here for a few weeks.

Google Maps beta showing how bad parking is at your destination
Google Maps is getting the ability to show you what parking is like at your destination. In the latest beta of Maps, some users are seeing a parking symbol next to their estimated arrival time, along with a description of the parking situation as "easy," "medium," and "limited". I've got no idea where it's pulling this info from. I imagine somewhere like ACT (which has sensors in the road in some parts of Manuka to detect if a car is parked there) might share this with Google, but fucked if I know anywhere else in AU doing this. It'd be glorious if say, an overbearing innovation minister decided it was law to install sensors in every public car parking spot in Australia and the info to be made available via an open API anyone can use. Wouldn't that be innovative.

Using Belkin WeMo Maker to allow you to shout "open sesame!" at your garage door and have it open
Ausdroid has an interesting thing on how one of its authors automated and gave voice command ability to their garage door with a Belkin Wemo Maker. They hooked it up to the motor on the garage door, put a magnetic switch on the door itself to mark if it's open or closed and used WeMo's Google Assistant functionality to be able to shout commands at their Android phone or their Google Home speaker thingo inside the house to open and shut it. Cool. I should do this. I have a bad habit of leaving my garage door open. I'm not paying $150 for the WeMo Maker though. I'll wait for the fucker to go on sale.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!