The Sizzle

Issue 316 - Monday, 23rd January 2017


Samsung reveals why the Note 7 had a dud battery that exploded
Samsung has released its report into why all those Galaxy Note 7s were exploding. UL, Exponent and TUV, some of the best testing labs in the world, were involved in the months long process of finding out what went wrong. The answer: the battery was made with improper tolerances that allowed the cells in the battery to touch and go kaboom. This was apparently by design, to squeeze more battery life into a slim package. Samsung pushed the envelope too far, disregarding the safety of its users in an attempt to lead the market for battery life. To avoid this happening again, Samsung will throughly test the batteries it receives from suppliers - as outlined in this "8 point battery safety check" diagram. Samsung has a video explaining the mess.

Apple sue Qualcomm for one, billion, dollars.
Apple has hit out at Qualcomm with a $1b lawsuit in the wake of the FTC's claim Qualcomm was unfairly licencing patents to Apple. Apple claim Qualcomm owes them $1b in payments since it found out Apple was using Intel baseband chips in the iPhone. Apple also said it's been singled out by Qualcomm as a result, as its competitors pay nowhere near as much for its royalties as Apple has. Qualcomm reckon Apple's claims are baseless, haha - of course they'd say that, as if they're going to admit to it.

ASUS made a Raspberry Pi clone that's faster
ASUS have made their own Raspberry Pi knockoff. The "Tinker" is a little board without a case, that looks much like a Raspberry Pi. Has GPIO pins and all. The main difference is it's faster CPU (a quad core 1.8Ghz Rockchip ARM based SoC), 4K HDMI output, 2GB of RAM and gigabit ethernet. It costs £45.83 from Farnell in the UK (around AU$75 ex GST), so a bit more than a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, but it's much faster too. The main downside of this over a Pi - software support. Most Linux distros won't have drivers for it, so unless a community builds around it to get stuff supported with regular updates, the Raspberry Pi will still be the king of single board computers. If ASUS bother to maintain support however, this could be really cool.

Meitu looks innocent but is a trojan metadata miner
Meitu the thing making all those weird looking Japanese style photos of normal looking people. It's an app for your phone that costs nothing and is a bit of fun - nothing wrong with that and no harm done. Right? Well, it loves to hoover up information about you. It tracks absolutely everything it can and sends it to Meitu's servers, for resale to ad networks that can then use that info to track you around further. It's particularly bad on Android, which allows apps to take much more unique info about your phone than on iOS. Meitu is an excellent trojan horse for pilfering info from unsuspecting people.

Android 7.1.1 gets instant tethering
On the topic of Android - Google has added a feature to Android 7.1.1 that allows "instant tethering". If you've got a Nexus or a Pixel phone and a Pixel tablet, it'll automatically prompt you on the tablet if you'd like to tether to it for internet access if you aren't already connected to a wi-fi network. Looks pretty seamless.


Are old CPUs any good for gaming with a new GPU?
A few mates and I were debating if a CPU matters much for a gaming rig these days (yeah we're fun loving guys). It so happens that someone took it a bit more seriously than us and decided to grab a bunch of old CPUs and compare how they go against new CPUs in games, with the same GPU installed. The Q6600 kinda sucks now (the fucking thing is 10 years old), but the i5-2400 still kicks arse.

ESPN neatly explains how Valve is tangled up in underage gambling with CS:GO
Remember all that shit with CS:GO and Valve and illegal underage gambling a few months ago? ESPN has a great story outlining how the scam all works and how complicit Valve is in this. Why Valve hasn't been hauled into some government tribunal cage match with senators yelling at them for LETTING KIDS GAMBLE AND MAKING FIVE BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE OFF THE BACK OF IT, is beyond me. Fuck you Valve, grow a spine and turn this "feature" off.

Anandtech gives the Microsoft Surface Studio a detailed going over
Anandtech have their typical in depth review of the Microsoft Surface Studio. They like the hinge mechanism and think the Surface Pen and Dial are cool. The display quality is phenomenal and probably one of the best displays on any computer around. However, they did not like the slow HDD and weak GPU, which really let the whole package down. Oh, and its expensive. But cool. Anandtech reckons this is Microsoft once again showing the lazy unimaginative OEMs what it wants them to make, to best showcase Windows 10 - much like the Surface Pro and how there's now dozens of clones of it.

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!