The Sizzle

Issue 324 - Friday, 3rd February 2017


Snap releases public IPO info, revealing interesting stats
Snapchat has released its public IPO filing, detailing its plans to go public on the NYSE in March. This will value the company at US$25b (farken hell). As a result of the public filing of all its financial info, some interesting stats have been revealed. Snap isn't profitable (and actually says it may never be profitable). 158m people a day use Snapchat. Growth slow significantly when Instagram launched Stories. It signed a deal worth $2b to use Google's Cloud services for the next five years. It gave a disgruntled "co-founder" $157m to go away and shut up. Way more people use Snapchat on iOS than on Android, despite there being loads more Android phones out there. CEO Evan Spiegel spent $890,000 on personal security in 2016.

Uber's CEO leaves Trump's advisory council due to bad optics
Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick, has left Donald Trump's economic advisory council. Why? He was copping too much shit for it, personally and financially. Apparently 200,000 people removed the Uber app from their phones as a protest for what they see as Uber collaborating with an administration they don't agree with. While Kalanick kept on insisting he's better having "seat at the table", Uber employees were uneasy with their company "collaborating" with Trump. Elon Musk has been saying the same thing as Kalanick was, with his latest tweet outlining why his place on one of Trump's advisory councils is good, not bad and that he won't quit.

The Dutch decide to count votes by hand because their computer system is rooted
Fearful of interference from Russia (and god knows who else) and off the back of research by Sijmen Ruwhof that explained a weakness in their vote counting system, the Dutch have decided to count the results of their upcoming elections by hand, just like us Australians. While the Dutch were not casting their ballots into a computer directly, the votes were all counted with a computer and that computer system, is shit and outdated. A tutorial for officials on how to use the Dutch vote counting system is up on YouTube, that gives away loads of security info and is basically a field guide for anyone wanting to hack the system. So yeah, pretty easy decision to go back to counting pencil and paper votes for the Dutch.

Indian politician tweets that Apple will make iPhones in Bengaluru
Apple might be making iPhones in India soon. IT minister of the Indian state of Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, has let loose two tweets saying that Apple will build a factory in Bengaluru. It's no secret that Apple has been trying to tap in to the massive Indian smartphone market without much success - Tim Cook has been over there a few times in 2016, buttering up the local politicians. Smells a lot like what Apple does in Brazil, where they ship in parts from overseas and construct the phones in Brazil, to get around the huge tariffs imposed on imports.

The NSW Smart Sensing Network wants to collect more info about NSW via sensors
The NSW government has given $700,000 in funding to the NSW Smart Sensing Network - a way for experts in fields such as chemistry, physics, nanotechnology and ICT to make sensors that help other more "traditional" industries in the state. One of the first things the NSSN wants to make, are to make better use of ion mobility spectrometers (those explosives detecting machines at airports) for environmental & health use, as well as using sound and image sensors to monitor koalas in sensitive environmental areas. The NSSN website has more info on what they're doing.


Stories from a Bondi smartphone addicts therapy group
Brigid Delaney went to a smartphone addict's therapy group in Bondi. She got to meet some people that felt like their smartphone was ruining their life instead of improving it. Someone decided that taking their phone to the toilet with them was a sign they've gone too far. Someone else is just bored, just randomly swiping and flicking and hoping to find something interesting. Pretty much everyone hated Facebook and the FOMO (fear of missing out) it created. The group recommended using an older smartphone, turning off notifications, turning off wi-fi, check social media apps only once or twice a day. Or even just stop using a smartphone all together - get an old school dumb phone instead.

Retrofit push notifications to your washing machine
To contrast those smartphone addicts, this person used a Raspberry Pi and an 801s vibration sensor to send a push notification to their phone to tell them their laundry is done. The sensor detects vibration and if the vibration stops for a set period of time (say, 5 minutes?) that means the machine is done and a push notification using Pushbullet is sent. It looks really easy to be honest - maybe a bit expensive once you buy a Pi, wi-fi dongle, SD card, PSU and the sensor, but if you're desperate enough for this feature, could be money well spent. Maybe if you chuck Pi-Hole on the same Raspberry Pi, you'll extract a little more value.

Pacemaker data used as proof a bloke burnt his house down
Ross Compton's house burned down in Ohio and an insurance investigation discovered it was deliberately set on fire. The police, suspecting it was Ross who did it, found out he had a pacemaker and an artificial heart, got a search warrant to download information off his medical equipment. A cardiologist interpreted the info and said that Ross's claims of running around in a panic throwing all his stuff out a window to save it from being burnt, is improbable, as the pacemaker would have picked up the increased cardiac function and tried to regulate his heart - but it didn't. Meaning there's a good chance he was somewhere else when the house burned down The police said the pacemaker was an "excellent investigative tool" - great, just another way for technology to rat us out to the law.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

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