The Sizzle

Issue 328 - Thursday, 9th February 2017


Android Wear gets a massive update and two new devices
Android Wear 2.0 is out and about - the first major update to Google's smartwatch OS in a long time. Along with the software update, LG has launched two new watches with the new software, the US$349 LG Watch Sport (which has a built in LTE modem and doesn't require a phone) and US$249 LG Watch Style. The Verge has decent reviews of the two new watches. A big new feature in Wear 2.0 is support for Google Fit. A one stop shop for all your fitness desires. No doubt for Google to share with its advertisers to sell you stuff. It's been around for a little while, but now Android watches can talk to it. A full list of what's new in Wear 2.0 and devices that will receive the update is on Ausdroid.

General Motors upload a new demo of their self driving car
GM have shown off a new video of its self-driving car efforts. Cruise (the skunkworks within GM doing this self driving stuff) has taken its Albatross vehicle (a Chevy Bolt loaded with sensors) on a joyride through dense inner city San Francisco. Apparently no advanced planning was done and the video is a single take. The person in the driver's seat chucked in a random destination and was taken there relatively event free. Impressive stuff from GM. This scenario looks much more tricky than Google's Waymo and Tesla's Autopilot suburban settings. Could GM actually be cool again?

Someone at the NSA has done a Snowden and nicked secret data while he was working as there as contractor. 52-year old Harold Martin has been charged on 20 counts of stealing government data totalling 50TB - the most ever pilfered, beating Snowden's top score. He also took data from the CIA and the US Cyber Command, other places he was stationed as a contractor. The NSA claims 75% of it's highly prized Tailored Access Operations tools (aka the software used for sweet hacks) was taken, but there seems to be no evidence of it getting out in the wild. Harold will go up before a judge next week to start the legal proceedings against him. I sense severe prison time in this poor bloke's future.

NBN insists that nobody wants or needs gigabit internet
NBN's CEO has yet again said that despite 1.5m premises having access to gigabit speeds via NBN and NBN offering it as a product, nobody wants it. According to him, the ISPs that have signed up to the trial just can't find a way to make it appealing to customers and that he's talked to ISPs around the world with gigabit speeds who say nobody really needs it anyways. Of course, old mate forgets to mention that NBN charge an obscene amount of money to the ISPs for a gigabit connection. Maybe if the NBN made it more affordable, more people would take it? Why the fuck are you artificially capping the speeds at 100mbit anyways, if the physical connection can operate at a gigabit? Argh, NBN you piss me off so much.

A Samsung battery factory caught fire
Samsung just can't catch a break lately. The factory responsible for making those bad batteries in the Note 7 debacle has caught fire itself. A bunch of faulty lithium batteries that were not disposed of properly ignited and set fire to the Samsung SDI factory in Tianjin, China. Unfortunate irony. That said, I reckon the upcoming Galaxy S8 will have the safety goddamn battery ever.


Australia doing what we do best - selling lithium to China
Western Australia is experiencing a lithium mining boom. The Chinese demand for lithium to make batteries has lead to $500m worth of investment to operate seven lithium mines by 2018. It's no secret that there's gonnabe a fuckload of batteries made for renewable energy storage and electric cars and Australia, unsurprisingly, is the king of taking shit out of the ground and selling it. Shame we aren't leaders in turning that raw material into batteries ourselves and capturing value at every stage of the lithium's life. Why can't Australia make batteries anyways?

Pics of a submarine cable surveying ship
You know I love some submarine cable porn and this photo gallery from iTNews is exactly what I like to see. The photos show the stuff installed in the ex-US spy boat, Geo Resolution, used to map the sea floor and create a route for Southern Cross's new NEXT cable, linking Sydney and Los Angeles. The Geo Resolution will aim to find the best mix of a safe route and a short route, to reduce latency between our big island and the USA.

Former head of the Digital Transformation Office speaks some truth on his way out
The former head of Turnbull's special project, the Digital Transformation Office, has blasted the government's inability to get anything done relating to IT. Paul Shetler says the public humiliations such as the 2016 Census and the ATO's continuing online service outages are the result of a culture of "fiefdoms, ill-deserved back-slapping and unwillingness to change the way technology is deployed in order to match the modern world". He also says that a lack of talented staff embedded in government leads to experts brought in on immensely expensive contracts when the inexperienced team inevitably fails to implement some middle manager's pathetic thought bubble, massively inflating the costs of projects. We all knew the government are morons when it comes to anything technical, but it never hurts to have someone as prominent as Shetler spell it out for us.

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!