The Sizzle

Issue 330 - Monday, 13th February 2017


Ford throws US$1b into an AI company called Argo
Ford has invested US$1b in a "stealth" AI company called Argo, made up of ex-Google and Carnegie Mellon (aka Uber) engineers. Ford will base this new team in Pittsburgh, which is becoming a hotbed of self-driving car testing thanks to its lack of regulations and proximity to Carnegie Mellon University, one of the early pioneers in self-driving cars. Makes a lot of sense - the techies have failed horribly at making cars (Apple, Google), yet the car companies kinda suck at software (look inside every car you've driven). They seem way more keen on this sort of stuff (GM threw in a $1b into Cruise lately) than on electric drive-trains though. I wonder why?

8th gen Intel CPUs to remain on a 14nm fab node
Intel has confirmed that the next generation (the 8th) of its Core CPUs will remain on a 14nm node size. This means the 6th generation, 7th generation and now the 8th generation will not have had a die shrink. That said, it still intends to move the more enterprise/data centre CPUs branded Xeon, to 10nm sooner rather than later - so the Core CPUs will probably remain at 14nm but the more expensive and lower yield CPUs will go to 10nm. Looks like that trusty old i5-2400 CPU will be more than adequate for a few more years. I dare say you'd be able to get 10 years out of that CPU (it came out in mid-2011) with no real discernible improvement by upgrading.

Magic Leap not so magic yet, as pics of prototype device leak
The much hyped augmented reality startup, Magic Leap, has had a bit of an "emperor's new clothes" moment, as images of a prototype device has leaked online. For those not au fait with Magic Leap, they've managed to reap close to US$1.4b in funding to make a pair of glasses to overlay high quality 3D objects in the real world. But the best they have right now is a backpack with a motherboard glued on and a separate, large battery pack and bulky headset. It seems like Magic Leap is way further behind in their product development than they said they are and the product itself might not ever live up to the lofty claims they're making.

Oracle's battle with Google over Android Java APIs set to continue with a fresh appeal
The sad and sorry saga of Oracle and Google's battle of the use of Java APIs in Android continues, despite a federal court jury deciding last year that Google's use of Oracle's APIs are fair use. Last week Oracle has appealed that decision, so the case will continue to wage on, as it has, since 2010. Oracle still insists that Google plagiarised their work in order to build their Android empire and that fair use shouldn't apply to commercial purposes - which is what Google uses Android for, commercial purposes. Lawyers gonna lawyer, aye.

The Australian Retailers Association agrees with the banks over opening up Apple Pay
Australian retailers have joined in the revolt against Apple Pay by the Australian banks, saying they too would love access to an Apple Pay API so they can use the NFC portion of an iPhone for loyalty cards. Makes sense, as iPhone owners are generally known to be looser with money, unlike Android users. The banks themselves have also changed tact in their latest filing with the ACCC, giving up on the whole fees thing, but arguing their case on the fact it's not fair Apple won't let them use the NFC hardware directly and the public will benefit if Apple were to open up the NFC hardware on the iPhone.


Adelaide company developing molten silicon electricity storage
Imagine being able to store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimeter cube of molten silicon. That's enough energy in a box the size of an old school CRT TV to power your home for over a month. This magic box of electrons is the dream of an Adelaide company called 1414 Degrees, who have a prototype molten silicon storage device, constructed out of research and patents done by the CSIRO. It's still early days, but the tech looks really promising.

MyRepublic wants to launch an Australian Gigatown
ISP MyRepublic wants to put the NBN CEO's bullshit claims that even if gigabit internet was free, nobody would use it, to the test. They want to create Australia's first Gigatown (something NZ has had for a while now - we're slow) by seeing which area of Australia lucky enough to have NBN fibre wants gigabit speeds. Also a bit of opportunistic self-promotion, but that's ok. I have a bit of self interest in this too, as Bacchus Marsh (the town just outside Melbourne where I live) is perfect for gigabit speeds, so I want MyRepublic to use my place as the guinea pig for gigabit NBN. That would be very cool.

Desperate pirates using video embeds to share movies
When making a petition on, you can upload a video to aid in furthering your cause. Desperate movie aficionados have noticed you can upload videos of any length and instead of uploading a video pleading for their petition to be signed, just chuck up DVD rips of movies like Straight Outta Compton or the latest Bollywood blockbuster. You can search for the term "dvdrip" and see petitions with embedded videos that are entire movies. This is so stupid it's great.

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!