The Sizzle

Issue 351 - Tuesday, 14th March 2017


South Australia will get its batteries - after a tender process takes place
In the wake of Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brooke's Twitter love-in, the South Australian government has announced plans to actually build 100MW of grid-connected battery storage. The project has been put out to tender, so it's not a lock that Tesla will get the deal, but they probably will. Victoria got in on the hype as well, announcing its plans to put a tender out for up to 100MW of grid connected batteries around the state. Of course, the federal government is looking at ways to see if what South Australia is doing can be stopped. Fucking grubs.

Intel buys self-driving car tech company Mobileye for US$15b
Intel has splashed US$15b to buy Mobileye, and Israeli company that makes a lot of self-driving car stuff and was infamously ditched by Tesla a few months ago. Why did Intel spend all that money to buy a company making bits so cars can drive themselves? It's because cars are turning into giant computers and computers need integrated circuits and Intel are pretty good at making integrated circuits. You could say Intel is even more desperate than they should be, as they missed the boat on mobile SoCs, so betting big on self-driving cars is their way to make sure they don't miss another potentially huge income stream.

Tim Berners-Lee tells us what he thinks is fucked about the WWW in 2017
Around this time 28 years ago, a man called Tim Berners-Lee sent a document out to all his buddies at CERN that CERN should create a global hypertext system, which a few months later, he called the WorldWideWeb. To celebrate the passing of 28 years since that document did the rounds of CERN, Tim has highlighted some of the real world issues his creation has manifested. According to him - "We've lost control of our personal data", "It's too easy for misinformation to spread on the web" and "Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding". Good luck fixing the dumpster fire now, mate.

A study on the usefulness of Apple's HealthKit shows it's alright
Remember the buzz around Apple's HealthKit stuff in iOS 9? Here's the breathless video Apple made to inspire us all. Now that almost 2 years has passed since these apps hit the wild, how have they gone in being something useful to the medical field? Well the Asthma Mobile Health Study has found that yeah, it's kinda useful, but still not that reliable and it's certainly not a silver bullet for medical research. 50,000 people downloaded the app and 7,600 enrolled in the study for 6 months. The data the app collected was reliable, but they had issues making sure people were engaged with the app, as only 30% of those 7600 enrolled did more than one of the surveys asked of them. The full study can be viewed on Nature, if you're into reading these sort of things.

Volvo and Nissan announce new EV models
Some electric car news: Volvo's US CEO has said that they plan to launch its first full EV in 2019, which will have at least 400km of range and sell for under US$40,000. Cool cool, but 2019? That's like 2 years away. Nissan said they'll upgrade the LEAF with a bigger battery (finally) so it'll also get around 400km range, around September 2017 and have it in customer's driveways by the end of 2017. My dream of a $30,000 car that'll do 300km range is getting closer.


Uber is cooked as
Daniel Compton has outlined a very convincing theory about Uber's massive fuckup by hiring Anthony Levandowski and using self-driving car tech stolen from Google. It looks extremely likely that Google will succeed in barring Uber from using the LiDAR tech it stole, which would be a huge setback for Uber. Uber doesn't make any money and its value seems to be hinged on creating a monopoly (or close to it) so that when self-driving cars are good enough to replace people, Uber is first with the tech and a huge install base. But if Uber isn't first (and if you take away their ~2 years of research, they won't be), someone else like GM will and they will be more than happy to sell millions of cars decked out with GM owned self-driving tech - leaving Uber with no competitive advantage and potentially worthless. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Run Pi-Hole in the cloud, on an AU server, for US$2.50/m
Want to run the wonderful Pi-Hole ad-blocking server and have it accessible outside your home? This guy has explained how to set it up on a US$2.50/m Vultr server and how to configure your Android phone to use it over LTE/3G. Very cool. Vultur also have Sydney servers for $2.50/m, making it very fast for Australian users too (important as you don't want your DNS requests going outside AU, too slow). Unfortunately, iOS doesn't let you change DNS servers over LTE/3G, but it's still handy if you're using wi-fi outside ya house too. If you do end up using a Vultr server, use my affiliate link yeah?

Glorious Telecom Australia videos from the 80s and 90s
Here's a video from 1980 about Canberra's Telecom (now Telstra) Tower. Cool info on how it was built and what it is used for (as well as the classy rotating restaurant), accompanied by some excellent synth work. A beautiful look into 1980s Australia. This video from 1996 about broadband use from Telecom is also wonderful. Imagine being able to video chat so smoothly to someone in America! Ya still can't do that very easily 20 years later, haha. I love them so much.

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!

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