The Sizzle

Issue 354 - Friday, 17th March 2017

The Sizzle crossed 300 paid subscribers last night. 302 of you fools beautiful people pay me $5/m to read this thing every day! I'm still a long way from taking The Sizzle full-time (i.e: deleting my Uber driver account and saying no to crappy on-site IT support jobs), I need 700 paid subscribers to do that - but The Sizzle is getting to that point faster than I had hoped.

Please keep telling your friends and spreading the word about The Sizzle - seriously, every Facebook post, tweet, LinkedIn thing or email forward helps. The Sizzle could be way better if I had more time to spend on it, so if you like it now, imagine how awesome it'd be if I could do it full-time!


Google's voice assistant yells ads at you now
Watch this 41 second video of a man asking his Google Home assistant thing what's up for his day. After rattling off the time, weather and commute time it then just throws an ad out there about a new Disney movie and plays its theme song. For some reason, the revelation that the world's largest ad company is throwing ads out to its customers is a shock. Those people are dribbling morons. Some people are excited Google has found a new source of revenue. Those people are correct. Google reckons it isn't even an ad! They're calling it "timely content". Anyone who believes that is also a dribbling moron.

Uber's stats on robocar performance leaked and they suck
Details leaked to Recode show that Uber sucks at robocars. The term "disengagement" is used to describe the moments a meatbag in the drivers seat has to take over from the car's computer when in self-driving mode. Uber's cars "disengaged" once every ~1.3km. Only in Feb 2017 did they get the disengagement level down to once every ~1.6km. I'd love to know what the competition is like. Also relevant is how few miles they've actually driven. 20,000 miles vs. Tesla's more than 1.3 billion miles. Meanwhile, BMW said today that they'll hit level 5 autonomy by 2021, haha, good luck.

Expect to see more stuff live-streaming on Twitter soon
Twitter is opening up its video APIs so that people can stream video to Twitter without having to use Periscope. Don't get too excited though, plebs like you or me can't do it - it'll work like the NFL or eSports streams Twitter has now. So it'll still be locked down a bit, but will allow any old media company that can be bothered to play Twitter's game to broadcast to the filthy blue bird. I actually kinda enjoy watching the NFL on Twitter whenever it popped up. The AFL (the best football) should get in on this action.

SwatchOS coming in late 2018
Swatch is making its own smartwatch OS and hopes to get the first watch using it onto people's wrists by the end of 2018. Swatch is actually quite a large company (~AU$11b in revenue!) and has 19 brands under it, including Omega and Tissot, so it's not really a surprise they want to get in on the smartwatch fun, but making your own OS, hmm. I guess it can't get any worse than what's already out there? No other details on the watch OS, just that Swatch will do it. I hope they call it SwatchOS.

$4m for STEM engagement activities in Australian schools
The federal government is dropping $4m via a series of grants available to schools and community organisations, to support maker space for kiddies to get some "STEM engagement activities". Groups can apply for a grant that'll cover the costs of buying gear for the kids to use. Sales of 3D printers, Raspberry Pis and Audrinos are gonna go bananas. There's also grants to pay for experts to come in and teach kids some STEM stuff too. It's all part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda - if you're interested in getting some help running STEM engagement activities, check the website out. Government press release is here.


Aus Post wanted to scare users with fake cryptolockers but it was too scary for them
Australia Post's IT team is sick of users basically ignoring their warnings not to click on random shit on the internet or in emails. To give their users a kick up the arse, they made their own fake cryptolocker! It was nice and scary, with a skull and some Russian text - the international signs for l33t hax0rz, and after 18 seconds of terror, directed users to the training materials. But they didn't actually use it. After some tests with non-tech users, despite an IT person directing them, users still freaked the fuck out so hard, they were visibly disturbed. Fucken babies.

The iTunes EULA in comic form
Remember that guy (Robert Sikoryak) who made a comic based off the iTunes terms and conditions? The entire thing is available as a paperback now. $16 from Book Depository. It took Rob two years, but he's finally done it. No eBook/PDF versions around, but if you're keen to actually read the damn EULA of iTunes, I can't think of a better way than alongside some colourful drawings. The New York Times has a review, with some nice sample images.

Find somewhere to live with NBN is, as the URL describes, a place where you can look for joints to live in and pay off someone else's mortgage at the same time. They've added a feature where you can see before you put in your fruitless application, if the place you may or may not end up living in, has NBN access. Unlike the cool nbnm8 Chrome plugin, you can actually filter out properties that don't have the NBN. Unfortunately it doesn't detail the technology type, but neither does the NBN website (it'll tell you what's coming, but if the NBN is already there, it just says "fixed" or "wireless", stupid fucking thing.).

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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