The Sizzle

Issue 362 - Wednesday, 29th March 2017

I had to dig up some stats on how the Sizzle is going last night and I think a few of you might be interested too. Over the past 30 days (26th Feb to 28th March) 209 people have signed up for a free 2 week trial of The Sizzle. Of those 209:

Now on to today's news!


US ISPs can now sell their customer's browsing history off
Big news in the US right now is that their government actually decided to allow ISPs to sell the browsing info of their customers off to anyone who wants them. The repealing of laws introduced last year by the FCC to ensure this can't happen were in the works for a few weeks, but it slid through Congress and the Senate last night and is now in action. The telcos lobbied for it (extra revenue) and the Silicon Valley giants had no reason to care, as any privacy regulation is bad for their business models too. I have no idea if this sort of thing goes on in Australia. I should find out.

Twitch is selling games now
Twitch is opening a game sales marketplace. You can get a range of new games, direct from Twitch's desktop app and streamers that refer you to the game get a 5% cut. Buying via Twitch gets you a few bonus items too, like Twitch exclusive emojis, badges and shit like that, which you won't get anywhere else. There's 50 games at launch, but I reckon this will grow rapidly as game publishers can push a lot of sales via the incentivised streamers - "hey we're gonna play this game instead of that game, because if you buy it, I get 5%". Amazon's purchase of Twitch is looking very savvy.

Amazon confirms AU launch some time in late 2018
Amazon has confirmed it will launch in Australia by the end of 2018! After months, probably years of speculation, an Amazon executive confirmed the launch with Fairfax today. It'll work just like Amazon's US store we know and love, but ship from AU warehouses. They're also going to provide Amazon Prime, a yearly subscription that gets you free shipping on everything you buy and Amazon Fresh, online grocery delivery. Very cool. What does Wesfarmers, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Australian retailer think of Amazon selling here? "We're not worried about Amazon or anyone else". Mmmhmmmm.

NBN told it was wrong to get the AFP to raid Senator's office and staffer homes
Remember when the NBN managed to get the AFP to raid the office of Senator Conroy and then raid his staff's homes to try find out who leaked info about the sorry state of the NBN rollout to Fairfax and the ABC? Then sacked the two staff members involved? Just a few days before the Federal election? Yeah, well the Senate Committee of Privileges released a report into that and said that NBN unfairly targeted those employees. NBN said they have zero tolerance for leaking. Business as usual for NBN then - smear and discredit whoever tries to call out their bullshit.

The ITPA wants to crack some skulls over IT worker 457 visa abuse
The IT Professionals Association (kinda like a union for IT workers) is fighting against the rampant abuse of 457 visas in the IT industry. The ITPA wants the Department of Immigration to publish details on where 457 visa holders work and what they get paid, in the hope this will expose the truth about the intense use of 457 visa holders in the IT industry. They've filed an FOI request for this information from the government. The ITPA also want people to contact them with examples of 457 visa abuse so that they can name and shame companies that are rorting the 457 visa program to hire overseas IT workers and pay them way less than what a local worker would expect. Good on em. The 457 visa system is rorted so hard, why shouldn't IT workers get a bit militant about this?


Visabot - a bot to help get a USA visa
This is a bot to help you get a US visa. The types of visas it can get you are limited (B-2 extensions, DACA and H-1B transfers), but what's fascinating is that it all happens via Facebook Messenger. Instead of seeing an immigration lawyer, you chat to this bot on Facebook and it tells you what documents you need, asks you some questions and compiles everything ready to send off to USCIS. It's free too. These visas are mostly useless for Australians (just maybe the B-2 extension if they wanna stay as a tourist for a while), but still, it's a fascinating concept.

A deeper look into the Spaceship superannuation fund
Heard about that Spaceship superannuation fund? If you're a Facebook user even remotely interested in technology, you probably got bombarded with ads for it. A super fund that's run by a bunch of startup types who want to take your money and make it grow exponentially in cool companies we love like Apple and Tesla and Google and some you've never even heard of! Sharesight has taken a deeper look at Spaceship's plans and explains what they're really doing - not a lot of the money is invested in flashy startups, but "old tech" and stuff like finance and mining. Thanks @hughstephens for point this article out to me.

iOS 10.3 brings native iOS wi-fi calling on Optus
Optus customers can now use Wi-Fi calling on their iPhones as part of iOS 10.3 - only Optus though. The other two networks do not support this feature. Telstra supports it, but only on the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and S6 Edge - I imagine iOS support isn't too far away. Vodafone has nothing. What is Wi-Fi Calling? It lets you make a phone call, even if your reception blows. So if you're at home and your Optus signal is poor, resulting in your phone calls dropping out, Optus's network is smart enough to route that seamlessly over wi-fi so it works perfectly. Pretty cool feature! Optus used to do this via an app, but now it's built in to iOS, so no need for the app.

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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