The Sizzle

Issue 367 - Wednesday, 5th April 2017

A few Sizzle subscribers mentioned that I should start a Slack channel. Just somewhere for a bunch of nerds to shoot the shit during the day instead of working. If you're not familiar with Slack, it's pretty much IRC but user friendly. If you'd like to join in, just visit to request an invite.


Apple announces that they're gonna release a new Mac Pro in 2018
Apple, who are notoriously, almost petulantly, secretive about their future product plans, has announced that they will release an all new, re-designed Mac Pro in 2018. Yep, the trash can Mac will end up in the trash soon. Where it belongs. Apple invited Gruber and Panzarino and some other journos to a very informal press conference in Cupertino, where they explained that because they didn't design the chassis to handle higher heat output GPUs, they were unable to upgrade the Mac Pro with anything faster. That doesn't explain why it took them 3 years to realise this and then another year to fix it, but this explanation is better than nothing. Also the current Mac Pro got an extremely mild speed bump, and there will be a more "pro" focussed iMac (whatever that means, Apple didn't explain that any further) later this year.

Californian DMV stats reveal Waymo is kicking everyone's robocar arse
The Guardian has gone over recently released self-driving car trial stats from the Californian DMV. In Cali, if you want to test robocars, you also have to report to the state how many times a human takes over - called "disengagement". California then makes this public, unlike other US states. The stats reveal that Uber's robocars are shithouse. Waymo has a huge lead, with a disengagement rate of one every 5,128 miles. compared to Uber's which require human intervention once every mile! Can't even go down the road without a fuckup. I'm not sure how complicated the miles these cars have been clocking up are though. Maybe Google has driven 100,000 miles on the freeway, hence why so little disengagement occurs, whereas Uber is focussing on dense urban areas?

Tim Berners-Lee wins the prestigious 2017 Turing Award
Tim Berners-Lee won the Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Award this year, for "inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the web to scale." (if like, you had no idea who Timmy is) Congrats to him for that! What a list of people to join - Diffie Hellman, Alan Kay, Vint Cerf, Doug Engelbart and loads more. Tim's interview with The Guardian is a great, but sad, read. Here's the guy who invented the world wide web say that his creation has been corrupted and basically confirming that what the nerds at the time thought the WWW would do for society totally didn't happen.

NBN rolls past 4m homes, but QLD isn't happy with how opaque NBN is
NBN has announced that as of March 30th, 2 million homes are using it and 4.5 million are now ready for service. Is that good? That sounds bad to me - most people who can get NBN now (4.5 million), aren't bothering (only 2 million)? Meanwhile, the QLD state government has joined the NT and ACT in complaining about the NBN rollout. The great state of Queensland reckons it is unacceptable how the NBN's maps are basically ratshit useless for anyone to plan against and is inhibiting private sector investment in the state. Also NBN related - iTwire has a great interview with Mike Quigley, the father of the good NBN, before all this MTM garbage happened.

Vic & SA flooded with responses to their grid connected battery tenders
Companies from around the world are falling over themselves to invest in battery storage systems across Victoria and South Australia. Victoria has received over 100 proposals for its battery storage tender. The Victorian government wants a 20MW/80MWh battery system for western Victoria and will contribute $25m towards it. Companies like Tesla and LG have thrown their hat in the ring. South Australia want a 100MW/100MWh storage system and received over 90 submissions to its tender, which closed last week. I wonder when QLD and NSW will get in on the action?


Cheap Lenovo Thinkpad E470 & refurb MacBook Pros
Everyone over at Ozbargain must still recovering after that amazing eBay sale a few weeks ago, as there's been a very weak flow of tech related bargains lately. The drought seems to have broken though, as old mate Tightarse has been on the phone to Lenovo and wrangled up a ripper bargain on a ThinkPad E470. $898 for an i7-7500U, 14" 1080p screen, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD and 940MX GPU. If Macs are more your style, Apple has thrown a bunch of 13" and 15" refurb MBPs on their store. Not as cheap as the 20% off sale last time, but cheaper than a brand new one during a 10% off JB sale.

Samsung's Tizen OS really, really sucks and is a piece of piss to hack
Israeli researcher Amihai Neiderman has called Samsung's Tizen OS "maybe the worst code I've ever seen". Amihai is set to give a talk on some research he conducted on Tizen and in an interview with Motherboard said, "Everything you can do wrong there, they do it. You can see that nobody with any understanding of security looked at this code or wrote it. It's like taking an undergraduate and letting him program your software." If you don't know, Tizen runs on Samsung's TV, smartwatches, Blu-Ray players, fridges, washing machines, air conditioners and loads of other Samsung product lines. Basically, Tizen is full of holes and even a mildly competent hacker can turn any of your Tizen enabled devices into a remote listening or video device, or even use it as a launching pad for attacks on other parts of your network.

IoT garage door opener remotely disabled because owner left a 1-star Amazon review
Garadget is supposed to be a neat little package to remotely control your garage door. Innocent enough, actually kinda useful I reckon. But one day, R. Martin, left a 1-star review of the Garadget on Amazon, saying it's a piece of shit. Then he left an other 1-star review as he didn't get a response to it. The founder of Garadget noticed eventually, then remotely bricked R. Martin's device, so R. Martin couldn't use this horrible, awful, life ruining device any more. This incident brings up an interesting discussion - what happens if say, the Garadget was say, an August Lock instead and the support team of the August Lock shitcanned your device if you complained, leaving you locked out of your home?

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Refer a friend and get a month of The Sizzle for free!