The Sizzle

Issue 376 - Thursday, 20th April 2017


Google might implement an ad blocking feature into Chrome
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is gonna chuck an ad blocker into Chrome. Yes, the company that makes 96% of its profit from online advertising, wants to put an ad-blocker in its web browser that half of the internet uses. Why would Google do this? Apparently Google is being defensive - they know people are using ad blockers, so why not use a Google ad blocker so Google can set the boundaries, rather than someone else that doesn't have Google's interests in mind? Maybe bump up ad rates for advertisers that want their "Google Good Ad Certified" ads to be visible to those even with the new version of Chrome with the ad blocker built in?

Facebook wants to read your brain and turn your skin into ears
Day 2 of Facebook's developer love-in has revealed some wild shit going on in the labs at Menlo Park. They've got 60 engineers working in a lab called Building 8, which is in the "Area 404" wing of Facebook's HQ. Inside, they're working on a brain-computer interface that's designed to help people type at 100wpm without an implant and a way for humans to hear through their skin. Less foreboding is some cool millimeter wave wireless tech (so Facebook can roll out internet infrastructure on the cheap and suck in all the as yet uncorrupted internetless souls) and new 360-degree camera designs.

Bose getting sued for doing naughty stuff with the data it collects via headphones
Kyle Zak reckons Bose is spying on you via its fancy headphones. So much so, he's suing Bose saying that they are violating the US's WireTap act and a bunch of privacy laws because the headphone's smartphone app collects way more info about what you're listening to than it says it does. Kyle alleges that it collects detailed profiles of what a person listens to and sells that off to marketing companies - which in turn could reveal more info about you than you'd like (i.e: you listen to pro-Trump podcasts and you're embarrassed about it). Will be interesting to see what happens here and if it forces companies to be much more transparent about what data they collect and what they do with it.

Nintendo cans the NES Classic, but might be selling a Mini SNES instead
Nintendo decided to stop making the NES Classic - a $99 emulator that was so damn popular it was hardly on the shelves and scalped out by scumbags on Gumtree and eBay for more than triple the RRP. Why you'd do this, I dunno (rumour is Nintendo got a cheap deal on some old out of production hardware), but there are rumblings of a Mini SNES coming soon! Yeah yeah, I know you can get a Raspberry Pi and load it up with ROMs, but these things are cool as you just plug it in and everything works.

100% most certainly, absolutely, Amazon is setting up an AU store
It was known for a while, and official a few weeks ago, but now it's double official, with Amazon reps giving a heads up to Business Insider Australia that yep, they're gonna swing their big brass balls around the Australian retail scene. They're unsure where to build their 93,000sqm warehouse, but want to make sure we know that wherever it is built, there will be loads of jobs, so get the handouts ready state governments, Jobson Growth is coming!


Mastercard puts a fingerprint reader on a credit card
Mastercard has released fingerprint readers embedded in credit cards. It's Touch ID, but for ya card. It's Apple Pay, but without the iPhone. Slip the card into the chip reader and the bit sticking out has a square for your finger to rest on that verifies your identity instead of a PIN. Pretty cool I reckon. It's only in use with a single South African bank right now, but Mastercard wants them in use all around the world by the end of the year.

Finally, a way to buy domain names without handing over any personal info
Old mate Peter Sunde (one of the OG Pirate Bay members) has a new venture - anonymous domain names. As it stands now, you gotta use someone's details to buy a domain name and that leads to someone's identity getting revealed in the scenario of a government raid, something Mr. Sunde has vast experience in. Njalla will let you pay for a domain name with Bitcoin and gives permission for Njalla to buy the domain on their behalf. So for all legal purposes, Njalla owns the domain, not the person paying. But Njalla promises that whoever pays can do whatever they want with the domain, even move it elsewhere. I like it.

Juicero, the epitome of Valley wank
The internet is full of hot takes about this Juicero thing - a US$400 juicer that squeezes juice out of a bag (which of course, are delivered to your home via a subscription service) into a glass for you. Which is, bad, yeah, but get this, it managed to get US$120m of funding to build and sell them. US$120m of cash! For a juice machine company! When the Juicero came out, people were just squeezing the juice out of a bag into a glass, negating the need for the $400 machine. Investors are bit pissed that the machine itself is way bigger than the pitchman, Doug Evans, said it would be. A classic story of why everyone loathes the Valley.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.