The Sizzle

Issue 380 - Thursday, 27th April 2017

I will be on holiday in Perth next week, so The Sizzle will be in holiday mode too. Issues between the 2nd and 8th of May will be sent in the morning and will be slimmed down a little so I'm not wasting precious sightseeing time with this tech news garbage. Normal Sizzle will resume on the 9th of May.

While I'm in Perth I'll have time to meet Sizzle readers from the other side of the country! If you're in Perth with nothing better to do around 2PM on the 7th of May, come down to The Queens Tavern for a few Sunday arvo beers with me and a few other Sizzlers. Just look for this fat bastard and say hello.


Amazon's Echo Look brings Alexa to your wardrobe with a camera
Amazon's new Echo Look is designed to be kept in a bedroom/wardrobe and will respond to commands just like a normal Echo, but has a camera and will take pics of you after you've put on your dazzling fashionable outfit. Upload those pics to the cloud and Amazon's "Style Check" service will use the power of machine learning algorithms to tell you what to buy from Amazon next so you don't look like a piece of shit. It costs US$200 and is only available to people hand picked by Amazon, for now. The concept of a camera in my wardrobe that takes photos of me so a machine can analyse how I look and then recommend me clothes to buy sounds reprehensible. I bet it will be insanely popular.

FCC starts to repeal net neutrality laws in the USA
Big news in the USA (but doesn't really impact us much) is the FCC's decision to wind back what were previously quite strongly held rules around net neutrality. This means that ISPs will be able to create preference deals for their own services (i.e: streaming video platform made by Verizon happens to be quota free on Verizon plans), which is seen as a major attack on the ability for smaller internet based companies to fairly compete with larger ones. It's not really a surprise that Trump's administration is keen to appease the interests of big businesses, but it's upset many startups in the USA who are pleading with the FCC not to wind back net neutrality laws.

Instagram growing, but Twitter isn't
Instagram is going gangbusters while Twitter is declining. The FOMO inducing social network has hit 700 million monthly active users, adding by 100 million just in the past 4 months. Twitter however, has its shares at an all time low, revenue is down 8% compared to last year, despite its daily active user base growing by 14%. Twitter just can't work out how to make the big bucks like Facebook. One of the things it wants to try is streaming video 24/7. Literally a Twitter TV channel, inside Twitter, but without a broadcast schedule.

NBN gets 1Gbit speeds in fixed wireless trials
NBN has been playing around with their fixed wireless service and found out that if you throw heaps of spectrum at it, you can achieve 1Gbps+ speeds, just like Telstra. It also achieved 400mbit and 250mbit speeds in trials outside Ballarat. No word on if these speed tiers will actually be used, or if it's practical to do so. NBN just wants to wave its hands around to try convince us that fibre isn't the only way to get 1Gbit speeds and to ignore the practicalities and market realities of rolling it out. Meanwhile the Prime Minister is going around saying that the NBN is "good debt" that will "generate billions in revenue". Not if they keep rolling out shit FTTN and TPG ramp up cheap fixed wireless plans, it won't.

New Call of Duty game coming Nov 3
Call of Duty is getting back to its roots - fucking up Nazi scum with period accurate weapons. November 3rd will see another instalment of one of video games (and entertainment overall) biggest franchises and no doubt, some stupid Mountain Dew and corn chip tie ins. The game starts with a re-enactment of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, which itself is a re-enactment of the Normandy landings during World War 2, where over 20,000 men were slaughtered. There's never been a better time for a video game featuring the gruesome death of Nazis, depicting them as incompetent losers, so I hope it sells hundreds of millions of copies.


The Pope gives a TED talk
The Pope gave a TED talk. Now before you move on to the next news item (Pope?! TED talks?!), you might be surprised to know what the Pope's 17 minute rant to the dorks at TED is actually quite inspiring. He said to the TED audience, "How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion" and that people in power have an even bigger responsibility to get their hands dirty and help those worse off than the rest of us. What is the point of your influence and success if it's not being used to improve the life of those less fortunate? A very timely message for the wankers in Silicon Valley. Shit, it was almost enough to get me going back to Sunday mass. Almost.

20 years of nerding out with Anandtech
I link to Anandtech often here because they're a great website, but they're great because they've been doing this hardware review thing for 20 years as of today! Back in 1997, a 14 year old kid called Anand Shimpi started Anandtech and I started reading it as a 13 year old kid. As Anand learned and wrote about technology, so did I. Even though I studied computer shit at uni, I've always felt that I've learned more from Anand and his mates via his website than I did at school. I would print out his reviews and keep them in a folder because they were such a great source of info about how computers worked (and I am a super nerd). It's a shame Anand is no longer writing (he left to work for Apple a few years ago), but the site is still cool. Thanks Anand! Even though I know you're not reading this...

AFL Evolution coming May 5th
AFL Evolution is coming out 5th of May on PS4 and Xbox One. It's like a crappy version of FIFA, but with proper footy. We got to take a look at some gameplay (finally) thanks to the GWS Giants chucking a vid up on Facebook of their players playing the game as themselves. It looks okay. Maybe it won't suck like all the AFL games that came before it. I dunno if I want to spend new game pricing on this one, but when it inevitably lands in the EB Games pre-owned bargain bin at Woodgrove shopping centre, I will check it out.

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. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!