The Sizzle

Issue 388 - Tuesday, 9th May 2017


Say hello to the $7/m NBN tax
Just when you think the government's approach to the NBN couldn't get any more fucking pathetic, they've decided to tax all NBN fixed line customers. Yep, all the noise around how the internet may be slow, but at least it could be cheap has gone unheard by the government, who will be gouging ISPs a minimum $7.10 per month on each fixed line NBN connection. The justification for the tax is due to the low up-take of NBN services in metro areas, there's not enough cash to subsidise the NBN rural areas, as well as NBN having to lower pricing because of competition from other ISPs like TPG. The legislation will be put to parliament June 22nd - let's see if it manages to get through the senate.

Microsoft joins the home assistant fad
Microsoft has joined Google and Amazon in wanting you to place a permanently on microphone in your home launching the The Invoke Smart Speaker. It uses the same Cortana we know and love from Windows to respond to your incessant first world problems. The device is made by Harman Kardon and is a cylinder style speaker that looks very similar to an Amazon Echo. It'll be out in the US only, but we don't know when or how much it'll cost. It will work with Windows 10, iOS and Android though. So when is Apple gonna make a Siri speaker thing? It's inevitable right?

Family of terror attack victims sue Facebook, Twitter and Google for allowing ISIS to prosper
Some family members of those murdered in the San Bernardino terrorist attack (the one the FBI tried to leverage so they could get a backdoor placed in the iPhone) have decided to sue Twitter, Facebook and Google for allowing ISIS to prosper. The lawsuit alleges that the companies didn't do anywhere near enough to try monitor terrorists using their platforms to raise money, find members and plan their terrorist operations. Twitter for example is highlighted as having a huge amount of blatant ISIS related accounts that Twitter has done nothing about. Google is accused of helping ISIS generate money by allowing them to have ads on their YouTube videos.

Foxtel wants some new illegal streaming media sites blocked
Foxtel has some new sites it wants blocked for being naughty copyright infringers. Yes Movies, Los Movies, Watch Series and Project Free TV are listed as bad hombres in documents Foxtel has submitted to the Federal Court. Based on the other 4 cases it has taken to the court, there's a good chance these sites will be blocked by TPG, Telstra, Optus and Vocus - the largest ISPs in the country. Foxtel is pissing away money, clogging up an already busy court with futile blocking requests that anyone with half a brain can get around. Big clap for everyone involved here, nice work.

Australian EV car manufacturer A2emCo pops up out of nowhere
A2emCo (Australian Autonomous Electric Mobility Company) has come out of nowhere and said they're gonna build electric cars in Australia, designed in Australia and use Australian lithium in them. The first true blue ridgy didge electrocars will be on outback highways in 2020. A2emCo is run by Michael Molitor, a rich bloke with his fingers in many carbon-neutral/green thinktank pies. A2emCo's Australian factory will succeed where Holden/Toyota/Ford didn't as it will be fully automated and shit. Here's the slides from a presentation given last week at some business conference where A2emCo was "launched". It all sounds brilliant, but there's a lot of hot air blowing around. I'll keep a sceptical eye on this.


Cheap Dell XPS, Kindles, Chromecasts and 3TB portable HDDs
There's yet another eBay sale (not as big as the last ones, but still cool) but I haven't had time to go through it all properly, but here's some stuff I found via Ozbargain that looks good. Dell XPS 13 9360 for $1439.20 or an XPS 15 i7-770HQ for $1839.20 (use the code CLICK), Kindle Paperwhite for $160.55, Toshiba 3TB portable HDD for $132.05 (great for Time Machine as it needs no external power) and a Chromecast Ultra for $93.10 - use the code C5OZ on those last 3.

A progress update on Google's new from the ground up Fuchsia OS
Google has been quietly working on an all new operating system called Fuchsia. It describes Fuchsia as an OS for "modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amounts of RAM with arbitrary peripherals doing open-ended computation". What Google plans to use it for exactly, we don't know, but it looks like they're creating an OS to replace Android and ChromeOS. Arstechnica has a decent overview of what's going on with Fuschia so far and even has some pictures of the UI, which is called Armadillo. It's not based on Linux - it's an all new kernel and is based around loads of Google SDKs. Fuschia is ages away from being ready to use commercially, but a new desktop OS to fight between Mac, Windows and Linux is something to look forward to.

Everything you need to know about WeChat, China's favourite app
You've heard of WeChat right? That app every single Chinese person you've seen on the train is engrossed in? Well it's more than just an app to talk shit with ya mates in Mandarin. It's basically a one-stop shop for the socially introverted. If you hate talking on the phone or going outside to book things, WeChat has it all. Book a doctor's appointment, have food sent to you, buy basically anything you want, pay for anything you want - even in meatspace. It's like a mini-internet within this one app and unlike the internet we have in the west, everyone uses it so everything is available on it. If it's not available via WeChat, it basically doesn't exist. WeChat is what Facebook wishes it could be but nothing like this exists in the west, and maybe.. that's a good thing? WeChat sounds excellent but handing all that control to a single company sounds dangerous.

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!