The Sizzle

Issue 398 - Tuesday, 23rd May 2017


Apple recently received and apparently complied with a national security letter
Apple disclosed via it's biannual transparency report that it received a national security letter in the past 6 months. These letters are requests for info from federal law enforcement (usually the FBI) on an Apple customer. Apple is not allowed to mention it received such a request and pretty much has to comply or Tim Cook gets thrown in jail. Also as part of its report, Apple said that law enforcement made "4,254 requests for data on 20,013 devices between June and December last year, up almost twofold from 4,822 requests for data on 10,260 devices during the January to June period". As far as I know, Apple complied with every single one.

Joondalup is getting an IoT connected park thanks to Telstra
Telstra is turning an ordinary, dull, boring and lame park in Joondalup into a modern, hip, exciting, connected, digital and smart park thanks to the magic of the Internet of Things. There will be "sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, pollution, light, and noise levels in real time; 32 smart bins fitted with sensors to notify the local council of when they need to be emptied; and a smart car park connected to Telstra's mobile network" The City of Joondalup will use this data to create a "dashboard providing real-time analytics, to improve local governance efficiency, obtain information on which areas of the park are being used the most, and reduce traffic" - yep, the future is here citizens of Joondalup and not even the local park is safe.

ACMA to be overhauled as per report recommendations
Big changes are coming to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) off the back of a "root and branch" review of the government agency. 27 recommendations were handed down and the Communications Minister likes all of them. Some of those recommendations include moving cyber-security related stuff to the Attorney-General and letting the private sector handle the Do Not Call register and Integrated Public Number Database (a big list of who has what phone number, separate to consumer level stuff like the White Pages). The draft report with all the recommendations can be downloaded off the Department of Communications website. There's no ETA on when any of the recommendations will be enacted.

NSW really wants you to think it's got it's digital shit together
The NSW state government is once again banging on about its digital transformation. It wants 70% of all government transactions to happen digitally by 2019. The aim is to have a "data-informed and agile public service" that provides "customer-centric services in the digital economy". One of the examples of this is dMarketplace, which is an "interactive marketplace for data sharing" that will be a "TripAdvisor for data" so people can see all the data NSW has and rate the quality of it. I have never seen so many quotation marks and buzzwords in a single article! You can see the full buzzword loaded strategy here. It's good NSW is doing this, but sweet baby jesus, speak like a normal person you drongos.

Ford sacks CEO, replaces him with nerd
Ford sacked its CEO Mark Fields and put the bloke in charge of its "Smart Mobility" (aka robocar) division, in the top spot. Jim Hackett is now responsible for changing Ford into a company that makes is cash selling SUVs and pickups, into a company that can battle with Tesla and even GM, in selling electric cars that drive themselves. Ford are saying all the right things, but Tesla's share price and market valuation is higher than Ford's and GM (their arch-rival for decades) has more runs on the board with the Chevy Bolt and superior autonomous demonstrations. Let's hope Ford don't fuck this up and manage to be relevant in this new age of self-driving electric cars.


Uber ripped off the city of Pittsburgh and the Mayor is cranky
Keeping on the topic of self-driving cars, Uber's Pittsburgh experiments have not gone according to the city's plans. This fascinating email chain unearthed by Motherboard show that the Mayor of Pittsburgh did a lot of heavy lifting to ensure his city was where Uber would launch their self-driving fleet. Unsurprisingly, Uber fucked em, not delivering any of the jobs they promised, not helping in securing Pittsburgh any Smart City funding from the federal government, started charging for rides in the self-driving cars and refuses to give the city any of its self-driving car data.

This iOS 11 concept video has good ideas I'd like Apple to steal
Federico Viticci (who you might know from MacStories) and Sam Beckett love the iPad so much, they made a concept video of things they'd like to see in the iPad version of iOS 11. WWDC isn't far away (3AM, 6th June AEST), so I doubt anything they thought of would make the first beta of iOS 11, but maybe Apple and Federico had some of the same ideas? I love the idea of the Shelf - just a spot to dump stuff you're working on. Drag and Drop system wide is sweet too. I dunno if Apple would actually implement a Finder app, but I like the concept. Pinning Safari extensions? Yes please. I'm so close to being able to use an iPad Pro as pretty much my only

The story of how Anker make good smartphone accessories at good prices
The Verge has an interesting profile on Anker, who make some very solid smartphone and tablet accessories. An ex-Google employee called Steven Yang quit his job and thought that the world needs cheap, but not shit, accessories for all the precious mobile devices we have. So he started Anker and has made excellent USB chargers using the latest charging standards, portable batteries that won't explode and USB cables that are compatible and robust but not overpriced. I really hope that when Amazon launches in AU, we get direct access to the full range of Anker gear at cheap prices.

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!