The Sizzle

Issue 401 - Friday, 26th May 2017


Random assortment of NBN related news to make you upset
Here's a dump of NBN related news post-Senate Estimates: the amount of premises serviced by NBN will shrink by almost 1 million due to problems with the property database it was using. This is not good because a million less connections has a material impact on NBN's financial estimates. NBN wants to use more FTTC instead of FTTN. That's nice. They could go full fibre for not much more, but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth or whatever that saying is. Sky Muster, NBN's satellites for the remotest Australians, might be getting an upgrade that'll allow the ~400,000 premises using it to download more data, which is currently limited to 30GB per ISP, per day, during peak periods. A whistleblower is accusing the company NBN outsourced Sky Muster home antenna installation to, of cheaping out on safety, saying that it's a matter of when, not if, someone will die on the job. And finally, that ratshit NBN tax has been approved by the ACCC, so the Senate is our only hope for it being pissed off.

Kik makes its own Etherum based cryptocurrency for tweens
Kik, the Canadian messaging app used by 40% of teenagers in the USA and 100% of my 10 year old neighbours (her Dad asked me one day when I was taking the bins out if there's a way to block it - that kid now gives me the greasiest of looks whenever we cross paths), has it's own cryptocurrency called Kin. They describe it as "a decentralized ecosystem of digital services for daily life", which makes no fucking sense. From what I can gather, the in-app currency runs off the back of Ethereum and is used to buy/sell stuff within the "Kin ecosystem" (which doesn't exist right now). Kik users will be given some Kin and then they can use it to buy the usual bullshit like stickers and games and video streams. I'm unsure how this is different to just straight up virtual currencies (why not just make up some Kik points?) - there's a lot about Ethereum I don't understand, actually.

New Zealand launches a rocket into space, Australia looks on jealously
Our friends across the Tasman have launched a rocket, marking a milestone in the development of New Zealand's space industry. Rocket Lab (who are based in both the US and NZ) are like a mini-SpaceX, wanting to reduce the cost of launching satellites so that loads of em can go up and do their magic, orbiting our big blue ball of water. The Electron rocket was launched from the Onenui Station on Māhia Peninsula from the North Island of New Zealand’s eastern coast. It didn't get into orbit as planned, but it did make it into space. Cheap gigabit internet, same sex marriage, electric cars and now rockets - NZ is looking pretty good to me.

Belkin WeMo Bridge brings HomeKit & Siri to the WeMo platform
Those of you invested in the Belkin WeMo ecosystem who are also trapped in the Apple ecosystem will appreciate Belkin's new WeMo Bridge. It's a little box with an ethernet cable that takes HomeKit instructions and makes your WeMo gear do stuff. Belkin where whinging a few years ago that supporting HomeKit was too hard, a HomeKit compatible chip would need to go into every WeMove device and mean old Apple made it too expensive. Well here we are Belkin, here we are. Dunno how much it'll cost, but it'll be out in "fall", which means spring in the our superior hemisphere. Tie that WeMo bridge into IFTTT's new developer platform - where anyone can make their own IFTTT triggers to be used by others in their recipes - you've got a nice stew going.

Zuck gets a Harvard degree and unleashes his manifesto on impressionable graduates
Zuck was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Harvard, the uni he dropped out of to run Facebook. He was also the commencement speaker for the graduating class at Harvard where he outlined his world view, value system and general advice now that he's a billionaire in charge of the world's most influential advertising machine. He talked about how society's biggest challenge will be how we deal with the mass unemployment robots will bring, that we need a new social contract where progress is measured by the amount of people participating in the economy in a meaningful way and that a greater sense of community will be required to do all this. Of course, Facebook is the answer to all those problems. Zuck isn't that bad to be honest - I'd rather have him in charge of the propaganda machine instead of that motherfucker Rupert Murdoch. Zuck's 30 min talk is available to watch if you're interested.


I'm playing sadtrombone.wav for this guy and his lost Bitcoin
The editor (I think he's editor, don't quote me on that) of Gizmodo Australia, Campbell Simpson, has posted a little story about how he lost a small fortune of Bitcoin. Like a lot of us, he snagged a few BTC back in the early days when it was worth sweet fuck all and stashed it in an encrypted wallet on an external HDD. He threw the slightly dodgy HDD in the bin when he was moving out and didn't think of it until this week's news that a single Bitcoin is worth ~AUD$2800. He had 1400 Bitcoin. You do the math. Campbell is Ron Wayne 2.0.

Gatwick Airport installed 2000 beacons to guide your disoriented arse around the joint
Gatwick Airport has slapped 2000 beacons around the place so people can use their phones to get where they want to go. The beacons will work with Gatwick Airport's app, that'll give you a virtual green line to follow to your destination. No more "you are here" terminals with directions you forget soon as you walk away from it. Every single shopping centre should have this, as well as airports and hospitals - the top 3 places wander around lost, like the big fat idiot I am. Unsurprisingly, "retailers and other third parties will also be able to use the system for proximity detection of potential shoppers and push marketing messages and offers" which is at least opt-in. I guess that's how you pay for the beacons and the app to be installed, right?

Cheap STB, podcasting mic, Blackberry Priv, Bose QC35s, DJI Spark drone
Coupleabargainsforya: if you've got weirdo relatives that just won't let go of FTA and physical media, this Strong STB with a 500GB HDD, dual-tuners and built in Blu-Ray/DVD player for $199 might be of interest to them. It also plays back MKVs, so you can slip them a few seasons of your fav TV show on a USB flash drive too. BlackBerry, despite being the butt of many jokes, actually releases monthly security updates to its Android based phones, unlike every other OEM, even Google themselves. So if you want to try out a Priv, with it's silly keyboard, you can get one for about $350 off eBay using the code C5OZ. The Blue Snowball Ice USB mic is $88+post from JB. Good price for a good podcasting mic. Pre-order that sweet DJI Spark drone for $777 from Cameras Direct. Get some Bose QC35 Bluetooth noise cancelling cans - $367.50 (black or silver) - a must have for any frequent flyer.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

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!