The Sizzle

Issue 404 - Wednesday, 31st May 2017

Early Sizzle today because I have to go to the dentist later to get two fillings replaced, one of them I think is gonna end up in a (4th!) root canal. Ugh.


Take a look at Andy Rubin's Essential smartphone
At long last, the much hyped smartphone from the father of Android, Andy Rubin, has revealed itself. The Essential PH-1 is a 5.71" smartphone with a microscopic bezel. If you thought the Mi Mix has thin bezels, the Essential is next level. The front of the phone is nothing but screen and a little dot for a front facing camera that the screen curves around to maximise the screen's real-estate. Specs wise, it's a typical flagship smartphone with dual rear cameras in a very minimalistic rectangle case. Rubin, being Android's daddy, should mean the OS isn't full of useless shit like most OEMs *glares at Samsung, LG and HTC*. Unfortunately it is only available in the USA, for US$699. We will know more about it later this week. Essential also announced a home assistant contraption in the vein of an Amazon Echo, running "Ambient OS". I also don't know how much it'll cost, what it actually does, or when it will be out.

SA gets in on the digital licence action
South Australia is doing a New South Wales and throwing all the various licences it hands out into an app. The mySA GOV app is able to store proof of age cards, boat licences and land agent credentials, as well as inform you when your car rego is due. As a neat security feature, the licences inside the app have a "a single-use barcode which refreshes every 30 seconds to prevent use of fake licences". Drivers licences are not able to be added yet, but is coming soon. What concerns me about these digital licences is having to hand my phone over to the police, them walking away with it and having it out my sight for a period of time. Who knows what they're doing with the device behind closed doors or in their patrol car?

US Supreme Court slaps Lexmark for trying to stop ink cart refills
The US Supreme Court has decided on the matter of Lexmark vs. a small cartridge refilling company over if it's legal to tell customers what they can't do with a product after they've paid for it. The Supreme Court said that when a patent holder "chooses to sell an item, that product is no longer within the limits of the monopoly and instead becomes the private individual property of the purchaser, with the rights and benefits that come along with ownership." Basically, STFU Lexmark, people can refill their own carts ok, stop pulling this shit on us.

Uber sacked Anthony Levandowski for not co-operating with the court
Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski. If you don't already know, Levandowski used to work for Google making self-driving cars, quit Google to create Otto, a self-driving car startup that Uber purchased. Levandowski allegedly took with him data from Google that he used in Otto, whcih now belongs to Uber and Google is pissed off that Uber has info on their self-driving car program, so sued em. Levandowski is refusing to testify in court under what his lawyers argue are his 5th amendment rights, so the court has told Uber to make Levandowski testify to the most of their abilities - so they fired him for not co-operating.

5m premises can get NBN, 30 of them paid for a fibre upgrade, ACCC tenders out speedtests
Some NBN news. 5 million premises can now connect to an NBN service - marking the halfway point for Australia's most expensive infrastructure project. As of March 23rd, 221 people have applied with the NBN to upgrade their existing service to something better via the technology choice program. 113 of those 221 asked NBN for a quote after paying ~$1000 to apply and only 30 actually paid NBN to do the upgrade. The average price of an upgrade (based on those who have actually done it, not from those who got a quote, laughed, cried then didn't proceed) from FTTN to FTTP is around $7395. The ACCC has released a tender asking for someone to operate its Broadband Performance Monitoring and Reporting program. If you're interested, here's the tender document. I hope someone competent takes it up. Just do what TrueNet do in NZ and you'll be sweet.


What's the CE logo on the back of all my electronics mean?
The latest episode of EEVblog covers what the hell that CE logo on the back of electronics means. CE stands for Conformité Européenne and means the product meets certain EU legislation about that product. Most electronics for example need to meet the Low Voltage Directive, the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive and the General Product Safety Directive. The CE mark itself is self-regulating. The manufacturer of the product slaps the CE logo on it if they think their product meets the requirements. So there ya go, you've learned something today! Thanks EEVblog.

Emily Temple-Wood showed the cretins on Wikipedia what a pissed off woman can do
Emily Temple-Wood has enough of fuckstick men on Wikipedia sending her vile emails and messages for seemingly no other reason than she's good at editing Wikipedia articles and is a woman. To exact her revenge on these pathetic individuals, every time she received a hateful message, she'd post an article on Wikipedia related to a successful woman scientist - the exact thing men who send that shit to a woman, hate. 57,600 edits later and receiving the Wikipedian of the Year award, she's filled Wikipedia with the stories of awesome women who hopefully, will inspire other women to do the same and stick it right up the arses of misogynistic small minded men simultaneously.

Facebook is ripping everything we take for granted apart, and not in a good way
Facebook, the social network innocently connecting people around the world and allowing people to communicate with such never imagined ease, is actually going to tear apart the social fabric western democracies have enjoyed post-WW2. Well, that's what this essay reckons. By hoarding so much data about people, Facebook knows individuals better than themselves and as Facebook's monopoly on information concentrates, the manipulation of what we see increases and gets better and better. Having all that info in one spot, controlled ultimately by one person (all hail Zuck), is just crying out to be used against us. Even if Zuck himself is a good guy (debatable), what's to stop another lunatic seizing control of this info honey pot and destroying our social and political systems? Alright, see ya tomorrow everyone. Hope you liked today's issue.

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!