The Sizzle

Issue 409 - Wednesday, 7th June 2017


Uber sacks 20 bad apples as part of its sexual harassment investigations
Uber sacked "more than 20 people" as part of one of the investigations (there's actually two going on) into why it's such a ratbag company that treats women like trash. We don't know who these 20+ people are, so they could just be shitkickers used as scapegoats for all we know. Totally unrelated timing, but Apple's Bozoma Saint John (the black woman cited as an example of Apple's diversity) now works for Uber. Dunno what she'll be doing for Uber, hopefully more than just a headline grabbing "hey look at us, we got a black one and it's a woman, please clap".

NSA leaker Reality Winner uncovered via invisible laser printer microdots
The Intercept recently published a story using leaked documents outlining how the NSA thinks Russians tried to hack US voting infrastructure during the presidential election. It's relatively interesting, kinda confirming what we already knew. What's happened since that article however, is just as juicy. A US Air Force veteran called "Reality Leigh Winner" (I am not shitting you) has been outed as the leaker and is currently enjoying the fine hospitality of the US Department of Justice. Now for the spicy bit, how the DoJ found out who leaked: Invisible to the eye microdots most printers attach to everything you print out, that represent when, where and who printed the document.

Tesla's 2017 shareholder meeting reveals a few more bits of company info
Tesla's 2017 Annual Shareholder Meeting had a few interesting tidbits about their future plans. The Model 3 configuration website will go live in late July, but only with basic options like colour and wheel size - the fancier features will come later in 2018. There will probably be 10-20 Tesla gigafactories worldwide in the long term and Tesla is currently confirming the location of 3 additional ones in the short term. We got our first bit of info on the Model Y - a cheaper and smaller version of the Model X SUV. It's basically a silhouette at this point, but Tesla hope to have it on the road in 2019. Elon Musk said they'll need to build a new factory for it as there's no space in its existing Fremont factory for another model car. Here's a transcript of the conference call if you're interested.

Vocus the target of a private equity takeover
A private equity firm is looking to take over Vocus while the share price is low. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co want to buy out Australia's 4th largest telco at $3.50 a share, which was a decent premium over the $2.86 they were trading at yesterday (they've shot up to $3.45 now). The Vocus board have said they're looking into it. A huge number of NBN RSPs are basically Vocus resellers, so it'll have a decent impact on the industry if a private equity firm takes over and makes radical changes. Disclaimer: I own 120 Vocus shares that I purchased for $4.17 each. You do the math.

A couple of WWDC loose ends
32-bit Mac Apps will be phased out of the App Store by June 2018. iOS 11 has a quick and easy way to share the wi-fi password with people near you. Apple will be selling a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU, primarily for VR developers, but also for those wanting to use their Mac as gaming rigs. There's new macOS human interface guidelines - Apple's bible for how to make a UI that doesn't suck. Apple is allowing developers to access to iPhone's NFC hardware to do other stuff besides Apple Pay. FLAC audio files kinda work in iOS 11 with the Files app. Apple's foray into original TV content, Planet of the Apps, launches on Apple Music in a few hours. I can't wait.


ACCC did undercover sting ops in Apple stores to see what's going on with iPhone repairs
The Guardian has seen court documents in an upcoming case between the ACCC and Apple over Apple not providing warranty repairs to people who got their iPhone fixed elsewhere. Despite what the Guardian is saying, this isn't actually about Error 53. That's clean cut - you used dodgy parts and now shit won't work, deal with it. Whilst the ACCC was looking in to people complaining about Error 53, it found many people not experiencing this issue were having warranty repairs knocked back because they used non-Apple parts, even though the problem they're facing is unrelated to the repair they had done. For example, your 6 month old iPhone has a busted speaker, but had its screen replaced at a shopping centre kiosk a few weeks ago - Apple are refusing to fix the speaker for free under warranty, even though the two are unrelated. The ACCC reckons this is against the ACL, Apple thinks it isn't.

Quake soundtrack getting a vinyl re-issue
Trent Reznor's creepy ambient soundtrack for Quake is getting a vinyl re-issue. Dunno when or how much, but the Nine Inch Nails online store has it listed as "coming soon". The game itself was a dual mode CD that worked in a CD player, so you could listen to the game music without a computer. That was pretty cool. The Quake soundtrack is up on YouTube if you don't have a Quake CD (or even a CD-ROM to play the CD in) lying around. Man, I feel like playing Quake now.

Foxtel Now is ready to be laughed at
Foxtel Now, Foxtel's refresh of the shitty IPTV service Foxtel Play, is now a thing - with a new modern, orange-less logo and all. Pricing is derived by which package you get. If you want live sport (imho, the only reason anyone should even contemplate giving money to Foxtel), it's $39/m, is only 720p and doesn't have an Apple TV app. Okay then. Usenet plus a VPN & Watch AFL it is then.

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!