The Sizzle

Issue 417 - Tuesday, 20th June 2017


US Supreme Court declares that your right to use Facebook is protected by the First Amendment
The US Supreme Court decided that using Facebook is your god given right under their glorious constitution's First Amendment. Yes, being able to post on social media is part of having free speech. A bloke in North Carolina (that cradle of freedom and civil liberties) was convicted of some sexual offences and as part of his sentence, was not allowed to use social media. From North Carolina's perspetive, they ban pedos from schools and playground, so why not ban em from the internet, where kids also exist? The Supreme Court disagrees and Lester Packingham Jr. can shitpost until he can't shitpost no more. Does this mean that if Facebook bans a yank from using their service... they're impinging on that American's free speech?

Finally, the day has come where I link to a Breitbart article! I'm so excited. Anyways, it's about a meeting between Trump, Peter Thiel, Jared Kushner, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Satya Nadella and a bunch of other tech CEOs. Trump corralled this motley crew to begin a "sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology" so that the federal government can "dramatically better services to citizens". Not that bad of a thing to want to improve, really. Cook wants coding to be mandatory in schools. Bezos wants the government to use more off the shelf stuff (*cough* AWS *cough*) and the Palantir CEO wants the government to use Big Data to crack down on loose government spending. Cool, let's see what actually happens.

Australia is in the midst of a STEM teacher drought and it isn't improving
Remember how Australia is gonna be knee deep in innovation? Robots and code and satellites and whatever imagery you can think of relating to technology is our future. But wait, we need people to educate kids about this stuff so the kids can go and do it. Unfortunately Australia simply doesn't have enough STEM teachers to go around and the stock of STEM qualified teachers is declining, not improving. The report into this sorry situation we find ourselves in said that there "appeared to be a "disconnect" between the realities of being a teacher and the ability of non-STEM teachers to adequately teach the subjects" - so even if we manage to convince smart nerds to leave their high paying jobs to teach a bunch of brats, they end up sucking at it most of the time. There's 38 recommendations in the report that the government hopefully implements properly.

500 Startups and FinTech hub come to Melbourne
Our arse end part of the world has received some attention from a big San Francisco startup sweatshop! Thanks to LaunchVic's $2m worth of begging to make sure they didn't go to Sydney, 500 Startups launched in Melbourne last night. That's cool, I guess. Here's an interview with the 500 Startups founder where he says that Victorian startups are ripe "thanks to lower valuations for start-ups compared with those in Silicon Valley" - gee, thanks mate. Also in startup land, the Victorian government will be establishing a FinTech hub in the Docklands, that according to Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis, "will strengthen the local FinTech sector by bringing startups together with investors, industry corporates and researchers in one concentrated and collaborative workspace". Whoever gets the nod to run the hub will get a slice of a $200m Future Industries Fund to cover the cost of "design and fit-out, rent and other government support measures for at least three years". So it'll close down in 4 years yeah?

NSW is cashed up and spending billions of IT upgrades
NSW is planning to spend billions dollars on new digital and ICT projects in its latest budget. Half a mil is for upgrading hospital ICT systems - hopefully in a year's time I'm not writing here about how $400m was pissed away by some idiot who hired his brother to build the system and some people died because it didn't work. The rest of the cash bonanza will be spread between upgrading school IT gear ($1b over 4 years), giving Sydney Water an IT upgrade ($156m), improving emergency services communication systems ($178m) and $51m for a "Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund". There's other stuff too but they don't seem very interesting ($3.5m to upgrade parliament's phone system, hah). Looks like it's time for IT systems integrators in NSW buy a few tickets to Liberal party fundraisers and start sucking up to some bureaucrats!


IKEA giving a bit of pre-launch sizzle for its upcoming ARKit app
IKEA is gonna be the flagship user of Apple's cool augmented reality ARKit stuff in iOS 11. 500-600 IKEA items will be available to plonk down on whatever your iPad or iPhone's camera can see, at the correct size and scale. Perfect for deciding what piece of furniture should go in that empty spot in your home. If it works properly, this could be really cool. I look forward to trying it out when it arrives. The Australian boss of IKEA has been talking up the app too, as he reckons it'll give people in regional areas (who don't have an IKEA near by and never will) a way to sample IKEA stuff without having to visit the showroom, then pick the items up from collection points.

Anandtech reviews the new Intel Skylake-X CPUs
Anandtech has reviewed Intel's new flagship consumer CPUs - the Skylake-X, Core i9 7900X, i7 7820X and i7 7800X. They're the fastest CPUs you can chuck in a computer, cost heaps and spit out heaps of heat. But if you need (want) the fastest CPUs possible, get one. Anandtech's summary was unusually clear: To play it safe, invest in the Core i9-7900X today. To play it safe and get a big GPU, save $400 and invest in the Core i7-7820X today. To play it cheaper but competitive, invest in Ryzen 7 today. To invest in PCIe connectivity, wait for ThreadRipper. 60 PCIe lanes are hard to ignore. To invest in AVX512, wait for the next Intel CPUs. I reckon if I was building a gaming rig today, I'd get a Ryzen CPU. How I wish I had the money and spare time to get a computer that would play Civ6 at 4K on max settings. That'd be cool.

Cheap 65" 4K TV, Apple Earpods & IKEA tablet bag
Loads of bargains around as eBay has another 20% off sale! I'll be slapping some stuff together in a standalone email soon (apparently I'm not pissing people off when I send these, that's a relief!), but there's also some bargains not on eBay. Like this 65" Kogan 4K TV for $799. Or $20 off a pair of Apple EarPods from Myer (they're back in stock - ignore the warning on Ozbargain). There's 20% off a lifetime Plex Pass too - $160, normally it's around $200. The little iPad case I carry mine in when I need a computer that's got a bigger screen than my iPhone, but I don't want to bother taking a laptop, is only $8 at IKEA. I can chuck the Apple Pencil in there, a Lightning cable and a spare battery, as well as any other small items I might want to take. I really like it.

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!