The Sizzle

Issue 419 - Thursday, 22ndn June 2017


WannaCry infected 55 Victorian speed cameras
The scourge of WannaCry infecting important systems isn't over! Victoria Police have revealed that 55 speed and red light cameras were infected by the malware. "The department of justice said Victoria’s infection was not the result of a targeted attack, but was caused by a contractor mistakenly connecting infected hardware to cameras" - hahahahaha. The police said that the fines issued by the infected cameras are still accurate and legit. Booo. In Japan, one of Honda's manufacturing lines was taken offline for a day as computers running the line were infected by WannaCry too. WannaCry is gonna be like the herpes of the internet, isn't it? Suddenly popping up every now and then on systems you didn't even know would be vulnerable.

The AEC has been told it should upgrade 25yo IT systems or it'll get pwnd
A report into the conduct of the 2016 Australian federal election has recommended that the AEC get its shit together, update its 25 year old IT systems and give electronic counting and scanning of votes a crack. Senate votes are already semi-automated and the counting (actually adding up who gets the vote quotas required for a Senate seat) is already electronic too. Now the AEC has been told it should do the same for the House of Representatives. It's not electronic voting - just scanning the papers and stuff. Apparently Fuji Xerox do the scanning of Senate votes now. I didn't know that. At least the report didn't recommend using the blockchain.

Facebook AMBER alerts to start appearing for lost Aussie kids
Facebook is working with Australian police to launch AMBER locally, joining 12 other countries who have the system in place already. AMBER alerts people on Facebook who are in an area a child was last seen and asks them if they've seen the kid that's gone missing. From the article; "The system is used when police believe there is a risk of serious harm or death and enough information is available to share with the public to potentially locate a missing child". So it won't just be used for sulking teenagers who didn't come home for dinner., it's gotta be a bit more high stakes than that. I also learned from the article that 15 million Australians use Facebook. That's a huge chunk of the population all looking at the same website. No wonder the police are keen to use it to find missing kids.

Sega to release loads of its retro games on mobile for free
Sega is porting its huge catalog of retro games to iOS and Android and is calling it Sega Forever. The games are free (ad-supported) and you can pay US$1.99 via an in-app purchase to piss the ads off. At launch there will be Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, and Phantasy Star II. A new game will be added to the Sega Forever collection every 2 weeks. Mega Drive, Master System, Dreamcast, Saturn - everything from Sega's glory years will be made available over time. As a kid who exclusively owned Sega consoles as a kid (they must have been cheaper than Nintendo's as my parents will always take the cheaper option if presented to them), this is an exciting way for me to easily relive the good parts of my childhood. I just grabbed the Sonic app and it has an Apple TV version you can play!

Queen announces that the UK plans to install EV chargers at every servo
The UK has ramped up its efforts to increase adoption of electric cars. An "Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill" is currently in UK parliament that will make it mandatory for highway servos to have electric car chargers. Public chargers are mostly needed on long range trips, not day to day local use, so making highway servos install them is a brilliant idea. At the same time, the mayor of London has launched a plan to make all transport in the city emissions free by 2050 (taxis and cars by 2033, buses 2027 and everything by 2040). The UK seems so much more keen to get EVs on the road than us, why is that? Related - new spy shots of the 2018 Nissan LEAF. Looks exactly like what I want. Here's hoping for 300km range and a sub-$40k price tag!


I've been toying with the idea of building a PC gaming rig. As much as I feel like I'm wasting my life away when I play video games, I would still enjoy building a gaming rig that can play a bunch of games at 1080p 60fps with high quality settings. Due to the eBay 20% off sale, I spent all morning looking into what parts I'd get, so to make me feel like that huge time sink was worth it, I thought I'd share it with you in today's issue of The Sizzle instead of the usual 3 links of cool stuff I found.

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU. Civ6 seems to work much better on the Ryzen CPUs due to the extra processing threads & CPU cores you get for the money versus Intel CPUs, so an easy decision for me - $299

ASRock AB350M-HDV motherboard. Even the cheapest mobo has all the basics and getting a fancy one won't have much impact on performance. No point spending more unless you need extra PCIe slots, fancy audio or network cards or want to heavily overclock - $100

16GB DDR4 (2x 8GB) 3000Mhz RAM. Anything less than 16GB is stupid in 2017 and I only got the 3000MHz RAM because it's just a few bucks more and might give a little boost in some games - $158.20

Gigabyte GeForce GTX1060 Windforce OC 3GB video card. I'd prefer an 8GB AMD RX580, but good luck getting one thanks to all the Ethereum miners hogging stock and jacking up prices. There's a slightly cheaper and smaller Gigabyte GTX1060, but I'd rather have one with two fans for better cooling & performance - $344.80

Samsung 960 EVO 500GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD. Fast as hell and 500GB is plenty for heaps of games. Could save a bit of money and get a SATA SSD (e.g: 500GB Samsung Evo 950 for $220), but I hate game loading times so much, I'll spend the extra cash - $298.40

Fractal Design MicroATX Core 1000 case. Not too big, not too ugly and not too expensive - $70.20

Corsair CX550M 80 Plus Bronze modular PSU. There's loads of cables on a normal PSU that just aren't used most of the time, so getting a modular PSU means you just don't hook those up and they're out of the way. This is the cheapest 500W+ modular PSU from a decent brand - $95.20

Windows 10 Home OEM. Ya need an operating system. There's dodgier ways to get a key for much less cash, that work fine, but I would never suggest that - $134.20

Now all you need are some speakers or a headset, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. You might already have these or prefer fancier/cheaper ones, but again, here's what I'd get if I was gonna buy em:

Cooler Master Devastator II keyboard & mouse combo - you can spend a fortune on gaming accessories, but I don't need anything fancy. I don't want something crap either (mushy keyboards, ugh) so for the price, this setup looks like it'll get the job done - $48

Kingston HyperX Cloud headset. The Wirecutter likes these. Reckons they're comfy, sound good, the mic is decent and don't cost that much. I'll take their word for it - $62.40

Samsung S24F350FHE 24" monitor. This thing is 24", 1080p, supports a 75Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. The contrast isn't the best compared to a sweet Dell UltraSharp or 5K Retina iMac and the colour reproduction isn't what I'd want to use to edit photos on, but for the price seems like a perfect gaming display - $174.20

That brings the total to $1724.40 (see the screenshot of my eBay cart), for a full gaming rig, with everything you need to whittle your life away in front of a screen, delivered right to your door. You won't be able to source all those parts for the same price. Go on, try it. The cheapest I could do was around $1800 and substituting some parts out for not quite the same/as good gear.

If you want to build a gaming rig differently than what I'd do (faster GPU? Bigger screen? More storage? Maybe something even cheaper?) but not sure what to get, just ask! I'm a weirdo that actually enjoys helping Sizzle subscribers with purchasing decisions.

If you're in Victoria and want someone to build the PC for you, let me know. You can get the parts delivered to my place (or drop em off yourself), I'll assemble them, do a 24-hr burn in test, install Windows 10 and then drive over you and drop it off in return for a donation to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

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!