The Sizzle

Issue 449 - Thursday, 3rd August 2017


Amazon confirms Dandenong warehouse
If you had any doubt about Amazon's plans for selling physical goods in Australia, doubt no more. A press release from Amazon has confirmed their Dandenong warehouse in Melbourne and the awesome job opportunities that await. Dunno when the 24,000sqm "fulfilment centre" will open and start shipping out goods, but it can't be too far away now. Next day delivery for everyone in Melbourne! Over in the USA, Amazon's wonderful return policy (basically no questions asked, free return shipping) is being forced upon the smaller wholesalers on Amazon's platform and they are pissed off, as adding that cost to their business won't be cheap. That said, I hope anyone that sells on Amazon AU has the proper return policy, I love being able to buy a bunch of items and return the ones that suck.

The Bitcoin fork is going alright, unless you're a Coinbase customer
In the wake of Bitcoin's controversial fork yesterday, the price of the new, "better", Bitcoin cash is now worth 30% of what Bitcoin is worth - approx US$700 vs US$2700. Surprisingly though, the price of Bitcoin hasnt' tanked as a result either. So.. yeah, nothing really changed except for the fact there's a new cryptocurrency now that's like Bitcoin, but better. Coinbase, the biggest Bitcoin exchange isn't having anything to do with Bitcoin Cash, so according to Forbes, "for practical purposes, this means the millions of people who maintain a wallet on Coinbase did not receive the new "Cash" and, as of now, there is no way for them to do so". As a result, people are now suing Coinbase for not handing over the Bitcoin cash they feel entitled to.

A better look at the Red Hydrogen One smartphone - not vapourware
Old mate Marques Brownlee, fresh off giving the Tesla Model 3 a spin, now has the first goddamned RED Hydrogen One smartphone in his hands. He saw a 3 prototypes. The first was a final fit and finish unit, so you can see what the quality of the build is like. If you're into industrial looking designs, this thing is slick. I like it, but it aint' for everyone. The second prototype has that fancy holographic screen RED were hyping up in the first announcement. Unfortunately that wasn't shown on camera, but Marques fucken loved it. The third unit Marques got his hands on is a high end video camera add-on, which wasn't actually ever turned on, so who knows if it's any good. So yeah, I guess that RED phone is coming sooner rather than later. Hopefully the software doesn't blow and they push out monthly updates for a few years.

Tesla's Q2 financials & other random Tesla tidbits
Tesla announced their Q2 financials overnight - they lost a lot of money. Tesla, for all its hype, still isn't profitable, but did beat revenue expectations. They sold 47,0777 cars in the first half of 2017, 6% off the expected 50,000. At the Model 3 event last week, Elon said they had over 500,000 reservations for the car, but actually, 63,000 cancelled their orders over the past year, so it's more like 455,000 people waiting for a Model 3. Production estimates for the Model 3 are 100 units this month, 1,500 in September, 5,000 per week sometime in December, then by 2018, 10,000 Model 3s per week. Besides the car stuff, they also completed some of the first Solar Roof installs on the homes of Tesla employees. So they do exist, just not in any proper scale yet.

Plex takes DVR stuff out of beta, adds timeshifting and Apple TV & Android support
Plex has taken its DVR feature out of beta and updated the tvOS and Android apps to support it. More importantly, they added full time shifting capability to Plex, so you can pause and rewind live TV from any Plex client. That makes it an awesome fully fledged PVR. I use Plex predominately on the PS4, so I hope they get live TV support on there soon - right now the only Plex clients that support it are iOS, tvOS and Android (dunno if that includes Android TV, aka the Xiaomi Mi Box & Sony Smart TVs - doesn't look like it). I should get a TV tuner for my Plex server now. Here's a list of supported ones. If they ever pop up on sale on eBay, I'll let ya know. There is a cheeky 10% off everything on eBay between 5PM and Midnight, tonight only though. Nice synergy there I reckon.


Aussie robot wins Amazon's robot picking comp
Amazon's fancy new warehouse in Dandenong will no doubt be full of robots. So it's no surprise that Amazon hosts a robot making competition because it wants the best robots it can get its hands on to pick stuff off a shelf and place it in a box for shipping. This year's Amazon Robotics Challenge was held in Japan and wolud you believe it, a bunch of true blue Aussie innovators took the grand prize of US$80,000 home. The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision at Queensland University of Technology's robot was the overall best bot to do Amazon's bidding, even though it had a few early setbacks. Here's a video of Amazon's contest and here's a vid of bit of the Aussie robot doing its thing.

Nice mockups of how the sensor notch on the new iPhone will look integrated with iOS
Those leaked icons and bits of code alluding to a full front iPhone with a non rectangular screen to fit various sensors in, has driven Max Rudberg to do a few mockups of what an iOS UI would look like on such a device. They're good starting points for considering how Apple would handle having a "notch" in the display and building an interface around that. It never occurred to me that the home button could simply be a software only, on screen button. A lot of people in China already do this (because they're afraid the physical home button will wear out, haha), so maybe that idea is not so far fetched.

Sydney's Olympic Park testing a few driverless buses
Sydney's Olmypic Park is starting a trial with some of those driverless buses just like the ones in Perth. Navya has been giving out these little buses that hold about 6 people and can operate on a fixed route, with traffic, all on their own. Here's a great video of one hooning around Perth. I wanted to give the Perth bus a shot when I was there earlier this year, but the bastard was booked out! The Olympic Park bus will shuttle employees around in about a year, after some initial tests at the Newington Armory. Shame they're not for public use, I wanna ride in the car that has no driver.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

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