The Sizzle

Issue 452 - Tuesday, 8th August 2017


Google sacked that anti-diversity guy
James Damore is the name of that guy at Google who wrote that "political correctness gone mad" manifesto that went nuts over the weekend. James Damore is also the name of someone who no longer works at Google, because they sacked him. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai said that the rant "crossed the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace" and that "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK". But now that James has been given the boot, he's become somewhat of a martyr around other similarly cooked in the head individuals who hang out on 4chan and Reddit and even within Google itself. Motherboard got its hands on the full document. It is worth a read I reckon, just to see how people like that think and to view their (in my strong opinion, extremely flawed) logic.

Foxtel has a big list of sites it wants ISPs to block
Foxtel wants ISPs to block over 120 websites blocked under Section 115a of the Copyright Act. These awful, filthy, job destroying websites, are a list of the best places to watch content Foxtel owns without paying to pay them. The court-ordered block is simply your ISPs shitcanning the DNS request for the site's URL. So if you use a different DNS server ( - Google or - OpenDNS), the websites full of free TV shows Foxtel would normally make you pay to see, will work fine. I'm not saying you should do that, but the list of websites Foxtel wants blocked would make an excellent starting point for someone who wants to watch Foxtel's content but can't afford to pay for Foxtel.

Podcast patent troll shut down hard
You may remember a nasty patent troll going around suing podcasts, claiming that innocent podcasters like Marc Maron and Adam Carolla are using its patent ("system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence") without its permission. Podcasters need worry no more as the EFF has successfully challenged the patent's validity and it is now, officially invalid. Everyone knew it was a bullshit patent and after 4 years, a judge agreed. Thank you EFF for fighting this one to the end.

Nothing left to know about the Nissan LEAF except AU pricing & dates
More LEAF leaks! Nissan are set to reveal the LEAF on September 6th, but two new leaks have practically spoiled any surprises Nissan might have in store. Nissan Japan released an ad spot to tease the LEAF, a Japanese Twitter account posted some more blurry pics and a US website released a handful of specs and pricing. US$29,990 for the base model. Not that cheap compared to the Model 3's $35,000 to be honest, particularly if the base model LEAF doesn't include the ProPilot AI stuff. Just about the only thing left for Nissan to announce, really, is the date they'll go on sale in Australia and how much it'll cost here.

Buzzed finds out that there's heaps of planes circling US cities & spying on citizens
Ever had the sneaking suspicion that there's someone watching you at all times? No, not Google. Nah, not even Facebook or the NSA - we know about their activities. Buzzfeed dug into all that juicy ADS-B data published online and applied some fancy machine learning to determine which flights, out of thousands a day taking place across the USA, are surveillance flights. The military and loads of random law enforcement agencies like the DEA, FBI and even local police are using planes to track, intercept or jam cell and wi-fi signals above most major US cities. Buzzfeed's machine learning algorithm did a pretty good job of filtering out the known commercial flights and by analysing the route and flying patterns, was able to come up with a list of flights likely to be constantly spying on Americans.


Cheap Macs, Mac accessories, smart watches and HomeKit camera
Some bargains for ya: Macfixit changed their name to Clickspot (ugh), but to apologise/celebrate, they've got 15% off their entire* online store. Good for picking up that obscure Apple accessory you've been after that never goes on sale. For the exercise junkies, Harvey Norman has a solid discount on the Garmin Forerunner 235 ($299) fitness smartwatch thing healthy nerds seem to like. Good Guys has 10% of Macs right now and if you go to Officeworks, they'll beat it by a further 5% - or, until tomorrow, on some laptops, you'll get a $100 EFTPOS card. The 13" MacBook Pro for $1609 is a great price. If you've been sucked into home automation gear with Apple's HomeKit platform, the D-Link Omna camera has dropped in price and is now $265 at D-Link's online store.

KLM pilots demonstrating how autopilot works
I found myself in a YouTube hole this morning and whilst stuck in that hole, I found this video of a KLM pilot demonstrating how a Boeing 737's autopilot works. If you liked that video, KLM has a bunch more going into a nice level of detail on all the stages of a flight between Schiphol and Heathrow, a 777-200 AMS to JFK flight and the infamous SXM beach approach in a 747. Thanks KLM for indulging the plane nerds, if you were a OneWorld airline, I would fly ya.

The Microsoft Office world championships are a thing
A world championships in Microsoft Office exists. I did not know this. At Disneyland, 150 kids from 50 countries competed in it a few days ago. It's like e-sports, but, Office. Microsoft pitches it as a way "to become more employable to companies that build their businesses around the Microsoft suite". Chinese students that do well get a chance to study at the country's best universities and a lot of press recognition, boosting their employability. Of course, to enter, you need to have a Microsoft Office certification. Here's a horrible promo vid for the 2017 comp that shouldn't appeal to a single teen. All that's missing is, "while you were out partying, I was at home studying the pivot table". That said, a solid knowledge of Excel is pretty damn important for a lot of jobs, so, maybe this isn't as stupid as it sounds.

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!