The Sizzle

Issue 459 - Thursday, 17th August 2017


More Nazi stuff, sorry about this
Day four of the Nazis getting uppity over in the USA. Here's the latest: Apple is refusing to process payments with Apple Pay for Nazi stores. Tim Cook emailed all his staff to say Nazis are bad and that Apple will donate $2m to anti-Nazi charities. Squarespace told the Nazis to fuck off, as did Wordpress, Spotify, Cloudflare and Digital Ocean. Facebook removed a single Nazi's accounts, but has left thousands of others up even though Zuck calls the Nazis a "disgrace". The Nazis have moved their cesspool off the dark web (where it was getting owned by a DDoS attack) and registered a domain name in Russia instead. Some microscopically thin silver linings: those James Damore idolising fucks decided not to "March on Google" because they're scared what happened to the Nazis will happen to them, Obama's tweets in response to the Nazi rally is now Twitter's most liked Tweet of all time.

Everyone resigns from 2 of Trump's advisory councils
Two of Trump's special advisory councils have fallen apart. Trump announced the closure of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, which included people like Intel's CEO, IBM's CEO and others, on Twitter. He said he wanted to end "pressure" on the CEOs, but really, it was a mutiny - the CEOs were dropping like flies and after this Nazi bullshit, all quit together. However, Trump's American Technology Council, the with Peter Thiel and has Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and about a dozen other CEOs on it, still exists. Considering the statements Satya Nadella and Tim Cook have put out about Trump lately, surely they should all get together and tell Trump to fuck off as well? I mean, Trump is actively slagging off Amazon for damaging retailers and destroying jobs, as well as calling the Washington Post (which Jeff Bezos owns) "fake news".

Apple to spend $1b on making its own Netflix
Apple has seen Netflix's success and wants some of that sweet recurring service money to trickle into its bank account too. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is going to drop a cool $1 billion on anyone with a camera and a script to make content for Apple's inevitable streaming media platform. When I first saw this, I thought "shit, $1b, that's a lot of cash", but apparently, Warner Brothers spends over $2b/yr on content. HBO spend about $1.8b (who, let's face it, still make the best gear). That's all a drop in the ocean compared to Netflix though, who said they will spend 6 billion dollars in 2017 to create new TV shows and movies for its platform. If you've got a half arsed idea for a TV show, time to get over to California!

Senate confirms investigation into crappy government IT projects
That Senate Inquiry into why the government sucks at rolling out large IT projects I mentioned recently? Yeah, that's confirmed now. From ZDNet: the "Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee will look into whether the government's digital services have "due regard" for privacy, security, quality, reliability, and are value for money; the digital transformation approach by the government; and how digital projects are being delivered." Of course, the Libs were against it, calling "unnecessary" and a "a waste of taxpayers' money" because they're already doing internal reviews. I'm sure those internal reviews are very independent and honest. A report will be tabled December 4th, so I assume hearings (those videos of people in suits sitting at tables getting grilled by other people in suits) will start in the near future.

Australian Bitcoin exchanges will need to adhere to anti-money laundering laws
Bad news for those using Bitcoin to launder money - the Australian government will be forcing Bitcoin exchanges to adhere to anti-money laundering laws. Awwww. "Under the new measures in the bill, Bitcoin exchanges and similar business will have to enrol in a Digital Currency Exchange Register maintained by AUSTRAC" and crypto exchanges will also "have to report suspicious transactions, including cash transactions exceeding $10,000 or more and keep seven years’ worth or records". Let's hope they actually adhere to those laws and don't do a Commonwealth Bank and blame their non-compliance on a software error that existed for years. Totally unrelated, but if you want to watch a TV show about money laundering, watch Ozark on Netflix. I liked it.


Huge amount of electric car subsidies in California's Sonoma county
On the topic of bargains, how does a brand new Volkswagen Golf with an electric motor for US$5,495 sound? Pretty good yeah? If you lived in the Northern Sonoma area of California, you should totally snag one, but you don't so read on wistfully like I did. The VW is $28,995, then there's a $7,000 dealer credit to get these things out of their yard. The local power company is giving a new $3,000 "clean air" incentive on top an existing $2,000 incentive. The local government has a low income earner EV purchase rebate of $1500. California has a $2,500 incentive for EVs and the federal government hands out a $7,500 tax credit for EV owners (which will expire soon). $28,995 - $7,000 - $3,000 - $2,000 - $1,500 - $2,500 - $7,500 = $5,495. There's even a $1,000 home EV charger rebate! Why is Sonoma County so keen to subside EVs anyways?

Cheap server hosting, 5TB HDDs, Sony noise cancelling cans and Plex Pass
Some nice non-eBay stuff on Ozbargain today. Very cheap dedicated servers from Kimsufi over in Europe. i5-2300, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 100mbit unlimited bandwidth boxes for just ~$23/m. 5TB Seagate external HDD from Wireless1 for $155 (pickup in Docklands) for $17 delivery. Sony MDR-1000X (apparently better than the Bose QC35s) noise cancelling headphones for $489 at Harvey Norman - good price for AU stock. Free three month trial of Plex Pass if you want to give it a crack before buying a longer subscription.

Keep PPI in mind when you buy your next monitor
If you're in the market for a new monitor, this blog post from Marc Edwards at Bjango (hello Marc!) is a must read. Marc explains the difference between Retina and "non-Retina" displays, how a display's PPI makes a big difference as to the quality of the image and what the sweet spots for various monitors are. Basically for Mac users at least, "using a display that isn’t close to 110PPI or 220PPI means text and interface elements will either be too big, or too small." The relationship between screen size, resolution and UI element sizing can be tricky, but the chart on Marc's blog post is a good guide. This PPI calculator will help you check if the monitor you plan on buying falls in the good zone on Marc's chart.

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!