The Sizzle

Issue 461 - Monday, 21st August 2017

Please take the time to check if you're enrolled to give your say in the upcoming Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. Yeah I know it's a monumental waste of money and I'm dead certain there will be some form of technical fuck up, but we gotta make sure gay people can get married. It's embarrassing Australia hasn't got on board with this yet. Head on over to the AEC website now and on September 13th, when forms start arriving in letterboxes, tell the government you want same sex marriage to be legal in Australia.


ACCC releases new ISP advertising guidelines
The ACCC has released guidelines on how ISPs should be advertising internet speeds. No longer will ISPs be allowed to say "up to" a certain speed, but must now indicate "the speeds at which the plans typically operate during the busy evening period" by using the words "basic evening speed, standard evening speed, standard plus evening speed and premium evening speed". So Optus for example, instead of saying "you're on a 100/40 plan", they'll now say "premium evening speed plan". I think that's how it'll work anyways. It's pretty weird. The full guidelines are available from the ACCC website. Keep it handy when you see an ISP promoting their service and then under delivering so you can dob them in to the ACCC. Won't fix anything but will make you feel better.

Nerds tell UN to ban killer robots
A group of 116 experts in AI and robotics are imploring the United Nations to ban the creation of "killer robots". These experts are meeting at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Melbourne, and believe humanity is on the precipice of creating the machines that can kill humans without the humans doing the killing. Like a self driving car, these machines will self kill programmed enemies. Set it to fly or drive around and fire its guns or launch its missiles at targets it thinks are a risk. Apparently, it is going to be the "third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear arms" - hence why the UN should add it to the list of banned conventional weapons along side intentionally blinding lasers and chemical weapons.

Vocus take over bids cancelled
A few months ago, two private equity groups expressed interest in buying out Australia's 4th largest telco, Vocus. Both Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners were offering $3.50 a share to take over the telco, but now that they've each done their due diligence, they've decided that they aren't too keen on buying Vocus and dropped their offers. Vocus are now going to concentrate on the transformation program outlined in June this year. Disclaimer: I own 120 stupid shares in Vocus that I paid $4.10 each for and I am seriously wishing I spent that money on a weekend in Hobart or something instead.

Uber wants NSW govt to pay it to fill in public transport gaps
Uber is currently pitching the NSW government on the idea of subsided Uber rides in areas of Sydney with poor public transport. Uber already does this in some Canadian and American cities. Uber sets a boundary where if rides start and finish in that zone, the cost for the rider works out to around what it would cost for a bus ticket and the rest of the fare is picked up by the government. NSW Transport is keen, saying that Uber "potentially significant role to play". I reckon it could work well - I'm not a fan of Uber sucking on the tax payer tit, but hey, a cheap Uber ride to the train station instead of a bus every hour that misses the connection 60% of the time is a huge improvement.

Nazi website back online thanks to BitMitigate's crass publicity stunt
I don't want to mention this, but I feel this update will give us all a sense of closure, for now. The Daily Stormer, a shitrag of a website where Nazis organise pathetic rallies to show the world how backwards and scared of the world they are, has been deregistered by traditional domain registrars, DDoS'd off the dark web, kicked off Russian domain registrars and had its DDoS protection disabled by Cloudflare. Unfortunately, Nick Lim, who owns BitMitigate has stepped in to defend the Daily Stormer's "right to express their ideas" by registering their domain name and setting up DDoS protection for them. Nick also said that hosting the Nazi website is a great way to "really get my service out there" and that "this whole thing is really entertaining". Mmm, yes, leveraging the death of an innocent woman killed by Nazis is a great way to promote your business and have a few chuckles you gormless fuckwit. I'd almost give this dude a pass if all he said was the free speech stuff, but then he had to go and ruin it.


Essential Phone reviews are out - it's good but the camera's a bit shit
Reviews are finally out of the Essential phone. Andy Rubin's slick looking Android phone is pretty good according to those who have one. The camera is below par and it's expensive, but the physical design and the screen look fantastic - there's basically no bezel on this thing. The best thing about the Essential phone is a clean version of Android 7.1.1 - no bloat of OEM UI. Hopefully Essential keep to their word and release updates for at least two years and security updates for an additional year after that. 9to5 Google has a good summary of all the reviews.

New mixer from Zoom with built in audio recorder
Audio nerds, look at this cool new mixer from Zoom. The Livetrack L-12 is a normal mixer with 8 XLR inputs, nothing unusual there, but it's also a USB interface *and* an audio recorder. It'll record each track individually to an SD card so you can edit it on the mixer itself, or just take those files to a computer and edit them there. Quite a nice little unit. Shame it can't be battery powered like its predecessor, the R16, but the inclusion of what is essentially a full Zoom H4n into the mixer itself is cool. This reminds me, I need to get a Sizzle podcast going one day.

Last day of eBay's latest 20% off sale
There's still a few hours left on eBay's 20% off PTECH sale, which ends at 23:59. Here's a few things that popped up on Ozbargain that seem to be good deals: Bose QC30 in-ear, wireless, noise canceling headphones for $319.90. Linksys WRT1200AC-AU wi-fi router for $103.20. Samsung 960 EVO 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD for $168.80. OnePlus 5 64GB 6GB RAM smartphone for $559.20. Hisense 65N7 65" U4K TV for $2044.40. Intel NUC7I3BNH (i3-7100U, BYO RAM & storage) for $351.20. Gigabyte GTX1080 8GB graphics card for $719.20. Don't forget to use the code PTECH to get 20% off!

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!