The Sizzle

Issue 464 - Thursday, 24th August 2017


Samsung Galaxy Note8 announced, goes on sale Sept 22nd
Samsung announced the latest iteration of their popular Galaxy Note big arse phone. The Galaxy Note8 will absolutely, positively, not explode in your pants. The Note's 6.3" screen is only 6.2" bigger than the Galaxy S8+, but has more going on than the S8+. There's 6GB of RAM vs. 4GB, a slightly smaller battery (3300mAh vs. 3500mAh) and two cameras on the rear (one wide, one tele). The Note8 is heavier too, 195g vs. 173g for the S8+ which may be attributed to the S-Pen stylus. Gizmodo has a list of all the plans from AU teclos for the Note8 if you're keen. Outright, it will cost $1499 and go on sale September 22nd. If you pre-order, you get a free "Samsung Convertible Fast Wireless Charger". Here's Samsung's 3 min pitch vid.

Google wants to know if you're depressed
Americans who Google "depression" will be presented with a questionnaire to see if they're clinically depressed thanks to a partnership between Google and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A link to a test will appear in one of those info boxes at the top of search results. The test itself is based on the clinically validated PHQ-9 series of questions, so it's not just Google cobbling together a few questions at random from bullshit websites. The hope is people will do that test and if the test does indicate someone is depressed, they can be guided to in-person help. Dunno if it'll be rolled out in Australia, but US users will start seeing the test appear for related searches in the next few days.

Facebook is allegedly making a smart speaker, 360 degree and video chat device
Facebook is ramping up its efforts to make a video chat device reminiscent of the Amazon Echo Show. Basically a box that sits in your house, with a speaker, a screen and a camera that links into Facebook's ecosystem and I assume, lets you video chat with your Facebook contacts. This rumour got re-ignited lately as some dude called Boz, who is a Facebook bigwig and a confidant/lieutenant of the Zuck, has been called in to lead the riff raff at Facebook's mysterious "Building 8" where the alleged "Aloha" device is being worked on. Pals and insiders whisper that there's also a smart speaker and a 360-degree camera in the works. Fuck me, I could care less about this until it's actually released, but loads of sites reported on it and there isn't much else going on today, as will be exemplified in the next story about a goddamn space suit.

SpaceX reveals a working spacesuit its astronauts will wear one day
Elon Musk posted a picture of SpaceX's first spacesuit to Instagram and every tech site went wild, dedicating a post to it. When Elon Musk farts, everyone pays attention. According to Musk, it's not a mockup, but a fully working spacesuit ready now. SpaceX tried to make it look good as well as like, make sure the wearer doesn't choke or freeze to death in the vast emptiness of space. Apparently the same costume designer that made outfits for Batman and Wolverine designed SpaceX's suit too. Boeing has a fancy space suit as well, part of its Starliner program. SpaceX's looks cooler but Boeing's helmet looks like it has a bigger visor.

Why aren't more women working in cyber security?
The government wanted to know why there's so few women working in the "cyber security industry" and asked UNSW to look into it. The report came out yesterday and in the executive summary, said that "barriers to girls and women commence early – from primary school – and continue throughout women’s careers to the executive levels. Barriers also exist at all stages of the employment life cycle, from recruitment to career development and performance management, culminating in women leaving the industry" - what are some of those barriers? "long hours working cultures, women professionals being excluded from the "boys' club", women being subjected to sexist remarks, and the technical expertise of women being regarded less seriously than that of male colleagues" - not cool, not cool at all. The full review can be read here.


Cheap Kindles, Google Home, iMacs, KEF headphones, GoPro, DJI drones and MX Master mice
Kindle Paperwhite for $139, delivered, from Myer. JB Hi-Fi are selling the Google Home and a Chromecast (your pick of audio or TV) in a bundle for $209. There's a bunch of "open box" current model 27" iMacs on eBay for $2519.20 (use code PRESENT for 20% off). If that's too expensive for ya, there's some refurbished Lenovo Thinkcentre Edge 91z all-in-one units for what I'd say is a very reasonable $349. KEF M500 headphones (Wirecutter's "best sounding on-ear headphones") for only $239.20. GoPro HERO5 Black, AU stock for $423.99. DJI Spark, also AU stock from an official DJI reseller, for $621.59. Logitech MX Master 2S mouse for $103.20.

New info on the progress of Waymo's self-driving car efforts
Alexis Madrigal is the first journalist allowed into Waymo's "Castle" - it's a vast former military base that's been set up by Waymo to mimic the more complicated scenarios its self-driving cars come across. Literally a mini city with the most fucked up roads you can think of. This story also has new info about Google's self-driving car simulator called Carcraft where Waymo can run thousands of simulations based off real roads instead of having to actually drive them in meatspace. According to Allstate Insurance's head of innovation: "without a robust simulation infrastructure, there is no way you can build [higher levels of autonomy into vehicles] and I would not engage in conversation with anyone who thinks otherwise." - so it seems that simulator is pretty damn important and I don't think the traditional car makers have that sort of expertise. I'd love to know how it compares to Tesla's autopilot data harvesting.

Nikon announces new D850 DSLR
Nikon has finally announced the D850 digital SLR. It's a big upgrade to the D810 that was getting a bit long in the tooth. 45.7MP BSI CMOS full-frame sensor, 7 fps continuous shooting, 153-point AF system, 4K@30fps/1080@120fps video and the rather nifty (I reckon at least) SnapBridge Bluetooth smartphone connect feature. Weirdly it has one XQD slot and one SD slot instead of two SD slots or two XQD slots. Arguably, DSLRs are less important now, with all the nice interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras and all, but the D850 is still a class above in terms of image quality - better low light performance, huge dynamic range and a choice of over 70 high quality lenses that the mirrorless cameras can't match. has uploaded a "first look" video to YouTube. The D850 goes on sale in September and will have an RRP of US$3299. Don't expect it for under $4500 locally.

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!