The Sizzle

Issue 470 - Friday, 1st September 2017


Goodies from IFA 2017
IFA over in Berlin has picked up pace, with a flood of announcements overnight: Motorola Moto X4, a mid-range-ish Android with a decent camera and Alexa support. DJI revamped the Mavic Pro with better battery life and less noisy motors. LG announced their V30 flagship smartphone and it looks alright. Garmin has 3 new fitness trackers - the Vivosport band with GPS is pretty neat. Sandisk has a 400GB microSD card. Bang and Olufsen's Beoplay E8 fully wireless earbuds are probably good, but cost twice as much as Apple's AirPods. Philips has earbuds too and they're chepaer than Apple's. Sony announced three new Xperia phones - XZ1, XZ1 Compact and XA1 Plus. Don't get too excited, none of em are gonna be sold in Australia (but will in NZ?!). Sony also announced the RX0 shock and weatherproof camera and a Google enabled smart speaker that looks heaps like an Apple HomePod. Ricoh has updated its wonderful Theta 360-degree camera to support 4K.
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Metro slapped with $1.2m fine for its July computer malfunction
Back in July the Melbourne metropolitan train network literally shit the bed when a computer failed. A server in the Metro Trains control room died, so all the trains stopped as the drivers and signalling staff couldn't promise things would be safe. For hours, no trains moved an inch in Melbourne. Metro's punishment was handed down by the government today: a $1.2m fine on top of the $627,000 Metro paid out as compo to impacted passengers. It's the maximum penalty the government can give apparently. Metro also miss out on an on-time performance bonus for that month, further lowering their revenue.
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Apple confirms 12th Sept iPhone keynote
Apple's confirmed the 12th of Sept date for their iPhone keynote. They also confirmed it'll be held at the Steve Jobs Theatre at their new fancy spaceship campus in Cupertino. It kicks off at 3am on the 13th of September for those on the Aussie east coast. For other times, just visit - it'll tell ya. From MacStories: "Based on widespread speculation, Apple is expected to introduce new iPhones, including a redesigned model with an edge-to-edge OLED screen. Rumours in recent weeks also point to the introduction of a 4K-compatible Apple TV, a new LTE-enabled Apple Watch, and perhaps other products." - perhaps, other products! I love me some other products.
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Samsung enters the robocar race
Samsung has applied for and received a permit to test self-driving cars from the Californian DMV. It makes kinda sense Samsung would do this - a huge part of their business is semi-conductors. You know what needs loads of semi-conductors? Self-driving cars! Camera sensors, high powered ASICs, ultrasonic sensors, radios galore and I'm sure Samsung could cook up some LIDAR sensors if it wants. If LG can be a huge car part OEM (it's opening a factory in the USA to supply GM with EV bits), why not Samsung? Plus Apple and Google are making self-driving cars, of course Samsung is gonna take "inspiration" from them and join the market.
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Kim Dotcom reveals yet another file sharing service
Kim Dotcom, fresh off fighting GCSB in NZ's High Court, has launched another file-sharing service, called From TorrentFreak: "It will allow users to upload content and distribute it to dozens of other services, including Dropbox, Google, Reddit, Storj, and even torrent sites". Also from TF: "The uploaders set a price for each download and people who want a copy can only unlock it through the app or browser addon, after they’ve paid." How do you pay? Bitcoin of course! It's also interesting that content owners can "claim" a file and take the money that file is generating. So if a pirate uploads GoT, technically, HBO can claim it and have the Bitcoin funnelled to them. will be ready in mid-2018, so still a while away unfortunately.
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Cheap Steam Links, Kindle Paperwhites, Kogan data & a new eBay 20% sale
Cheap Steam Link ($27) and Steam Controllers ($63) at EB. Kindle Paperwhite from Myer for $139, delivered. Kogan has discounted its mobile data vouchers - 16GB/30 days for $29.90 or 60GB/30 days for $49.90. Right on queue, eBay has a 20% off selected tech stores until the 7th of September sale! The code this time is PICKUP20. I'll find some more bargains next week in this sale and sprinkle them across each issue of The Sizzle.
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Disabling wi-fi on Android doesn't always mean it's disabled
Most sane people would assume turning off wi-fi turns the radio is off and nothing is broadcast. Some French infosec researchers asked the question: "Does disabling Wi-Fi prevent my Android phone from sending Wi-Fi frames?" Their answer: "No. We show that another option, called "Always allow scanning", when activated, makes a device send Wi-Fi frames which can be used to track this device, even if the Wi-Fi switch is off. This option is not clearly described in all Android versions, and sometimes even not deactivatable. Besides, the Google Maps application prompts the user to activate this option." Hmmmm, Google, wanting to track me?! I never would have thought that, no way... The linked report is pretty simple to read, not too jargony if you're interested in knowing more.
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Piss off James Damore, nobody likes you here except the other cretins living under the same rock
My friend Peter Wells has posted a great opinion piece on the Sydney Morning Herald about that fuckstick James Damore. Pete says what pretty much most sane dudes working in the IT industry think about Damore's point of view - it's outdated, it's incorrect, it's not what most men in IT think. If anything, Damore's shitty pseudo-scientific rant is "the death rattle of a sexist structure finally, slowly, beginning to change". But that doesn't mean we don't remain vigilant, as soon as the industry gets complacent about this, it'll just revert back to its old ways and maintain that horrible casual sexism all of us are trying to erode.
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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!