The Sizzle

Issue 472 - Tuesday, 5th September 2017


China bans ICOs, crypto markets drop sharply as a result
China's government has banned ICOs. In the first half of 2017, there were 65 Chinese ICOs that raised a combined 2.62 billion yuan (almost A$500m) from 105,000 individuals. This has freaked out the Chinese government, just as it's freaked out the Americans, Singaporeans and Canadians. So to keep a lid on things, ICOs are just not allowed for the time being. Apparently this is just the start of China's government taking a stronger stand against its citizens funnelling money out of the country via cryptocoins. As a result, a bunch of cryptocurrencies have plummeted - Bitcoin down around 7%, Ethereum 16%, Litecoin 18%. All this hasn't stopped Paris Hilton backing the useless LydianCoin, she's very bullish on the concept.
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Oracle kills off Solaris, ZFS and SPARC
Pour one out for Solaris, finally given then sweet release of death by those pricks at Oracle. If you don't know, Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010. Before the purchase, Sun was an innovative, if not financially unstable company responsible for some great tech such as the ZFS file system, VirtualBox, the dtrace software instrumentation kit, the SPARC micro architecture and probably the biggest one of all, the Java programming language. Solaris, the variant of UNIX Sun developed was the vessel for most of this tech, so even though it wasn't very widespread it was kinda important. Soon as Oracle purchased Sun, development on most of this stuff stopped and what we have today is the culmination of that - Oracle sacking everyone related to Solaris, SPARC and ZFS. About 2500 people all up lost their job. May they all find somewhere more creative than Oracle to utilise their talent.
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There's a 17yo kid getting paid $150k/yr to play Overwatch competitively
Jay "sinatraa" Won signed a deal with NRG Esports that'll see him join NRG's Overwatch Leauge team and earn $150k/yr, plus, 50% of his team's bonuses. Well technically, Jay's mum signed the deal, as the kid is only 17 years old! There was fierce negotiation between NRG and Cloud9, but in the end, Jay picked NRG as the home for his l335 skillz (do kids still say l33t? I don't think they do). Sounds to me like kid is like the Buddy Franklin of eSports. While reading this article on goddamn ESPN, there are links to other related articles and one of them said that Boise State college is adding eSports as part of its varsity sports program! So there you go kids, you can tell your parents you plan on going to college and still be an eSports legend.
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Telstra has new pre-paid and post-paid plans
Telstra's updated its post-paid and pre-paid mobile plans, just in time for the new iPhone in a few weeks. The post-paid "Go" plans that you really only get if you're getting a phone at the same time, now have more data for the same kinda cash. Spend more than $99/m and ya get a free 12 month Foxtel Now subscription thrown in - but not the sports pack, which is all I care about on Foxtel. The Go plans also include free wi-fi with Telstra Air (aka practically useless), 6 months of Apple Music and some NRL/AFL streaming stuff that's a pile of useless shit too. Pre-paid plans got more data for the same cash, but they're still stupid 28-day expiry periods, so you're paying 13 times a year instead of once a month, which would only be 12 times a month. I hate that.
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New Beats Studio 3 have fancy noise cancelling and a W1 chip
Apple has new pair of headphones using the W1 chip. The Beats Studio 3 are wireless (obviously) and noise cancelling and use the proprietary-ish (it's still Bluetooth, kinda) W1 chip like in the AirPods for better sound quality and connection reliability than straight Bluetooth. The Studio 3 has "Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling" and it sounds like it does a lot of fancy stuff to remove all sorts of ambient noise. It wouldn't surprise me if a few Apple engineers who do the noise cancellation stuff for the iPhone's mics had a hand in this. Battery life is good too, with 22 hours with noise cancellation on, 40 if its off. A 10-min charge will give the headphones 3 hours of playback time. The Studio 3 comes in six different colours and is available now from Apple for $449.95. Bose QC35 killer? Maybe!
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Three stories of Google abusing its search engine & online advertising dominance
In the aftermath of Google threatening to pull funding from the think-tank doing anti-monopoly research, a few more people have spoken up about how Google's immense size and market share has been used against them. First there's Kashmir Hill, a journalist who was ordered to shitcan an article about how if large news sits like Forbes didn't include a G+ social networking button on their articles, it would impact their Google search results. Then there's this article from Talking Point Memo, who practically live in fear of Google's ability to remove the flow of traffic they directs to its articles. Now Vivaldi (previously the Opera web browser) have come out and said how decisions Google has made to favour its own Chrome browser have impacted them. Google are the new Microsoft.
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20,000 words about what's new in Android 8
Arstechnica has a massive overview of Android 8.0, aka Oreo. The bastard is 20,000 words! It covers stuff I didn't even know about, like Project Treble, a way to reduce the amount of fragmentation in installed versions of Android across the 2 billion smartphones out there. There's also far too many words about the new notifications system. Seriously, if there's something about notifications not in this article, you don't need to know about it. There is literally no stone left unturned about all the new stuff in Android 8.0. If you read it all, congratulations. I could not be stuffed.
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Cheap robotic, Surface Book, Vive VR, Powerbeats 3, GoPro and Nikon DSLR
Bargains! Xiaomi robovac (they're supposed to be pretty good) with an AU plug and shipping from AU for $349.16 (use code PAINT). Microsoft Surface Book (one of the classier PC laptops I've used) for $1979.10. HTC Vive VR kit (these are fun!) for $899. Use the code PAINT on these two as well. Powerbeats 3 wireless earphones (despite being Beats, they're good and have the W1 chip) for $207.20 from Myer (use code PMYER20). Nikon D3400 and 18-55mm lens for $415.08 (use code PICKUP20). GoPro Hero5 Black for $374.40 (use code PAINT)
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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!