The Sizzle

Issue 481 - Monday, 18th September 2017


Commonwealth Bank snubs Apple Pay, implementing Android & Garmin Pay support instead
The Commonwealth Bank - noted money launderer, Australia's finest life insurance swindler and financial advice bullshit artist - has decided to launch Android Pay support. Cool, the Android folk will enjoy it, congrats. They also launched Garmin Pay support. Yeah, Garmin Pay. The company who makes fitness devices and GPS units for your car has its own contactless payment system and the Commonwealth Bank decided to support that bullshit over Apple Pay. Look if you have a CBA account cancel it. They're the worst example of gormless capitalism in Australia, who gives a shit that their app is nice.
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Equifax still suck
The big ol' hack of Equifax is still filling up my RSS feed. 400,000 people in the UK are now impacted along side the 143 million Americans. The Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner wants answers about any good honest Canadian data getting leaked, but Equifax hasn't replied yet. Equifax's Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin "retired" over the weekend. Is leaking all the private financial info of all 143 million customers not enough to get fired these days? You get to retire early and enjoy life? Sounds great! US Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a bill trying to get companies like Equifax to allow free credit freezes and wants to give some regulator more authority so this doesn't happen again.
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Pirate Bay replaces ads with browser based cryptocoin mining script
Our copyright infringing friends at the Pirate Bay are trying a new way to make a buck - cryptocurrency. No, not an ICO like every other shyster, but actually using your computer to mine Monero. Visitors to the Pirate Bay are treated to an ad free version of the site, but in the background your browser is fed some Javascript that crunches away mining Monero for the site's owner as an alternative to display ads that nobody is clicking on purpose. This kinda sucks if you're on a laptop as 100% CPU usage tens o drain your battery pretty damn quick. Not to worry, there's already a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox to block Javascript based coin miners. The Pirate Bay just ran it as a 24hr test, they may not roll it out permanently.
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Robocar company comes out of stealth, reveals it has an Aussie boss
Slow news day today, so here's some very loose rumours about yet another robocar company. Fresh out of "stealth mode", Zoox is the latest Silicon Valley darling, attracting over $1b in funding from Tencent and Softbank. This article in the SMH has revealed that an Australian is responsible. Nothing's actually happening here related to the car, but an Aussie is in charge! Tim Kentley-Klay is the head honcho at Zoox (ex-Swinburne lad, we dropped out of the same uni!), who's aim is to build fully autonomous cars by 2020. Yes, a car, that drives itself, with no human input, there won't even be a steering wheel or windshield, in 3 years. Good luck with that. No really, I mean that with no snark - good luck beating General Motors, or Waymo, not to mention the raft of German and Japanese OEMs working on the same issue. It's gonna be tough!
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HP's new very fast, very expensive Z8 workstation
The HP Z8 Workstation. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes. "The new systems contain up to two Intel Skylake-SP Xeon CPUs with up to 56 cores in total, up to 3 TB of DDR4 RAM, terabytes of storage as well as up to 9 PCIe slots along with optional TB3 and 10 GbE support via add-in cards". Mmmmhmmm. That's some serious firepower. Should be just enough to handle Slack and a few tabs in Chrome I reckon.
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20% off Apple gear on DSE's eBay store
Oh look, another eBay sale! This one is 20% off all Apple products sold by DSE/Kogan up on eBay. Series 2 Apple Watches starting at $369.59, Magic Trackpad 2 - $153.59, Apple Pencil - $129.59, Apple Smart Keyboard for 12.9" iPad Pro - $209.59. Some iPhone 8 variants are 20% off, but the shipping ETA is mid-November. Loads of MacBooks and iPads too. There's limited stock and not a lot of availability, but if you're in the market for something Apple, look around, you can save some bucks. By the way - all Apple gear from HK has warranty in AU (1 year) and power adaptors work fine (they're multi-voltage), you just gotta change the duckhead.
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People really love old ThinkPads
Following up from my mention of the retro ThinkPad on Friday, did you know that there's a company in China selling old IBM X61 (a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo thing with a 12" screen) with modern guts (1400x1050 IPS LCD panel, a Core i7-5600U CPU, 802.11ac, BT4, USB 3, SATA3, etc)?! It's pretty goddamn wild, they custom made the motherboards to fit the X61 chassis (whaaaaat) and hand assemble them from old X61 units. They call it the X62. As X61 laptops are getting harder to find, they sell kits (mobo, LCD) that you can install into your ageing X61 yourself. That's what I call dedication to the cause! It's a really nice laptop though, I'll give them that. Notebook Check did a review of one of the X62s and this guy blogged about his experience making one.
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A collection of random gadgets I think are interesting
I was cleaning out some links in my giant Pocket repository of stuff I see online and re-discovered these gadgets/hardware bits that I wanted to mention, but probably aren't special enough on bring up on their own. Kodak's Primtomatic is a digital camera that'll spit out 2" x 3" prints. Philips were pimping an 8K 31.5", 7680x4320 (8K!) monitor at IFA a few weeks ago. Ubiquiti have branched out from wi-fi routers and networking gear into weirdly, bodycams that stream to Facebook or YouTube live. I want one, but don't wanna pay for it. The Boox Typewriter is a 9.7" laptop with an e-ink screen and I think, custom OS, designed for writing with no distractions.
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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.