The Sizzle

Issue 486 - Monday, 25th September 2017


Both sides of politics agree Australia needs a space agency
There is finally bipartisan support for Australia to get its own space agency - we are the 2nd last OECD country not to have one! The government said at 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide today, that an Australian space agency is something they want to implement. But things like what it will be responsible for exactly, what it will do, how much it will cost and where it will be based (e.g: actual details) are still TBA. The government just wants Australia to grab a slice of the pie in the increasingly profitable space industry, mainly somehow helping private businesses (i.e: NZ & Rocket Lab) build and launch rockets carrying satellites. Astronomy and engineering professors around Australia are bloody excited.
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London's transport regulator tells Uber to nick off
Transport for London has decided not to renew Uber's operating licence. Come September 30, all of Uber's cars will be off the road. TfL said that it didn't like Uber's lax approach to "reporting serious criminal offences; obtaining medical certificates; and background checks into drivers", as well as Uber's controversial "Greyball" program, that was "designed to identify law enforcement officials, and show them a fake interface that made it much harder to book taxis". Uber, of course, is mega pissed off at being locked out from operating in one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. 600,000 people have signed a petition Uber started, saying Uber should be allowed to continue. Uber is open to change though, saying they'll work with TfL to get their licence back.
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New Intel desktop CPUs, more cores for the same cash
Intel has new CPUs! Hooray for slight iterations of previous products! These 8th generation desktop CPUs are codenamed "Coffee Lake" and are pretty much the same as the 7th generation chips, just slightly faster and with more cores at the same price points. i3 CPUs have 4 cores , i5 CPUs have 6 cores, but no Hyper-threading. The i7s get 6 cores, but have 12 threads. Thank you AMD the Ryzen CPUs forcing Intel do this. They come with a new chipset - the Z370, which seems to have Thunderbolt 3 built in natively, which is an interesting move (previous chipsets needed an additional Thunderbolt IC to get it working)
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Sydney airport suffers a major fault with its radar's computer system
There's been a major "technical issue" with the radar at Sydney airport, causing flight mayhem. According to the ABC, "the fault was related to the flight planning system which feeds into the radar and without it, controllers cannot see which plane is which." The ABC also captured some ATC audio where the controllers explain to a pilot that "the techs are working on it. Every time it reboots it locks up again so, ah yeah, until it's reliable there'll be no movements". The fault is fixed now, but it's gonna take a day or two to clear up the backlog of flights. Considering the scale of the issue, I'm surprised the issue was fixed that quickly - it could have been way worse. It'll be interesting to get details of the problem in a few weeks when the dust settles.
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SA to roll out digital licences to everyone in October
South Australia will be the first state to make digital drivers licences available to its citizens: "digital learners, provisional, full or heavy vehicle licences would be made available to motorists through the mySA GOV app from next month" (October) and people will be able to "use the licence for police checks and to verify their age for entry to pubs and clubs". There are a "number of security features such as a 'shake to animate' feature that can be used to prove the licence is not a photo or a screenshot" - cool. I mean, not that carrying my licence in my wallet is a big deal, but I guess its nice to have it on a smartphone too.
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Renault Zoe comes to Australia for $45,000, eww
Renault has announced they're going to sell the cool little Zoe EV in Australia! Yay! Oh.. hang on, what's this? "ZOE will be sold directly to customers by Renault Australia to business-to-business and business-to-government customers only for the time being." Goddamnit. Plus, it looks like it'll cost around $45,000. Ughhhh. If you aren't aware, the Zoe is a little Toyota Yaris/Holden Barina sized electric car does about 250km-300km of real world range. Here's a nice YouTube review. In New Zealand, the Zoe can be had for NZ$39,990 brand new. Maybe if I can get enough people together, I can go to Renault directly and do a group buy for EV enthusiasts and get the price down?
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Marco explains why we can't get podcasts on the Apple Watch
I am the new owner of a Series 3 Apple Watch and I won't make any judgements about it until I've used it for a few weeks - but one of the things I would love to do is listen to podcasts without my iPhone nearby. Either stream the audio over LTE or sync a few eps to the watch's internal storage. Unfortunately, according to Marco Arment, the creator of an iOS podcast app, it can't be done due to limitations with watchOS 4 (mainly the inability for 3rd party apps to play audio in the background). Apple could make a few tweaks to watchOS and make it happen, so maybe in version 5 of watchOS, we'll finally get a podcast app.
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NYT shows us the revolting opinions of some men in the IT industry
KKK fancier James Damore has popped his head up again, along with some old school MRAs and Mgtows in this good/bad (good as in well written, bad as in the people interviewed are shitcunts) article in the New York Times. It's a collection of men espousing their opinions in the one of the most read English language read newspapers in the world, who think women are going too far in their quest for equality in the workplace, particularly in tech roles. Hearing them speak for themselves and exposing their beliefs plainly, really shows how prehistoric these guys are. They're whingers who hate change, not the oppressed minorities they claim to be.
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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.