The Sizzle

Issue 504 - Friday, 20th October 2017


Tesla sued for not stopping a homophobic & racist workplace
Ugh, Tesla appears to have a toxic workplace culture going on at its Fremont factory. Yesterday, three black employees sued Tesla, saying they were the targets of "racially motivated abuse, including the frequent use of racial slurs" from "supervisors and co-workers" and that "Tesla employees and supervisors left racist caricatures and images around the factory for black workers to see". Today, a single employee, Jorge Ferro is also suing Tesla because he was "taunted for being gay and threatened with violence" with a HR rep saying that "there's no place for handicapped people at Tesla", insinuating that gay people are handicapped, which is obviously a total crock of shit. Both groups say that despite raising it with Tesla management and HR, nothing was done, hence, the lawsuits.
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NBN tries to explain why our internet sucks versus NZ & fails
Oh look, another defensive rant on the NBN's blog. This time, it's hitting out at people who noticed that New Zealand got their shit together and have awesome broadband, but Australia doesn't. Bill Morrow tries to explain that NZ is different to Australia, but really ends up highlighting all the ways Australia screwed up telecommunications policy. NZ forced its incumbent telco to separate its wholesale and retail arms and charge it a fair price for access to its network (we didn't), NZ already had FTTN to upgrade from (we decided to install new FTTN instead, lol), most of NZ's fibre lead-ins are aerial, not underground, which is cheaper (so why don't we do that too?) and NZ's network has no CVC charges to worry about (but ours does for totally political, not technical reasons). What a pathetic outfit the NBN has morphed into.
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Twitter looks like they're doing something about abuse
Looks like Twitter's latest promise to do something about the abuse rampant on its service might actually come true. They published a timeline of what they plan to do on their blog and it's relatively detailed. Starting on the 27th of October, they're expanding their definition of non-consensual nudity and being able to appeal account suspensions. In early November, there will be more explanation as to why an account was locked, "violent groups" will be suspended, as will those using "hateful imagery and hate symbols", accounts carrying out unwanted sexual advances and an expanded definition of what is spam. It sounds like all the things people wanted, are coming - hopefully it makes a difference.
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Google invests $1b into Lyft
Google/Alphabet have ploughed US$1b into Lyft. This is pretty interesting because General Motors, arguably Google's biggest competitor when it comes to robocars, invested US$500m in Lyft about 18 months ago. Lyft seems poised to reap the benefits of both Waymo (aka Google) and Cruise (aka GM)'s robocar tech, as you'd assume both those players want their tech used in Lyft's operations and for their lofty investments to pay off. Lyft meanwhile, get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of the the two leaders in self-driving cars battle against each other to develop the best tech. To spicy up this meatball, Ford are also partnered with Lyft back in September and GM might be looking to work with Uber, ditching Lyft and downsizing their investment.
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Robert Scoble is a sex pest
Another day, another uncovering of a man in tech that has no respect for women. Today's jerk is Robert Scoble, who you might remember as that dude who wore Google Glasses in the shower and is now the archetype of a Silicon Valley dingus. Robert couldn't keep his hands to himself at a conference and groped Quinn Norton, who proceeded to rightfully smack him in the chin and told him to fuck off. Bravely, Quinn takes the high road and acknowledges that this sort of crap will keep on happening unless there's a way for people like Robert to get help early, rather than being demonised. I would prefer his dick chopped off and the bloody, shrivelled piece of flesh used as a warning for other men, but Quinn's approach makes much more sense.
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Plex Server has hardware decode and encode support!
Holy fucking shit, Plex finally has hardware transcoding support! Okay, maybe this isnt' a big deal to many people, but it is to me. No longer will transcoding video in real-time require a huge beefy CPU, just as long as that CPU supports Intel Quicksync, you'll enjoy smooth, interruption free streaming. It works on the Mac, Windows and Linux versions of Plex and you need a Plex Pass to get the latest version of Plex Server that has this built in, but hotdamn, it's finally here. The Windows and Mac versions of Plex will even use your Nvidia or AMD GPU to transcode if QuickSync is unavailable. On a 7th-gen Intel CPU, you can even do HEVC decoding - very nice. Now all that's left is for Plex to make it work on Synology NASes.
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Latest version of Ubuntu has a whole new UI
There's a new version of Ubuntu out (17.10 Artful Aardvark) and the Desktop version has some pretty big changes. From the release notes: 32-bit installer images are no longer provided for Ubuntu Desktop. The Ubuntu Desktop now uses GNOME instead of Unity. On supported systems, Wayland is now the default display server. Python 2 is no longer installed by default. Python 3 has been updated to 3.6. Window control buttons are back on the right for the first time since 2010. Word is that it's still a bit buggy, which makes sense considering all the changes, so if you use this in production, I wouldn't move to it yet. Wait for the LTS version coming next year.
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More PLUG20 eBay deals
Some eBay bargains for ya to look into over the weekend. Use code PLUG20 to get 20% off:

  • 64GB iPhone 8, AU stock - $919.20
  • Bose QC35 II wireless headphones - $375.20
  • Netgear Orbi RBK50 mesh wi-fi units - $467.20
  • Jabra Move bluetooth headphones - $71.20
  • Synology DS416play NAS - $519.20
  • Dell U2715H 27" WQHD monitor - $508.32
  • 10.5" iPad Pro 64GB WiFi - $736
  • Dell XPS 15, i7-7700HQ, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GTX1050, FHD - $1839.20
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