Issue 508

Thursday, 26th October 2017

In This Issue


Amazon's new camera will let couriers in your home to drop off packages

Amazon's released the Cloud Cam. It's basically a Nest Cam or one of the dozens of other "cloud cameras", but by Amazon and with some unique features that let it talk to compatible smart locks to monitor the activity of strangers you let inside your house. The camera itself is pretty typical of others on the market (1080p, night vision, 2-way audio, etc), the unique feature here is Amazon Key. The example used with Key is an Amazon courier who scans a barcode on their hand held device, which talks to your Cloud Cam to open a smart lock on your door to let them in. The camera records the courier dropping the parcel off and sends footage of it to you to let you know your package has arrived. You can let in a bunch of other people too (cleaners, tradies, etc.) and monitor them via the Cloud Cam. Can't wait for the "courier stole my dog/child/expensive jewels" stories to flood in!

New study claims EVs powered by coal electricity still cleaner than ICE cars

One of the popular arguments against electric cars is that there's no point in encouraging them for CO2 reduction when the electricity generated to power the vehicle is from coal, which itself generates CO2. Belgium's VUB University looked into this and claims that even when considering the total life-cycle emissions of an EV (battery manufacture included) and even when powered by electricity generated from coal, there's still a substantial reduction in carbon emissions compared to ICE vehicles. This will only improve as more renewable energy comes online.

Microsoft's no longer selling the Kinect

Microsoft's no longer gonna sell the Kinect sensor for the XBox or PCs due to waning developer interest. The depth-sensing camera didn't set the world on fire when it came to use in video games, but it was very popular with hobbyists and artists, who were able to get their hands on a relatively cheap sensor that otherwise would have cost thousands. With all the VR and AR hype around now, it looks like the Kinect will be remembered as yet another technology Microsoft took to market first, but couldn't capitalise on whilst its competitors got rich off a similar thing.

iPhone X supply chain problems

Apparently Apple is having trouble with its supply of dot projection sensors from Sharp and LG that are required for FaceID in the iPhone X. Apple's since said that's bullshitand Face ID's accuracy will be awesome. These supply chain issues (the OLED screen is apparently tricky too) mean there's likely to be stock shortage of the iPhone X until early 2018. When taken into consideration with the fact that iPhone 8 demand is extremely lacklustre as all the iPhone fans are thirsty for the iPhone X, it sets the scene for a classic pre-order frenzy at 6:01pm AEDT tomorrow.

Robert Scoble makes a mess of apologising to his victims

Robert Scoble has done a classic, "sorry, but not sorry" post on his blog about all the women claiming he's a deadset sex pest. His argument boils down to the fact he doesn't think he actually sexually harassed anyone. Amazingly, in his mind, unless someone is in a position of power, they can't be a sexual harasser. "I don’t have employees, I don’t cut checks for investment," he wrote. "None of the women who came forward were ever in a position where I could make or break their careers. Sexual Harassment requires that I have such power." Of course, that's incorrect, with lawyers Arstechnica spoke to saying that there's no power dynamic required, you can 100% be influential in a woman's career and still be a pathetic worm who makes women uncomfortable.

Not News, But Still Cool

Hisense has a 100" 4K short throw laser projector

Hello there big TV fans, I have some news for you! Hisense has announced a 100" short throw laser projector with 4K support. If you've never seen a short throw laser projector before, it's a big around the size of a big surround sound receiver that has an intensely bright laser light that projects an image on a screen just above it. The laser is bright enough that it can be used in the same situations a regular TV would, no need for a pitch black room like a traditional projector. It looks super cool. The only downside is that it costs US$9,999. Which for a 100" TV, isn't that bad, but still way out of my price range. Get back to me when it costs $5,000.

Apollo - an excellent iOS Reddit client, RIP Alien Blue

Apollo seems to be the first Reddit client since Alien Blue not to suck. It's created by a former Apple employee, Christian Selig, so it looks great and works how you expect a modern iOS app should with fast UI response, animations and smooth scrolling. It even supports Split View on the iPad! In app there's TouchID/passcode support so people can't see your Reddit history, filters for certain keywords or users, a dark and light theme, heaps of configurable gestures and even a low data mode for those on a crappy data plan. Get around it if you're into a bit of Reddit shitposting, this is a top notch app, let alone a fantastic Reddit client.

DreamLab does cancer research on your phone while it's charging

Yeah, I know another app, but it's almost 5:30pm and I still haven't finished today's issue, so I'm taking the easy way out. Dream Lab is an app by Vodafone and the Garvan Institute to assist in cancer research. It uses the relatively powerful CPU in your phone to crunch gene mutation data for Garvan, that could lead to a cancer treatment breakthrough. I've been running it the past two nights and my iPhone hasn't died from 100% CPU use for 8 hours - nor do I expect it to. Dream Lab's been on Android for yonks, the iOS version just came out this week. Donate some CPU cycles to the Garvan Institute, stuff any perceived "duhhh it could damage my phone" rubbish - it could save your life one day.

Yep, that's it. See ya tomorrow!

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.
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