Issue 509

Friday, 27th October 2017

In This Issue


Tech company Q3 2017 earnings - everyone's doing well

The big tech companies are raking it in this quarter. Alphabet made a US$6.73b profit, up 33% compared to this time last year. The vast majority of its revenue still comes from ads, sucking in $27.47b. Amazon is still growing like crazy, with shares close to an all time high, despite still making relatively meagre profits ("only" $256m) as it continues its traditional strategy of ploughing profits into growth. Also in Seattle, Microsoft is smashing it thanks to its cloud services (Azure, Office 365 mostly) which generated $20b this quarter and a 12% bump in Surface sales. Chip makers Intel and AMD are pretty steady. Intel still make way more money than AMD ($1.64b vs $4.5b this quarter), but AMD are finally making a profit ($71m), which is good news if you like competition in the CPU space. The exception today is LG who still can't make a profit selling smartphones, despite selling over 13 million of them this quarter.

Twitter might make a profit & kicks off Russian trolls

Twitter also released its latest financial position - still losing money, but it's the least they've lost since their IPO and they're claiming next quarter might be their first profitable one. In other Twitter related news, they've banned Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik from advertising on its platform as they reckon RT and Sputnik "attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government". Twitter also quietly announced they were accidentally overstating how many people actually use Twitter. Their stats were off by 2 million users. Oops.

Google says Pixel OLED is fine, but has a fix for it anyways

Google has noticed the concern around the dodgy OLED screen on its new flagship Pixel 2 XL and has concocted a response. First up, nothing is wrong with the Pixel's screen. It's working as expected. Despite that, Google is extending the base warranty to 2 years (which us in Australia technically already had via the glorious Australian Consumer Law) and will release a software that they claim will "combat image retention by adding a new fade-out for the nav bar buttons and reduce the Pixel 2 XL's maximum brightness slightly", as well as a new colour profile that "will be less accurate but may satisfy users expecting a more vibrant look"

AMD has new laptop CPUs based on Ryzen

AMD is combining the Zen-based architecture from the desktop Ryzen CPUs, with a low power version of the Vega GPU architecture to create a single SoC with some graphics grunt - all in a 15W TDP package for laptops. According to Anandtech, "HP, Lenovo and Acer are releasing laptops based on the Ryzen Mobile hardware today (or soon), and we expect to see more OEMs at CES in January with their offerings". The Ryzen 5 2500U with Vega 8 & Ryzen 7 2700U with Vega 10 are both quad core parts, with apparently the same amount of cache. The only difference is the top clock speed and the amount of compute units on the on the GPU. Can't wait to get a laptop using these to review for PC & Tech Authority.

Tesla and Uber getting sued for being jerks to employees - again

Bastions of workers rights, Tesla and Uber, have been hit with fresh lawsuits. Over at Uber, three women software engineers claim that Uber's "biannual stack ranking system is invalid, arbitrary, and forces different outcomes between employees regardless of whether there are meaningful performance differences between individual employees within a particular peer group" and that "female employees and employees who are African-American, Latino, or American Indian get, on average, lower rankings than male, white, and Asian-American workers, despite equal or better performance".. Tesla have been hit with a lawsuit from the United Auto Workers union, on behalf of the workers recently sacked from there, who the UAW allege were sacked simply because they were agitating for a union.

Not News, But Still Cool

macOS High Sierra now Hackintoshable

A heads up for you Hackintoshers - UniBeast now supports High Sierra. This is pretty great as it brings newer drivers out of the box for most motherboards (less stuffing around post-install) and NVMe support, so you can use those super fast SSDs from Samsung and Intel. It doesn't support APFS yet, so you're stuck with HFS still, but that's not a big deal and will come soon. MultiBeast 10 will come soon too, but the current version apparently works fine for now. I've got a HP box with an i5-4690 in it that I think should run macOS pretty well. Gonna install High Sierra on it soon as I finish writing today's issue I reckon.

Chemist Warehouse tests voice commands to reconcile stock instead of barcodes

Chemist Warehouse have been experimenting with voice controlled stock reconciliation and apparently, it doesn't suck. Staff normally get a delivery of medicine and use a barcode scanner or check off a paper list to check if all the stuff they asked for has been received. Instead of that, someone opens the box and just issues voice commands to an Android based device (Zebra TC70 handsets). Oddly, this is 30% better than the traditional methods used now. I would have assumed it'd suck versus scanning a barcode. It would be cool to see a video of this in action.

Cheap AirPods, Apple TV and iPad from Myer & Amaysim $10/m 1GB plans

Myer has listed some new cheap Apple gear for their eBay sale. Grab a set of AirPods (I got some last week and like em) for $183.20, a 1080p Apple TV for $167.20. They've still got the cheap iPads (64GB 10.5" iPad Pro for $783.20) too. Amaysim (an Optus MVNO) has a new $10/month (if you can call 28 days a month, get lost February) plan that includes 1GB of data. Perfect for that person in your life that has a smartphone but uses stuff all data. Why would you bother with a landline now? Just get a $10/m plan and make all the calls you want for free.

That's it, see ya Monday!

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

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