Issue 511

Tuesday, 31st October 2017

In This Issue


The 3 banks that refuse Apple Pay have made their own knockoff version

Westpac, Commonwealth and NAB have given the middle finger to any iOS users and announced Beem, their own version of a mobile wallet. These are the same 3 banks that went whinging to the ACCC, asking if they can negotiate as a cartel with Apple regarding Apple Pay because "Apple Pay alternatives would be unrealistic" in Australia. Yet, here we are, with yet another Apple Pay alternative, that nobody's gonna use. It doesn't work with the iPhone's NFC chip (you scan QR codes) and you can only send $200 a day. The only advantage is that money sent is instant. Beem won't be out for a while, as it relies on the RBA's new payments platform that's gonna launch in "early 2018" as a beta.

Twitter, Facebook & Google cough up more info about Russian puppets

As Twitter, Facebook and Google's day of grilling by congressional investigators gets closer, their written testimonies have revealed updated facts about the use of their services by Russian government tied accounts during the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook are now saying ~126m Americans saw ads paid for by the Kremlin or trolls. Previously only 10m were supposedly brainwashed. Twitter was saying it had 200 known accounts linked to propaganda efforts, but it's actually 2,700. Google have the least naughty stuff going on, with just $4,700 worth of ads, 18 YouTube channels and some Gmail addresses tied to the Ruskies. The in-person questioning begins tomorrow and continues until Thursday - the hot takes will flow until 2020.

PUBG is gonna get banned in China

One of the most popular games right now is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). It's got the record for the most concurrent players on Steam - 2 million. If you've never played it, you basically run around an open world map, shooting stuff in silly costumes. At least that's what it looks like when I've seen videos of it on YouTube! I bring it up because China is gonna ban this very popular game. According to the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, PUBG "severely deviates from the socialist core value and the Chinese traditional culture and moral rule" and its "ethos also goes against the psychological and physical health of juvenile consumers". Bad news for the Korean developer who you assume would have loved to cash in from all the Chinese gamers keen to play.

Sony dumps loads of new game trailers at Paris Games Week

More gaming news today from Paris Games Week, where Sony has dropped new trailers and game announcements. There's new trailers for The Last of Us Part II and Detroit: Become Human (both games I'm very much looking forward to), as well as the first expansion for Destiny 2 - Curse of Osiris and a new PSVR game (there aren't many), Blood and Truth. The highlight of the show is Ghost of Tsushima, a Samurai based open world game that looks pretty wild, but is a long way from release. Full details of the announcement and the entire game "showcase" can be seen on Sony's blog.

Small bits of news that are nice to know about but not that important

Not News, But Still Cool

An ode to Whirlpool

I know heart-warming and Whirlpool typically don't appear in the same sentence, but Sam reflects on Whirlpool in a way that made me miss ye olde internet. From its humble beginnings as a place to chat about BigPond (Telstra's broadband service back in the mid-90s), it somehow transformed into the meeting place of absolute weirdos we know now. Sam theorises that if you give "a bunch of incredibly opinionated idiots a suitably polarising topic, in a discussion format where they can’t help but get enraged by each other’s opinions", the result is an endless stream of engrossing content that I just can't look away from, despite knowing it's no good for me.

Sydney Apple Store iPhone X queue shenanigans

A weird unit called David Lee (who has a plethora of racist YouTube videos) is first in line at the George Street Apple Store and has taken it upon himself to be the queue sheriff. There's a system where if you join his Facebook page, he'll reserve you a space behind him in order to create the world's longest line and "Make iPhone Great Again". His plan has hit the skids though, as the Sydney City Council is gonna throw out all the chairs he placed out there with people's names on them, as they reckon its litter and clogging up the very narrow footpath.

15% off some stuff on eBay, 20% off others

eBay has 15% off selected "Christmas Presents" right now, using the code PRESSIE. It's basically 15% off everything on this page. Some tech highlights are: 64GB Silver iPhone 8: $905.25. Nintendo Switch console: $407.99. iPad 9.7" WiFi 32GB Gold: $377.42. PS4 Pro 1TB: $475.15. Bose QC35 II headphones: $369.98. Apple AirPods: $199.75. Google Home Mini: $72.10. There's another eBay sale on now too (20% off 5 tech stores, use code PIXELS), but I'll dig through that tomorrow.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

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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