Issue 512

Wednesday, 1st November 2017

In This Issue


Facebook, Twitter and Google chat to the US govt about Russian election meddling

The grilling of social media companies and their perceived treason during the 2016 US election has begun over in Washington DC. Facebook, Google and Twitter, along with the government, all agreed that "Russia specifically had undertaken a broad campaign to meddle in the election on social media platforms". Recode has some of the ads, tweets and Facebook posts used as examples by the government of what they think is a line too far. Lots of photoshopped images and memes that simply were not true, spread like wildfire due to being pushed by gullible users and Russian trolls. One constant theme in the hearing was the weird opposing views that heaps of people saw these posts and stuff, yet, it had no influence on the election. Does that mean all the money thrown at ads on these platforms are ultimately useless?

iPhone X reviews/first impressions

iPhone X "reviews" are out. I say "reviews" because Apple only gave reviewers a brief 24hr window with the iPhone X before the embargo lifted. That said, they're still useful to answer some of the burning questions about the phone before they arrive in pleb hands on Friday. What's FaceID like compared to TouchID? Pretty good, but maybe not as fast, you'll get used to it. How's life without the home button? None of the reviewers seem to miss it much. How's Apple's first OLED? Amazing. Heaps of apps don't support the notch yet, which is kinda annoying. Camera seems the same as the iPhone 8. Despite Gruber's bitching and moaning over not getting his review unit earlier, his round-up of all the other reviews is pretty good. Nicole Nguyen's review for Buzzfeed is my favourite.

Apple releases point updates for all its things

Today's also Apple update day. iOS 11.1 restored the ability to open the iPhone app switcher via 3D Touch, introduces 70 new emoji (Shushing Face looks like a pedo) and that's about it feature wise. watchOS 4.1 introduces Apple Music and Radio streaming over LTE - the reason I got this damn watch in the first place. macOS 10.13.1 is the first update to High Sierra, which gets the new emoji and a handful of bug fixes. tvOS 11.1 gained no new features (unless you count changing frame rate and HDR settings a feature), just security updates and bug fixes. All the updates include a fix for that WPA2 KRACK vuln as well.

Nintendo not pleased with Super Mario Run's profitability despite 200m downloads

Nintendo isn't happy with the return on investment for Super Mario Run. The smartphone version of what would be Nintendo's most popular character racked up over 200 million downloads, yet during Nintendo's latest earnings report, they said that it had "not yet reached an acceptable profit point". If a game like Mario, with 200 million downloads can't convince people to shell out $10 to play it on a phone to a level it considers profitable, imagine how hard it'd be for an indie developer. That said, Nintendo were happy to use it as a learning experience and don't seem put off by releasing more smartphone games of their cherished characters in the future.

Sony is back making fat stacks of cash and robotic dogs

Sony has finally made a decent profit after years in the wilderness. Interestingly, it is demand for 4K TVs and camera sensors for smartphones that are leading the growth, as PlayStation and entertainment (TV, movies and music) are flat. They're on track to get close to, or beat the all time record profits it set during the PS1 days of the mid-90s. Amazing work from Kazuo Hirai to bring Sony back from the brink. Sony also re-released Aibo, a 2017 version of the robotic pet they released way back in 1999. Unknown to me, they put out regular updates to Aibo until about 2006, but it's now back and better than ever as a showcase of Sony's consumer robotics prowess. The new one looks a lot less robotic than its earlier versions.

Not News, But Still Cool

Amazon’s AU rollout is coming along nicely

If you're wondering how Amazon's going in its Australian rollout, Business Insider AU has some details. It's snapped pics of signs outside the Dandenong fulfilment centre saying "Welcome Amazonians. It's still day one! Are you ready to make a difference?", so I guess this means there's staff in there now sorting out stuff? Amazon also confirmed that 500 Australian businesses are signed up to sell on Amazon AU. The wheels are in motion and I can't wait. Fingers crossed they'll start shipping goods out before Christmas!

Get yer kids coding or they'll end up employable or something like that

My mate Pete has written a great article for Choice about getting your kids to learn to code. No doubt it's a handy skill for any literate adult to have. Countless times I wish I knew how to do more than simple programming tasks that would speed up my work, but because I spent so long avoiding code (I'm a network admin, I'm a sys admin, I don't need no stinkin' code!), now that code is everywhere in IT, I'm stuffed. Pete explains Swift Playgrounds, Scratch and modding Minecraft (kids love Minecraft) as excellent ways to get get your progeny learning a valuable skill.

The Nissan Leaf isn't coming to AU until late-2018 and will cost too much so I reserved a Tesla

Australian car journalists got to go on a junket to Japan to try out the new Nissan Leaf. Here's reviews from CarsGuide, GoAuto and Car Advice. They all like the car, but unfortunately, they also all hinted that the Leaf won't be out in Australia until late-2018 (boo) and will cost at least $50,000, probably closer to $60,000 on the road (booooooo). For that sorta coin and timeline, you may as well get a Tesla Model 3. Which I just did. Well, put a reservation down for anyways. If you thought the Tesla coverage in The Sizzle was over the top already, strap yourselves in now that I plonked down $1500 for one and have to wait 18 months for it!

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.

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?
unsubscribe from this list
update subscription preferences