Issue 515

Monday, 6th November 2017

Tomorrow (the 7th of November) is the Melbourne Cup public holiday in Victoria, so there won't be an issue of The Sizzle.

In This Issue


Broadcom makes an offer to buy Qualcomm and create a semiconductor behemoth

Broadcom wants to buy out Qualcomm whilst Qualcomm is relatively weak due to focussing all its efforts on fighting court cases against Apple and its suppliers. If Broadcom does manage to convince the Qualcomm board, its shareholder and the dozens of government regulators, it will be the largest semiconductor deal ever, worth over US$100b. Broadcom (aka Avago, aka Agilent, aka HP), if ya don't know, make a lot of wi-fi and Bluetooth chips, some of the best in the game. Qualcomm, you probably do know, make the best LTE (soon to be 5G) radios and some decent ARM based SoCs. Combine the two skills and boom, rivers of gold as it's hard to imagine demand for these radios slowing down any time soon. It could be a win-win for both parties.

Dodgy Saudis and Russians investing in US tech companies

Saudi Arabia's "tech investor" billionaire prince has been arrested for corruption. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal likes to splash money around via the $18b Kingdom Holding investment company and has a penchant for the tech scene. Alwaleed is the largest Twitter shareholder, has a stake in Lyft and owns 2.5% of the giant Chinese retailer, Unrelated, but on topic, the huge Paradise Papers leak (watch 4 Corners tonight) has revealed that Russian mega-companies "Gazprom and VTB Bank, funded investments in both Facebook and Twitter through Russia-born tech luminary Yuri Milner's investment company DST Global" - making all those Russian influence allegations floating around lately appear even worse.

400 superfast EV chargers rolling out across Europe

BMW, Daimler/Mercedes-Benz, Ford and the Volkswagen Group have teamed up to create Ionity, a European wide fast-charging network for electric cars. 400 of the 350kW (faster than Tesla's Superchargers) "high powered charging" stations will be rolled out by 2020. 20 are already live, in Germany, Austria and Norway. Ionity plan to place the majority of them in highway rest-stops. The chargers use the Combined Charging System (CCS) plug and will not be locked for use on certain cars - anyone can use 'em if your car has a CCS socket. I wish I had an electric car.

Village files injunction to block HDSubs domain names in Australia

Village Roadshow has filed another injunction with the Federal Court to block more pirate media sites. The target this time is HDSubs - an app that runs on those cheap Android set-top boxes and has loads of live TV steams rom around the world and shiteloads of video on demand content. By getting a court imposed ban of the domain names of the servers the HDSubs app talks to, it effectively makes the app useless in Australia as it can't access any streams. Unless of course, you just use a non-ISP DNS server on that set top box. I had no idea about HDSubs until now, so thanks for letting me know Village, it looks cool.

The Xbox One X comes out tomorrow, here's some first impressions

The Xbox One X goes on sale tomorrow, but first-impression reviews are already around. Press-Start, AusGamers, Kotaku and have local takes. It looks great (for a console), isn't very loud, the UI is confusing and if you don't have a super fast internet connection, you're gonna have a bad time. Luckily, the games that have 4K support look fantastic. That's good to hear, as the only reason the Xbox One X exists is for 4K HDR gaming. It's a bit expensive at $650, but hey, if games are your thing and you have the cash, treat yourself. At least it plays all the Xbox One games too. Think of of the Xbox One X this way - it's the Xbox One you've already got, but faster with prettier graphics.

Not News, But Still Cool

Pre-order Bjork's new album, get cryptocurrency

Bjork is getting into cryptocurrency. Together with a UK startup called Blockpool, everyone who pre-orders Bjork's new album will get 100 audiocoins. You can earn more coins by "interacting with Bjork and her music, including by attending live shows". You can trade your audiocoins for other crypto and ultimately cash. I don't know how the audiocoins increase in value or what they'd ultimately be used for besides some convoluted loyalty program, but umm, cool. Go for it you crazy kids!

What the hell is an Atlassian?

Atlassian is the poster child for innovation and startups in Australia and they're making money hand over fist on the NASDAQ. Revenue grew 42% last quarter and they're on track to hit $1b in revenue in the next few years. Despite this success, the AFR reveals that Australians have no idea what Atlassian does. Shit, even some techies I know don't quite know what Atlassian does (hint, tools for programmers and teams). Unfortunately, this means that Australians are missing out on riding the coat-tails of Atlassian's success. Yet again, it's all the savvier American investors getting rich off an Australian product.

iPhone X supports USB-C PD charging to go from 0-50% in 30 min

I've already noticed my iPhone X having crappier battery life than the iPhone 7 Plus it replaced, so it's good to know that Apple claim the iPhone X has a quick-charge capability that gets the device up to 50% in ~30 min. To do this, grab the official Lightning to USB-C cable from Apple (there are cheaper ones around, but who knows if they work or are safe) and plug it in to the beefiest USB-C charger with Power Delivery (PD) support you can find. So there you go, the iPhone X supports USB-C PD like the MacBooks and latest iPad Pros do.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!