Issue 520

Tuesday, 14th November 2017

In This Issue


Amazon will launch in AU any day now

An email sent to businesses signed up be sellers on Amazon Australia mentioned that they should "get their products online and ready to sell by mid-November". Chances are they'll launch with some kick arse bargains for a Black Friday style sale. Personally, I'm super excited for sellers like Anker and Amazon's Basics range to be available locally with low pricing and next day shipping. Speaking of Amazon, they've signed a deal to do a multi-season prequel of Lord of The Rings that'll be broadcast via their Prime service.

Wikileaks kept sending DMs to Donald Trump Jr trying to get dirt on both sides

I dunno how tech related this is, as it's probably more aligned with politics, but it involves Wikileaks and Twitter, so I'll give it a crack. During the US election, Wikileak's Twitter account was bombarding Donald Trump Jr via Twitter DMs about pre-emptively leaking negative info about the Trump campaign so that it'd look like Wikileaks was impartial and digging dirt on both sides, not just Clinton. Then it got weird and they asked Donald Trump's son to make Julian Assange Australia's ambassador to the USA (which Austalia picks, not the US). You can read the transcript of the DMs here. I'd like to think it's Julian himself sending those DMs from his London/Ecuadorian cupboard, but I don't think anyone knows who's actually in control of @wikileaks.

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's takeover offer

Qualcomm has rejected Broadcom's bold takeover bid of ~US$105 billion. Qualcomm's board of directors said that they don't think they need anything Broadcom has in order to succeed. Qualcomm has all the good 5G and IoT stuff required to make loads of cash for decades to come, so there's no point giving it away to Broadcom any time soon. Not only did the Qualcomm board think Broadcom have nothing to offer, they also (probably correctly so) think that the takeover would be knocked down by most regulatory bodies for being anti-competitive anyways. Don't know if Broadcom will up their offer yet.

A summary of how women are treated in Silicon Valley

You should set aside 20 minutes to read The New Yorker's latest article summarising the tech industry's issues with women. If you've been subscribed to The Sizzle for a while, the names in the article will be familiar. AJ Vandermeyden, Susan Fowler, Ellen Pao, Dave McClure, Robert Scoble and Travis Kalanick. The issues will be unfortunately familiar too - women inappropriately propositioned in and out of the workplace by their superiors, consistently paid less than their male peers for doing the same job and facing severe retaliation (sidelined or sacked) when they take a stand against it.

Tesla is a "hotbed for racist behaviour" according to 100 black employees

Tesla is being sued by ~100 black workers who claim Tesla is a "hotbed for racist behaviour" - the third such case this year where racial minorities have claimed they've been abused. The person leading the class action, Marcus Vaughn, claims that he was "routinely called the "n-word" by supervisors and coworkers" and that he was fired in October for "not having a positive attitude" (gee I wonder why Marcus wouldn't be positive at work?). Meanwhile, Tesla and SpaceX board member Steve Jurvetson, has resigned from those positions and his VC fund because he is yet another sex pest.

Not News, But Still Cool

Are you a woman who wants to a game dev job? The Vic govt wants to help

Some better news for women in tech, the Victorian state government has $140,000 of grants designed to help women wanting to develop games in this great state. The government has given a bunch of Melbourne games companies some cash to subsidise the wages of a woman to come in to their business and learn the ropes of game development. Sounds like a great opportunity!

Tech shopping in HK isn't that amazing

Gough Lui is back on the blogging wagon (yesss) and has put up a nice story about his experience visiting Hong Kong and doing a bit of tech shopping. He went to the Golden Computer Arcade in Sham Shui Po and found it not that cheap compared to local AU pricing. I went there too a few years ago and thought the same thing. It's basically MSY in a multi-level building with 2m high ceilings. He had a bit more fun at the New Capital Computer Centre around the corner, which is stacked full of 2nd hand and retro stuff. I guess all the good stuff is up in Shenzhen now. I really need to visit Shenzhen.

Google's doing some fun stuff with their Home speakers

Google has a bunch of "voice experiments" designed for their voice assistant speaker thingies. Mystery Animal is a guessing game where you ask the speaker questions and it gives you answers to discern what sort of animal the AI is posing as. Story Speaker takes a Google Doc you write and turns it into a choose your own adventure story. Mixlab uses voice commands to make music and Meme Buddy makes meme images from words you say and sends them where you want em. Way more interesting than telling your speaker to buy you more bog rolls off Amazon or what the weather is.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!