Issue 525

Tuesday, 21st November 2017
The Sizzle finally hit 500 concurrent paid subscribers yesterday! Then it dipped down to 499 after someone cancelled... but someone new signed up this morning, so I'm back to 500! Still a while away from the magical 730 subscribers I need to stop working for below minimum wage, but I'm getting there slowly. Huge thanks to all 500 of you paid subscribers for supporting this silly little newsletter.

In This Issue


The FCC is keen to repeal net neutrality laws in the USA

The USA's FCC is looking like it'll wind back net-neutrality laws sooner rather than later. If you're unfamiliar with the rules, winding them back would mean turning the internet into cable TV - in the USA at least. An ISP could say "Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are $5/m, if you want YouTube and Netflix as part of a video package, that's an extra $15/m - if you want the rest of the internet, that's $50/m". Australians should care, maybe a little because our local ISPs will be tempted to do the same thing, but mainly because of the stifling of innovation that'll occur when people don't use new services because they're blocked by ISPs that don't offer it. A better, longer explanation of this issue by Nilay Patel at The Verge is worth a read.

Dodgy tracking scripts are all over the internet

Researchers at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy have found that 482 of the 50,000 most trafficked websites use scripts that "record visitors' keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behaviour in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted" - all without telling users that this is happening. According to the study, these scripts can re-enact individual user's browsing sessions to see exactly what a user did on that website. The most worrying thing I read was that data typed in, but not submitted, was logged and stored. Some kept credit card info or the number of characters typed in a user's password. We're just pawns in a sick game, aren't we?

Uber will buy 24,000 XC90 Volvos and fit em out with self-driving hardware

Volvo has announced it's gonna supply Uber with 24,000 of its excellent XC90 SUVs to be fitted out with robocar hardware. Uber chose Volvo over other car manufacturers as they liked how the vehicle's electronics system can easily be adapted for current and future hardware required to drive itself. Uber's been using the XC90 in its Pittsburgh and Arizona trials, so it's not surprising they've decided to stick with the Swedish/Chinese car company and order more. There's no date or price for the roll-out of these robovolvos.

Volkswagen to drop 72 billion Euros over 5 years to develop EVs

I guess Volkswagen has grown a conscience after poisoning us with their filthy diesel engines for all these years, as it's confirmed plans to spend 34 billion Euros to be the market leader in EVs by 2025. VW's total spending on EVs will be 72 billion Euro all up by 2022. That's an insane amount of cash in a relatively short period of time. There's no public specifics of what cars will be out when, but really, all I want is the awesome Golf hatchbacks they have now, but with a 60kwh battery and to cost no more than 10-20% of a petrol equivalent.

South Australia has some game dev handouts for ya to scoop up

South Australia, cognisant of the fact federal government handouts to build submarines won't keep their state from going bankrupt after the same federal government slaughtered their car manufacturing industry, is trying to get video game devs to work in Adelaide. There's a $2m fund all up, with $450k going to fit out the Game Plus Hub in Pirie Street, $200k for "education and skills development" and the rest for "aiding the production and marketing of games". Combined with Adelaide CBD's 10GB/s internet access and cheap housing, maybe a bunch of east coast devs will move across?

Not News, But Still Cool

Let's Encrypt is the SSL cert boss now

Let's Encrypt has managed to suck up 35% of the SSL certificate market in the year and half its been operating. Impressive, but it's so much better than the alternatives (and free), it's no surprise Let's Encrypt is now the market leader. Seriously, certbot and Let's Encrypt automates the entire process of getting SSL going on your site, making it much, much harder to forget to renew a cert and avoids the embarrassment of having your website visitors be prompted with an invalid cert. That said, Let's Encrypt has made SSL certs so easy that it's made phishing attacks easier too.

CSSconf & JSconf want people outside the tech norm to attend their conference

CSSconf AU and JSconf AU are happening in March 2018 and The Sizzle is proud to support them in their quest to get a wide range of people from various backgrounds to attend. Both conferences have subsidised tickets to get under-represented groups showing up. I reckon it's a great way to get those who may not otherwise think they'd "belong" at a tech conference to visit. If it's free they'll give it a crack, realise it's pretty cool and end up sharing in the same technology induced joy we take for granted. The JSconf & CSSconf websites have more info. As someone who organised on a tech conference for a few years, the JS and CSS conf crew put on a great event.

Cheap SSDs, Nokia 3, Aussie VPS, 400GB microSD cards & Google Home Mini

RamCity has some excellent pricing on Crucial MX300 SSDs - 275GB for $115, 525GB for $188, 1TB for $349 and 2TB for $698. Woolworths will be selling the Nokia 3 smartphone (locked to Voda) for just $107, an excellent price for one of the best cheapo Android phones. I'm gonna pick one up as a burner. On A Cloud has 60% off Aussie hosted VPSes, making their entry level plan only $3.98/m. Amazon Spain is selling 400GB Sandisk MicroSD cards for ~A$265 including shipping - these are over $400 locally! Perfect to stuff in a Nintendo Switch or the SD card slot in your laptop as secondary storage. Spend $300 at Woolies online, use the code GHONL9976 and you get a free Google Home Mini.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!